Maybe it’s time for this weekly post to be renamed the "weekly Pac-12 roundup" instead of the weekly power rankings. This conference is just becoming more and more ridiculous in ranking, especially after the top two teams in last week’s edition both lost two straight games. Here goes nothing….
1. Arizona (13-3) (1-2)
Yes, Arizona lost two straight games but they were a combined 5 points. Also worth mentioning is that both of the games were on the road to the Southern California schools. No, Arizona has not been overly impressive, but no school did enough to jump up and steal the top spot in a two loss week for the Wildcats. But with guard Allonzo Trier out 4-6 weeks, the Wildcats might want to enjoy their last gasp at the top.
2. Oregon (13-3) (2-1)
After a two win week over the Bay Area schools I jump the Ducks back up to the number two position. Neither win was overly impressive, but what stood out to me was the ability for the Ducks to grind out two tough games and find a way to get a win with outstanding effort. This upcoming week gives a lot to prove for Oregon with two games on the road at Utah and Colorado.
3. Washington (11-4) (3-0)
It’s hard but there’s no denying the fact that the Huskies are the only 3-0 team in the conference. Dejounte Murray has been an absolute stud in the early going of conference play and combined with Andrew Andrews the back court play has been lights out.
4. Oregon State (11-3) (2-1)
The Beavers found a way to pull a split this week as they lost to Stanford by six and beat California by the same margin. No doubt the loss to the Cardinal is not a good one but I’ll give the Beavers credit for recovering nicely with the win over California. Oregon State finally leaves home for the first time in the Pac-12 schedule this week.
5. California (12-5) (2-2)
The Golden Bears likely aren’t the fifth worst team in the conference, but that’s what a two loss week does to you in the power rankings. California only lost by a combined nine points on the road to the Oregon schools and should take the growing pains in stride with the goal of the NCAA tournament.
6. Utah (12-4) (1-2)
The Utes pulled out a 56-54 slugfest on the road over Colorado this week. My biggest positive for the Utes in this one is that Jakop Poeltl only accounted for six points, far below his season average finally showing that they have a chance to win even if he's not hitting. The Utes are yet another team where we keep waiting to see the full potential.
7. UCLA (11-6) (2-2)
It looks like the Bruins have began their climb out of the basement by winning two games at home over Arizona and Arizona State. However, with the rate this season is going I fully expect UCLA to lose against USC tonight to continue the up and down trend.
8. USC (14-3) (3-1)
I’m still not as sold on USC as the AP Top-25 seems to be. Yes, they won two games this week but they were a ten point win at home over Arizona State and a two point win in double overtime over Arizona at home. The Trojans will be just fine this year, but I’m still not sure they’re even in the top half of the Pac-12.
9. Colorado (12-4) (1-2)
Just a few weeks ago I had the Buffaloes near the top of the conference and now they find themselves down to the number nine position. They lost a tough one against Utah, but after the first few games of the conference season I'm starting to think they might just not be that good.
10. Stanford (9-6) (2-2)
Seems to me that Stanford is a team who will beat others simply on effort. They got a nice win early in the week over Oregon State but simply couldn’t muster up enough effort to knock on the Ducks. Stanford will be a .500 level team this season but just don’t have enough firepower to move up the conference ladder.
11. Washington State (9-6) (1-2)
Sure, the Cougars lost their only game of the week but they actually move up a spot in the rankings. Washington State only lost 99-95 to the Huskies so it's hard to consider that a horrible loss. They might not be as bad as people think but at the end of the day they haven’t done anything to move to the ten position or above.
12. Arizona State (10-6) (0-3)
1. The only 0-3 team in Pac-12 play finds their way to the bottom of the conference. The Sun Devils games have been pretty close but they still haven’t found a way to pull them out and deserve a knock for that.
Now, for a look at the big games in the week ahead:
Wed. Jan. 13th: USC at UCLA
Thur. Jan. 14th: Washington at Arizona, Oregon at Utah