Week Seven Pac 12 Basketball Power Rankings
Pac 12 goes 12-2 in week six
After having an up down performance in week five, the Pac 12 had a bounce back showing in week six.
Overall the conference went 12-2 with the only losses coming by Utah and USC, the bottom two teams in the conference. For the most part the conference has played well during the non-conference part of the schedule but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Easily the biggest surprise of the early season is Oregon as they currently sit in third place in the standings at 10-2 with just one game to play before they begin their conference slate. They have balanced scoring on the offensive end as five players currently average double-digits in points. On the defensive side of the ball they are playing just as well and they are rebounding at an impressive rate (41.3 rpg). They will be a team to keep an eye on as conference play begins next week.
Other teams in the Pac 12 that have had a nice start to their season are obviously Arizona and Colorado but Arizona State has performed well throughout their early season schedule. Like Oregon, they are currently 10-2 and can finish their non-conference slate with just two losses.
It’s been an interesting start to the 2012-2013 season for the Pac 12 but the fun is just beginning. As conference play starts up this week it will be interesting to see which teams are able to keep up their solid starts and which teams will fade. From top to bottom the Pac 12 will be extremely competitive and whoever comes out on top at the end of the year will have earned it.
Here’s how the Pac 12 stacks up in week seven.
12. USC Trojans
Last week: L 64-56 at Georgia
For a team with USC’s talent to be just 4-8 at this point in the season is a major disappointment. They were the trendy sleeper pick to finish near the top of the conference during Pac 12 media day but it hasn’t turned out that way for the Trojans. A tough schedule, coupled with a young and inexperienced team, has squashed any type of confidence that they might have had going into the start of conference play.
This week: Dec. 30 vs. Dayton, Jan. 3 vs. Stanford
11. Utah Utes
Last week: L 76-71 vs. Cal State Northridge
The Utes have already surpassed their win total from last season and they are much improved but I still don’t see them playing that well once conference play starts up. They have one more game before then and it’s extremely winnable but I said that about their last game against Cal State Northridge, which they lost. Regardless, the Utes have a tough start to their Pac 12 schedule with road games against the Arizona schools.
This week: Dec. 28 vs. College of Idaho, Jan. 2 at Arizona State
10. Washington State Cougars
Last Week: W 65-54 vs. Buffalo
The Cougars have played solid during their non-conference schedule and have just one more game before the begin Pac 12 games by hosting in-state rival Washington. I’m still concerned about the lack of offensive production besides Brock Motum. After Motum the only other play averaging in double figures is DaVonte Lacy. Other than those two, offense is tough to find. Like Utah, I don’t see the Cougars having too much success as the real schedule begins.
This week: Dec. 29 vs. Idaho State
9. Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week: W 77-62 at Texas Tech
The Sun Devils overcame their first true road game of the season by easily handling the Red Raiders. Jahii Carson is emerging as one of the best guards in the conference and not only is one of the favorite to win freshman of the year but he has the ability to compete for conference player of the year as well. Carson, along with fellow guard Carrick Felix, form one of the more formidable one-two scoring punches in the conference.
This week: Dec. 29 vs. Coppin State, Jan. 2 vs. Utah
8. Washington Huskies
Last week: W 67-57 vs. Northern Illinois
Slowly but surely the Huskies are starting to get their act together after a very rough start to their season. They have won six of their last seven games but they have their toughest test of the season coming on Saturday as they travel to Connecticut. If they can pull out the tough road win it’ll show that they’ve righted the ship and could be the team everyone thought they would be at the start of the year.
This week: Dec. 29 at Connecticut
7. Stanford Cardinal
Last week: W 70-68 at Northwestern
After losing to every quality team they played this season (Missouri, Minnesota, Belmont and North Carolina State) it was beginning to look like the Cardinal were just a middle of the pack team. However, they were able to go on the road and beat a solid Northwestern team and it’s something to build on. As conference play gets underway this week it will be worth watching to see if Stanford will be able to finish in the top half of the conference or if they will be just another average Pac 12 team.
This week: Dec. 29 vs. Lafayette, Jan. 3 at USC
6. Cal Bears
Last week: W 85-53 vs. Prarie View
It’s been a year of streaks for the Bears so far in 2012. They began the season by winning their first six games, followed it up with a four game losing streak and have now won two in a row. Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs are carrying Cal through their non-conference slate of games by combining to average more than half of their team’s points each game. They are easily one of the top scoring duos in the conference and will be a force to be reckoned with as Pac 12 play begins.
This week: Dec. 29 vs. Harvard, Jan. 3 at UCLA
5. Oregon State Beavers
Last week: W 86-79 vs. San Diego
Along with their in-state rival, Oregon State has been the other big surprise of the Pac 12’s non-conference season. Their only losses are a three point loss to Alabama and a six point loss at the hands of Kansas in Kansas City. They are the third highest scoring team in the conference (78.5 ppg) and they rebound extremely well. It will be tough to beat the Beavers this season, especially at home where they are still undefeated.
This week: Dec. 29 vs. Towson, Dec. 31 vs. Texas Pan American
4. UCLA Bruins
Last week: W 91-78 vs. Fresno State
Don’t look now but UCLA is winners of four straight and they are starting to finally figure out how to coexist. Shabazz Muhammad has emerged during the four game winning streak as their go-to-scorer, averaging 24.3 points in his last three alone. They haven’t really beaten anyone yet this year, their strongest win is against an up-and-down Texas team, but they have a chance to turn some heads as they host Missouri Friday night.
This week: Dec. 28 vs. No. 7 Missouri, Jan 3. vs. Cal
3. Oregon Ducks
Last week: W 91-50 vs. Houston Baptist
As mentioned in the intro slide, Oregon has been the major surprise this year and for good reason. They are 10-2 and they are ranked in the top 25 in both points per game and rebounds per game. Besides their head-scratching 3-OT loss to UTEP, Oregon’s only other loss was to No. 22 Cincinnati. They will be a tough team to face this season and can easily finish in the top half of the conference by the end of the year.
This week: Dec. 31 vs. Nevada
2. Colorado Buffaloes
Last week: W 98-51 vs. Northern Arizona
Colorado had a slump busting game against Northern Arizona and it should do wonders for their confidence moving forward. Askia Booker broke out of his shooting slump with 17 against the Lumberjacks and fellow guard Spencer Dinwiddie had a solid game as well posting 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. They have one more game against Hartford before they open conference play with a huge game at No. 3 Arizona.
This week: Dec. 29 vs. Hartford, Jan. 3 at No. 3 Arizona
1. Arizona Wildcats
Last week: Diamond Head Classic- W 73-53 vs. Eastern Tennessee State, W 69-50 vs. Miami, W 68-67 vs. No. 17 San Diego State
The Wildcats swept the Diamond Head Classic and further solidified themselves as legitimate national title contenders. They sealed the championship game with a last second block by Nick Johnson as they took out San Diego State. They have been tested during their non-conference schedule and it should do a world of good as they commence on their Pac 12 schedule, which opens by hosting a tough Colorado squad. Luckily they have almost an entire week to prepare for the Buffaloes.
This week: Jan. 3 vs. Colorado