Week Five Pac 12 Basketball Power Rankings
Pac 12 Power Rankings
Overall the Pac 12 conference is better from top to bottom than it was a season ago.
Almost every team in the conference has improved and they have been very competitive in their non-conference games up to this point. There are a few games where Pac 12 teams have looked completely overmatched, ahem Colorado against Kansas, but for the most part the Pac 12 has fared well against opposing conferences.
The team that continues to be the biggest surprise is the Oregon Ducks and they are playing well above where they were predicted at the beginning of the season. There were not many folks that believed the Ducks would be able to sustain the success that they had a season ago when they finished fourth in the conference but that seems reasonable now.
Arizona is still the lone undefeated team in the conference but they will truly show what they are made of this weekend when they host the very talented No. 5 Florida Gators. Luckily for the Wildcats it is a home game so they have an opportunity to use that to their advantage.
Another team that has a chance to prove itself is the Cal Bears as they host No. 16 Creighton. The Bluejays may not be as good as predicted but there is no doubt that they will still pose a quality threat to pull off a road victory due to some guy named McDermott.
Here’s how the Pac 12 stacks up in week four.
12. USC Trojans
Last week: L 71-57 vs. No. 14 Minnesota
Do I think that USC is really the worst team in the Pac 12? No, not really but with the results they are showing and losses that are piling up it’s hard not to put them in last place. They do have talent but talent can only get you so far and for the Trojans it’s only provided 3 W’s. USC still has work to do but I don’t think they will end up in last as the season progresses.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. UC-Riverside, Dec. 20 vs. UC-Irvine
11. Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week: W 87-76 vs. Cal State Northridge, L 78-61 vs. Depaul
Just when you thought the Sun Devils were turning a corner and starting to turn some heads they go out and lose to Depaul, one of the worst teams in the Big East. What’s worse about the loss is that it was not close and it came at home. It may have just been a fluke loss but it wasn’t a very good one. We’ll see what happens for the Sun Devils as they finish out the rest of their non-conference schedule.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. Dartmouth
10. Utah Utes
Last week: L 61-58 at BYU
The Utes have been playing much better than they did last season and they’ve already matched their entire win total from last year. Their biggest win was over a Boise State team that beat Creighton just a game earlier and they have been playing consistently since. They did lose to rival BYU in Provo but they have a rematch with SMU, who they beat earlier this year, on Saturday.
This week: Dec. 18 vs. SMU
9. Washington Huskies
Last Week: L 76-73 vs. Nevada, W 87-74 at Seattle
CJ Wilcox continues to be the one standout player on a team that isn’t that good. They haven’t really played all that well this season and they have had some bad losses, especially at home where they are usually pretty good. Still, I think that they can have a decent season and possibly even finish in the top half of the league.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. Jacksonville State, Dec. 20 vs. Cal Poly
8. Washington State Cougars
Last Week: W 59-50 vs. Fresno State, W 52-41 vs. Jacksonville State
The Cougars followed up their narrow loss to ranked Gonzaga by having a nice week going 2-0 and boosting their win total to 7. They are playing good basketball and the rest of their non-conference schedule is a cakewalk. Look for Washington State to enter conference play riding a four game winning streak and filled with confidence.
This week: No games
7. Stanford Cardinal
Last week: No games
The Cardinal had a week off after beating Denver but now their schedule toughens up considerably. Next week they have three games, one against UC-Davis and two challenging road games. Stanford travels to No. 25 NC State and then to a pesky Northwestern team that is dealing with injuries but is talented nonetheless. We’ll learn a lot about how good this team is in the coming week.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. UC-Davis, Dec. 18 at No. 25 N.C State
6. UCLA Bruins
Last week: W 65-63 vs. Texas
UCLA barely scraped by a weak Texas team in Houston but they still won, which is all that really matters. They played tough down the stretch and closed out the Longhorns but their offense struggled at times, which is a cause for concern. Rumor has it that Shabazz Muhammad is losing weight to get in better playing shape and that should help the Bruins moving forward.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. Prarie View, Dec. 18 vs. Long Beach State
5. Oregon State Beavers
Last week: W 85-54 vs. Grambling, W 79-74 vs. Portland State
Oregon State has been one of the other pleasant surprises this season and they continued their strong play by sweeping their contests from last week. This team plays solid defense, they rebound extremely well and their offense is No. 38 in the country. Craig Robinson has the Beavers playing with a load of confidence and they have the potential to run the table the rest of the way through their non-conference schedule.
This week: Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State, Dec. 19 vs. Howard
4. Cal Bears
Last week: L 76-75 vs. No. 21 UNLV
After starting out the season 6-0 the Bears have dropped their last two games and they might drop another one this week as they take on Creighton. What was working for them before is not working now as the Allen Crabbe/Justin Cobbs combo has been struggling. Defenses are keying on those two and it has thrown off the flow of the entire offense. They have to get it together and quickly or their mini losing streak can turn into a long one.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. No. 16 Creighton, Dec. 18 vs. UC-Santa Barbara
3. Colorado Buffaloes
Last week: L 90-54 at No. 9 Kansas, W 50-43 at Fresno State
Colorado is talented but they showed that they might not be ready to play with the big dogs just yet. They got trounced by Kansas and it was never really a contest as the Buffs just couldn’t handle the Jayhawks pressure defense. Colorado followed it up with their first true road win of the season as they grinded out a victory at Fresno State. They’ll take this week off for finals before they play their next game on the 21st.
This week: No games until Dec. 21
2. Oregon Ducks
Last week: W 87-35 vs. Idaho State
As mentioned in the intro slide the Ducks have been the biggest surprise so far this season sitting at 8-1 with their only loss coming to ranked Cincinnati. Oregon will likely enter the top 25 next week as long as they don’t slip up against a tough Nebraska team. One thing they don’t have to worry about is scoring the basketball as they’ve been getting balanced scoring from their entire squad. The Ducks have great depth, something that you would not have said at the beginning of the season.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. Nebraska, Dec. 19 at UTEP
1. Arizona Wildcats
Last week: W 66-54 at Clemson
The Wildcats passed their first test of the season by winning at Clemson, which is not very easy to do. Their defense has been what’s winning them ball games and they continued their strong play by holding the Tigers to just 54 points at home. Next up is arguably their most important game of the season as they host No. 5 Florida. A loss wouldn’t hurt all that much but a win against the Gators would thrust the Wildcats into the forefront of national title contenders.
This week: Dec. 15 vs. No. 5 Florida, Dec. 18 vs. Oral Roberts