With another week of up and down Pac-12 basketball it's the Arizona Wildcats who retain their top position in the power rankings. With the Ducks retaining the second slot there is lots of movement below as the conference is one of the hardest in the country to gauge in the early going.
Nothing spectacular from Arizona this week as their only win came over Fresno State by 13 but it’s enough to stay at the top spot. Transfer Ryan Anderson has been a stud for the Wildcats so far averaging near a double-double.
It might seem hard to keep the Ducks at the number two spot following a week in which they had a loss but that’s exactly what happened. Oregon lost a tough game on the road to Boise State but bounced back nicely to UC Irvine. The UC Irvine game gave us a glimpse of how good the Ducks can be at full strength as the only absentee was Dylan Ennis. Nobody in the conference did enough to warrant the Ducks dropping their position this week.
I was tempted to put Colorado at the #2 slot simply because of their one loss on the season, but looking at the wins they’ve racked up the Buffaloes just haven’t done enough. Colorado's best victory on the year only came this past week as they beat BYU. The test will come right away in conference play as the Buffaloes open at California.
The conundrum of the early season, the 2015-16 UCLA Bruins. The Bruins racked up another nice upset this week as they traveled to Spokane and knocked off Gonzaga. Which team is going to show up in conference play; The one that started 3-3, or the one that upset Kentucky and Gonzaga?
Another team where I just don’t know what to think about are the California Golden Bears.Two more wins this week, although they over Incarnate World and a squeaker over Saint Mary’s. Playing their first ranked opponent of the year this upcoming week might finally give us a better idea.
How tough the conference is when a loss can jolt you from the three position back down to number six. The Utes had a tough one against Wichita State and looked out of it from the beginning. A huge matchup this week vs Duke gives a chance for redemption.
7. Oregon State
The Beavers took on their first ranked opponent of the year in Kansas and couldn’t quite hang as they lost by 15. With an easy schedule on the horizon to finish off non-conference, Oregon State will look to be coming into the Civil War riding a win streak.
The idle Trojans stay put this week in the eight position. A cupcake schedule the rest of the non-conference slate will boost their record before they start the campaign on the road at the Washington schools.
In the Huskies only game of the week they blew the doors off of Montana by 30. At first that might not sound like a lot, but the Griz did push Gonzaga in Spokane to a three point game. Andrew Andrews has been lights out so far, leading the conference with his 21 points per game.
10. Arizona State
The Sun Devils gave it a shot to be the second Pac-12 team to upset the Kentucky Wildcats this year but couldn’t pull it off, losing by 14. A road game tonight against UNLV can go a long way in proving how successful Arizona State can be this season.
After a bye week, Johnny Dawkins squad begins the climb from the bottom. A 2-0 week against Dartmouth and DePaul helps with that but there is still a long way to go.
12. Washington State
Pullman might want to start getting used to this rating as it’s the Cougars who find themselves at the bottom. Even though Washington State got a win this week over UTEP it’s the bad loss on the road to Idaho that drops them to the bottom.
The theme of the early season seems to be that we really have no idea yet who the class of the conference is. Many teams keep looking like they’ve made the jump only to get chopped back down the next week. It still seems that once the Ducks get to full strength they will have a very good shot at claiming the throne. Who is your class of the conference so far?
Now, for a look at the big games in the week ahead:
Sat. Dec. 19th: Utah vs #7 Duke, #22 UCLA vs #11 North Carolina, UNLV at #13 Arizona , Texas at Stanford
Mon. Dec. 21st: Oregon at Alabama (AKA the Dakota Prukop invitational)
Tue. Dec. 22nd: California at #8 Virginia