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Week Four Pac 12 Basketball Power Rankings

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Pac 12 Basketball Power Rankings

Casey Saplo- USA TODAY Sports

The Pac 12 conference is a hard one to figure out in 2012.

There are talented teams from top to bottom but there just isn’t an elite team that could immediately compete for a national championship. Yes Arizona is in the top ten in the country at No. 8 but they haven’t really played anyone and have been tested by some of the weaker teams they’ve already played.

Some of the other teams in the Pac 12 are good but they just aren’t able to win some of their more important out of conference games. They have come close to notching more quality wins, like Oregon State’s close loss to Kansas and Washington State’s two-point loss to No. 10 Gonzaga, but they aren’t quite talented enough to get over the hump.

Regardless the conference went just 10-6 last week with the only notable wins coming from a Colorado victory over an undefeated Colorado State team and an Arizona thumping of Texas Tech, handing them their first loss on the year. Those six losses came against quality opponents with three of the six coming against ranked foes.

It seems like the Pac 12 is good but just not great, at least right now. I can see two or three Pac 12 teams crack the top 25 shortly if they continue to play quality basketball. There are opportunities this week for some of the teams in the conference to make a statement but we’ll see how it plays out.

Here’s how the Pac 12 stacks up in week four.

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12. Washington Huskies

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Record: 4-3

Last Week: W: 74-72 vs. Cal State Fullerton

The Huskies find themselves in the basement of this week’s power rankings, not because they lost last week, but because they just aren’t really that good. They don’t have any impressive wins and although they lost to two quality teams in Ohio State and Colorado State they also laid an egg at home against Albany. This past week they struggled to beat Cal State Fullerton but the one bright spot for the Huskies is the play of C.J. Wilcox.

This week: Dec. 8 vs. Nevada, Dec. 13 vs. Seattle

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11. USC Trojans

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Record 3-5

Last week: L 63-51 at Nebraska, L 75-67 at No. 18 New Mexico

The Trojans continue to drop in the power rankings after two losses last week. Their two losses did come against two quality teams that will likely be playing in the tournament come March so they aren’t losing to nobody’s. In fact their five losses have come against teams with a combined record of 35-4. That’s definitely not something to be ashamed of but eventually they will have to win one to prove something.

This week: Dec. 8 vs. No. 14 Minnesota

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10. Utah Utes

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Record: 6-2

Last week: W 74-69 at Texas State, W 76-55 vs. Boise State

The Utes had a nice week going 2-0 and finished it off with a blowout over the Broncos. Not moving up a spot in the rankings from last week isn’t due to their poor play, rather the rest of the team’s above them playing well. They have almost matched their win total from a season ago and they should accomplish that before conference play begins Jan. 2. First things first though, they have a big rivalry game Saturday against the boys from Provo.

This week: Dec. 8 at BYU

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9. Washington State Cougars

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Record: 5-4

Last Week: W 72-60 vs. Portland, L 71-69 vs. Gonzaga

The Cougars went just 1-1 last week but they did almost upset Gonzaga at home. They’ve already come a long way from their losses earlier in the season and they just got guard DaVonte Lacy back after a four-game absence. He had 22 points in his return to go along with Brock Motum’s 23 in the two-point loss to the Bulldogs.

This week: Dec. 9 vs. Fresno State, Dec. 13 vs. Jacksonville State

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8. Stanford Cardinal

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Record: 6-3

Last week: W 71-58 vs. Denver

The Cardinal won their lone game last week but now have an entire week off to fix some of their flaws. They don’t really have any good wins as their only notable one came against Northern Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis and that’s not much to brag about. Even Chasson Randle is struggling these days as he’s just 10 for his last 34 field goal attempts.

This week: No games

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7. UCLA Bruins

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Record: 5-3

Last week: L 78-69 vs. No. 23 San Diego State

The Bruins had a chance to regain some respect after falling completely out of the top 25 if they were able to upset San Diego State but they weren’t able to pull it off. Maybe it’s time to just accept that the Bruins aren’t as good as everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the year. But if things continue to go they way they are Ben Howland’s seat will get hotter and hotter.

This week: Dec. 8 vs. Texas

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6. Arizona State Sun Devils

Jennifer Stewart- USA TODAY Sports

Record: 7-1

Last week: W 90-70 vs. Sacramento State, W 71-63 vs. Hartford

Their only loss of the season came to ranked Creighton so the Sun Devils have gotten off to a very nice start so far in 2012. Jahii Carson is their best player and he’s playing like it in the early going. They’re utilizing his talents and have opened up their offense from a season ago. Like I said two week’s ago in the power rankings article I wouldn’t find it very shocking to see the Sun Devils with just one loss heading into conference play.

This week: Dec. 8 vs. Cal State Northridge, Dec. 12 vs. Depaul

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5. Oregon State Beavers

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Record: 4-2

Last week: L 84-78 at No. 10 Kansas

The Beavers couldn’t quite pull of the upset in Kansas City but they did give the Jayhawks a run for their money. In their two losses this season- Kansas and Alabama- they’ve only lost by a combined nine points. They continue to be strong on the boards as they are ranked 19th in the country averaging 42.2 rebounds per game. Ahmad Starks has picked up his play, scoring 25 against Kansas, while Eric Moreland racked up 16 rebounds against a good rebounding team.

This week: Dec. 8 vs. Grambling, Dec. 12 vs. Portland State

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4. Cal Bears

Ed Szczepanski- USA TODAY Sports

Record: 6-1

Last week: L 81-56 at Wisconsin

Cal went on the road for their first true road test of the season and got smacked by Wisconsin, losing their first game of the season. Just when the hype around the Bears’ undefeated start was starting to grow they fall flat on their face. It’s not a very good time to start playing bad either as their next two contests come against tough, ranked opponents.

This week: Dec. 9 vs. No. 21 UNLV

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3. Oregon Ducks

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Record: 6-1

Last week: W 80-59 vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff

The Ducks are currently sitting in fourth place in the Pac 12 and that’s close to where they want to be at the end of the season. They have gotten off to a very nice start and continue to be the surprise team of the conference so far in 2012. Their offense has been their main strength as they are averaging over 78 points per contest. They have one more game before a week off to prepare for an improved Nebraska squad.

This week: Dec. 8 vs. Idaho State

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2. Colorado Buffaloes

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Record: 7-1

Last week: L 76-69 at Wyoming, W 70-61 vs. Colorado State

Colorado dropped their first game of the season against a tough Wyoming squad that is a potential NCAA Tournament team. The Buffs got into too much foul trouble, committed too many turnovers and got a poor shooting performance from some of their star player’s in the loss. They followed it up with an emphatic win over rival Colorado State who came into the game undefeated. Colorado was up 20 at the half, held off a furious rally and eventually won by nine. Another opportunity for Colorado to make a statement this week as they travel to face old Big 12 rival Kansas.

This week: Dec. 8 at No. 9 Kansas, Dec. 12 at Fresno State

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1. Arizona Wildcats

Casey Saplo- USA TODAY Sports

Record: 6-0

Last week: W 85-57 at Texas Tech, W 63-55 vs. Southern Miss

The Wildcats remain the only unbeaten Pac 12 team but they’ve done it against a very weak schedule. Arizona has struggled a bit against some of the weaker opponents, especially in their last game when they had trouble putting away Southern Miss at home. They’re winning when they have to and that’s all that matters but their competition gets a little tougher this week as they have their second true road game at Clemson, which is not an easy place to win.

This week: Dec. 8 at Clemson