1. UCLA (13-0) Last week #1
The Bruins finished off the non-conference slate undefeated. The last two games got a little closer than most did though as they beat Ohio State by 13 and Western Michigan by14. The team is currently second in the nation with their 95.8 points per game and lead the nation with 23.6 assists per game.
2. Oregon (11-2) Last week #2
What a time for the Ducks to prove themselves starting the Pac-12 season. In reality I don’t have many problems with the non-conference record. Sure, the 14-point win over Montana or the 12-point victory over Fresno State last week wasn’t overly impressive but I think the team is starting to piece it together. While the Bruins bring the offense, the Ducks bring the 31st ranked scoring defense in the country, obviously they will receive a boost if Chris Boucher is back in the lineup.
3. Arizona (11-2) Last week #3
The Wildcats had a few close games to close out the non conference schedule as they defeated Grand Canyon by 10 and Texas A&M by four. Freshman Lauri Markkanen continues to put his name in the freshman of the year discussion.
4. USC (13-0) Last week #4
Yes, they’re undefeated through non-conference but I’m still not sold. They wrapped up their weak schedule with single digit victories over Troy, Cornell and Missouri State. Still pretty impressive for a team to have six players scoring over 9 points per game.
5. California (9-3) Last week #5
California barely missed the chance at a marquee victory to close out non-conference. They couldn’t pull it off however, as the #12 Virginia Cavaliers pulled out a 4-point victory. The Golden Bears have one of the best defenses in the country as they give up 59.3 points per game.
6. Utah (9-3) Last week #6
The Utes ended off their non-conference stretch on a winning streak. However, they really never pulled out a marquee win in any of their chances. I think this team will still be dangerous and step up to knock off a few at the top this conference season.
7. Colorado (10-3) Last week #7
Pretty unimpressive end to the non-conference for the Buffaloes as they were pressed by Fort Hays State, Air Force and Eastern Washington to narrow victories. Derrick White and Xavier Johnson have combined to be one of the better scoring/rebounding combinations in the conference.
8. Washington (7-5) Last week #10
None of the wins were that impressive by any means by the Huskies have pieced together a little streak to enter conference play. The talk is of course about Markelle Fultz, but watch out for Noah Dickerson, the big man is averaging 12.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
9. Arizona State (7-6) Last week #9
I like this Arizona State team, they almost capped off non-conference with a bang but fell to #9 Creighton by 11. They’re at least going to be fun to watch with their top 50 ranked offense but their 328th ranked defense.
10. Stanford (8-4) Last week #8
The Cardinal had one of the biggest losses of the week as they lost by over 20 to SMU and followed that up with a narrow win over Idaho. They don’t necessarily do anything particularly well and only have two players scoring over ten points per game.
11. Washington State (7-5) Last week #11
They might be close (one point win over Santa Clara and an eight point win over Sacramento State) but the Cougars closed out the non-conference with a winning streak! They actually have a few guys who can score, but of course the skepticism is there heading into Pac-12 play after the last few seasons.
12. Oregon State (4-9) Last week #12
Sure, injuries have added up but the Beavers have had an awful non-conference slate. In a tournament they hosted in Portland they dropped both contests losing to Long Beach and University of Portland. Getting Tres Tinkle back will be the only chance this team has of climbing from the bottom.