1. UCLA (9-0) Last week #1
I think we’ve gone from the hype to reality stage in the young season of the Bruins. After shocking the number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats on their home floor the Bruins have moved up to be the number two-ranked team in the country. They currently have six players scoring over 11 points per game. They still play Michigan and Ohio State in non-conference but the December 28th game in Eugene has to be circled.
2. Oregon (7-2) Last week #3
Sure, the Boise State game wasn’t pretty but all things considered after the Georgetown loss this is a team that is playing so much better. It’s hard to read much into the Savannah State win but that was without a doubt the best the team and specifically Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey have looked. I like the fact that Altman has toyed with the lineups some, I think we’ll see the depth be strength of this team where last year that was in question.
3. Arizona (6-2) Last week #2
The bad news: over the two week stretch the Wildcats lost two games. The good news: both of these losses were to highly ranked teams and combined for a margin of 11 points. What’s more concerning for Arizona is that the injury problems and concerns continue to pile up.
4. California (6-1) Last week #4
The offense doesn’t seem nearly as explosive as I expected it to be. They had a close call last week, as they needed overtime to beat Louisiana Tech at home. They should continue non conference play undefeated until they meet Virginia on the 21st. Ivan Rabb is leading the way averaging right around 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
5. USC (8-0) Last week #6
Similar to last year, the Trojans have started out very hot. They got a nice win at home last week as they beat BYU, but it’s still a relatively weak non-conference schedule.
6. Utah (5-1) Last week #7
Yet another Pac-12 team to fall victim to the Butler Bulldogs over the Holiday stretch. They rebounded with a squeaker over Montana State, but they’ll have a chance to prove themselves next with a trip to Xavier. Kyle Kuzma has asserted himself as the man on this team with his 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists per game.
7. Colorado (6-2) Last week #5
After the nice win over Texas, the Buffaloes came home only to drop a big one to in state rival Colorado State. They’re another Pac-12 team that plays Xavier next and will use that game as a major measuring stick.
8. Stanford (6-3) Last week #8
Stanford finally got tested and failed. Last week they lost to both #12 Saint Mary’s and #4 Kansas. They weren’t total blowouts but they lost the two games by a combined 29 points. There’s just not enough scoring on this team, their 67.6 points per game places them 300th in the country.
9. Washington (4-3) Last week #9
Fortunately for the Huskies, the teams below them were worse this week so they stay put. Washington had two shots at TCU, one in a tournament in Las Vegas and another in Fort Worth and dropped both by a combined 28 points. They play at Gonzaga tomorrow night where the country will get a chance to see Markelle Fultz.
10. Arizona State (5-3) Last week #11
This team can sure light it up, but man is their defense bad. They gave up a whopping 115 points to Kentucky, not to mention the 110 points the gave up to the Citadel. They’ll be a fun team to watch but I think their defense is so bad they won’t have much a chance in many.
11. Washington State (4-4) Last week #12
The Cougs are out of last place! Not that they’ve done much to earn it, but the slide the Beavers are on is worse. Josh Hawkinson is playing well for Ernie Kent though, averaging 16.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
12. Oregon State (3-6) Last week #10
With full disclosure, the Beavers have been playing without Tres Tinkle, which is a huge loss. Regardless, Oregon State has dropped six out of their last seven games. They’ll be hoping that Tinkle is healed up before conference play, where they should make some headway in the standings.
Key games this week:
Tuesday 12/6. #18 Purdue at Arizona State
Wednesday 12/7. #13 Xavier at Colorado, Washington at #8 Gonzaga
Saturday 12/10. Utah at #13 Xavier, Arizona State at San Diego State, Michigan at #2 UCLA
Sunday 12/11. Alabama at #24 Oregon