Week 12 Pac 12 Basketball Power Rankings
Crazy Week in the Pac 12
Can the Pac 12 ever have a predictable week? If last week’s games were any indication the answer to that question would be an unequivocal no.
It was a crazy week in the conference as some of the top teams in the standings stumbled on the road while other teams are finally starting to put things together and create some momentum heading into the second part of the conference schedule.
I think it is time to start realizing that Arizona State may be for real, especially at home where they have lost just two games all season. They blew out UCLA by 18 last Saturday and followed that with a road win at Washington State. The only two losses they have in conference play are to the top two teams, Oregon by three on the road and Arizona by 17 at home. It looks like the Sun Devils have the inside track to capture a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Previously unbeaten in Pac 12 play Oregon got throttled on the road at Stanford and the Cardinal are one of the teams that are starting to realize their potential. They have had a rough Pac 12 start but they are 3-1 in their last four contests. Along with Stanford, Colorado and Arizona State seem to be the teams that are playing their best right now as both teams are 3-1 in their last four.
As conference play winds down to the final ten games of the regular season the Pac 12 race will be one of the most interesting conference battles in the country. Any team can beat any team and that’s been evident through the first month of conference play.
Here’s how the Pac 12 stacks up in week 12.
12. Utah Utes
Record: 9-11 (1-7)
Last week: L 87-56 vs. Stanford
The Utes overall and Pac 12 record may not reflect the true quality of this team. Yes they are only 1-6 in conference play but all of their losses except for two came by less than ten points, including the loss to Stanford. Although they are down they still have some talent that can surprise some teams along the way. I see them as a wounded dog that still has the ability to bite.
This week: Feb 2 vs. Colorado, Feb 6 at Oregon State
11. Oregon State Beavers
Record: 11-10 (1-7)
Last week: L 71-68 vs. Washington State, L 71-68 at Cal
Oregon State has let their solid non-conference success go to waste. The Beavers are just 1-7 in conference play and they dropped both of their contests last week. They lost both games by a combined six points, which is about the only positive to take away from their performance of late. Oregon State had a prime opportunity to pick up two wins but they lost to one of the other bottom conference teams and they blew an eight-point halftime lead against Cal.
This week: Feb 3 at Stanford, Feb 6 vs. Utah
10. Washington State Cougars
Record: 11-10 (2-6)
Last Week: W 71-68 at Oregon State, L 63-59 vs. Arizona State
Washington State added another win to their Pac 12 record and it keeps them out of the second-to-last spot in the conference rankings. That win was against Oregon State who, besides Utah, is likely the worst team in the conference but it’s still a win. Moral victory for the Cougs was a four-point loss to one of the better teams in the Pac 12 Arizona State.
This week: Feb 2 vs. No. 8 Arizona, Feb 7 at USC
9. Washington Huskies
Record: 12-9 (4-4)
Last week: L 81-76 at No. 16 Oregon, L 57-53 vs. No. 8 Arizona
After getting off to a 4-0 start the Huskies have dropped their last four games and are in free-fall mode. They lost to two of the worst teams in the league and then followed it with two losses to the top teams in the conference. It’s hard to figure this team out but if they can’t recover soon it could get ugly with ASU, UCLA and USC looming in the near future.
This week: Feb 2 vs. Arizona State, Feb 7 at UCLA
8. Cal Bears
Record: 12-8 (4-4)
Last week: L 81-71 at Colorado, W 71-68 vs. Oregon State
Another week down, another 1-1 showing for the Bears. They got their week off on the wrong foot against Colorado, as they couldn’t overcome a 20% first-half shooting performance, eventually losing by ten. However, they completed a comeback in their next game against Oregon State after they were down by eight at halftime. Cal’s next four games are extremely tough as they take on the top four teams in the Pac 12.
This week: Feb 2 vs. No. 10 Oregon, Feb 7 at Arizona State
7. USC Trojans
Record: 9-13 (4-5)
Last week: L 74-50 at No. 6 Arizona, W 75-71 OT at UCLA
USC is playing a lot better under interim head coach Bob Cantu and they seem to be putting forth a greater effort game in, game out. Although they were a little too overmatched against Arizona they had one of their best games of the year in the OT win at UCLA. The team has bonded together after the firing of Kevin O’Neil and it’s showing on the court. USC has a week off before taking on the Washington teams at home.
This week: Feb 7 vs. Washington State
6. Stanford Cardinal
Record: 13-8 (4-4)
Last week: W 87-56 at Utah, 76-52 vs. No. 10 Oregon
Stanford is finally putting it all together and they easily had the best week in the entire conference. After getting blown out at Colorado they regrouped and put a stomping on Utah in Salt Lake. The momentum they gained from the Utah game spilled right on over to their impressive beat down of Oregon, handing the Ducks their first loss of conference play. They have an easier game against Oregon State next but then they travel to Arizona for a tough two game road trip.
This week: Feb 3 vs. Oregon State, Feb 6 at No. 8 Arizona
5. Colorado Buffaloes
Record: 14-6 (4-4)
Last week: W 81-71 vs. Cal
Colorado may be playing the best basketball out of any team in the conference right now and it couldn’t come at a better time. After taking care of Cal they head out on the road for three straight, which includes Utah and the Oregon schools. The Buffs struggle to score on the road and this past home stand they found their offensive rhythm and they hope to carry that on the road with them. It seems that it will come down to Colorado and Arizona State for the No. 4 seed in the Pac 12 tournament.
This week: Feb 2 at Utah, Feb 7 at No. 10 Oregon
4. UCLA Bruins
Record: 16-6 (6-3)
Last week: L 78-60 at Arizona State, L 75-71 OT vs. USC
What a difference a week makes. Last week UCLA let a huge win over Arizona go to waste as they lost both of their contests. The Bruins got hammered at Arizona State and then followed it up with a head-scratching loss to rival USC at home. Not sure what to think of the Bruins at this point besides the fact that they are too talented to have a week like they just did. They may be the most underwhelming team in the conference at this point.
This week: Feb 7 vs. Washington
3. Arizona State Sun Devils
Record: 17-4 (6-2)
Last week: W 78-60 vs. UCLA, W 63-59 at Washington State
The Sun Devils are playing great basketball right now. The only thing they really have to prove now is to win consistently on the road. Arizona State has another opportunity to win on the road Saturday as they take on Washington. Carrick Felix and Jahi Carson form one of the premier one-two scoring punches in the conference. Felix is coming off a week where he had two straight double-doubles and he’s playing like a senior should at this point in the season, a leader.
This week: Feb 2 at Washington, Feb 7 vs. Cal
2. Oregon Ducks
Record: 18-3 (7-1)
Last week: W 81-76 vs. Washington, L 76-52 at Stanford
The Ducks got blown out at Stanford and it looks like the injury to starting point guard Dominic Artis is a bigger loss than they thought it would be. His absence in the lineup throws off their offensive rhythm and their threat from the three-point line. Until he comes back the Ducks will likely struggle and it comes at a tough time with Washington and Colorado looming on their schedule.
This week: Feb 2 at Cal, Feb 7 vs. Colorado
1. Arizona Wildcats
Record: 18-2 (6-2)
Last week: W 74-50 vs. USC, W 57-53 at Washington
Throughout the tumultuous week that the majority of the rest of the conference went through the Wildcats were only of the only constants. There was question whether or not Arizona was the best team of the conference when they lost to Oregon but I think they are without a doubt the most talented team in the Pac 12. Arizona’s next two games are against the Bay Area teams and they should be a solid challenge as both Stanford and Cal are playing good basketball.
This week: Feb 2 at Washington State, Feb 6 vs. Stanford