Men's Basketball Pac-12 Power Rankings (Jan. 8)
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 00:01
1. Arizona (14-0 overall, 2-0 Pac-12)
Ranked fourth in this week’s AP poll, Arizona is the conference’s first legitimate Final Four contender in several seasons. But the Wildcats are far from invincible, having won three games by three points or less and another — last week vs. Colorado — because the referees blew a call at the end of regulation. They’re very good, but probably not as good as their 14-0 record indicates.
Last week: vs. Colo. (W, 92-83), vs. Utah (W, 60-57)
This week (predictions): @ UO (L), @ OSU (W)
2. UCLA (12-3, 2-0)
The question was never whether UCLA had talent; it was whether the pieces would come together. After a shaky start to the season, UCLA’s superb crop of freshmen has led the Bruins to seven consecutive victories. Freshman guard Shabaaz Muhammad (19.6 PPG) is beginning to show why he was the nation’s No. 1 recruit.
Last week: vs. Cal (W, 79-65), vs. Stan. (W, 68-60)
This week (predictions): @ Utah (W), @ Colo. (L)
3. Oregon (12-2, 1-0)
If not for a head-scratching triple-overtime loss to UTEP in mid-December, the Ducks would be a top-25 team, nationally. Wins against Arizona and ASU this week would certainly catapult them into next week’s top 25.
Last week: @ OSU (W, 79-66)
This week (predictions): vs. UA (W), vs. ASU (W)
4. ASU (12-2, 2-0)
Freshman point guard Jahii Carson (16.7 PPG) — a former OSU commit — has helped breath life into a program that has finished in the bottom third of the conference each of the past two seasons, but we’ll have a better idea of how for real the unproven Sun Devils are after this week’s road tests.
Last week: vs. Utah (W, 55-54), vs. Colo. (W, 65-56)
This week (predictions): @ OSU (L), @ UO (L)
5. Colorado (10-4, 0-2)
There’s no other way to put it: The Buffaloes got robbed last week in Tucson. Sabatino Chen’s 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer appeared to give CU an 83-80 win, but the referees waved it off and Arizona wound up winning in overtime. Replays showed the ball leaving Chen’s fingertips with .01 remaining, so I won’t hold the loss against the Buffs.
Last week: @ UA (L, 83-92), @ ASU (L, 56-65)
This week (predictions): vs. USC (W), vs. UCLA (W)
6. California (9-5, 1-1)
The Golden Bears have lost five of their last eight, but a win over USC last week gives them a slight edge over their Bay Area rival, Stanford. Junior guard Allen Crabbe leads the conference in scoring with 21.4 PPG.
Last week: @ UCLA (L, 65-79), @ USC (W, 72-64)
This week (predictions): vs. UW (W), vs. WSU (W)
7. Stanford (9-6, 0-2)
With four of its six losses coming to teams that either began the season ranked or are currently ranked, Stanford is better than its record indicates. But a loss to lowly USC certainly wasn’t how the Cardinal wanted to begin conference play.
Last week: @ USC (L, 69-71), @ UCLA (L, 60-68)
This week (predictions): vs. WSU (W), vs. UW (L)
8. Oregon State (10-4, 0-1)
I’d like to think the Beavers are better than this, but truth of the matter is they haven’t given me any reason to believe they are. Though the Oregon loss was excusable, the loss to Towson a week and a half ago wasn’t. The Beavers are more than capable of beating ASU tomorrow night and putting up a fight against Arizona on Saturday, but Beaver Nation could be in for another frustrating season if OSU starts Pac-12 play with three consecutive losses at home. Check back with me next week; I’ll have a much better feel for where this team stands.
Last week: vs. UO (L, 66-79)
This week (predictions): vs. ASU (W), vs. UA (L)
9. Washington (9-5, 1-0)
Last year, the Huskies won the Pac-12 regular season title with a 14-4 record, but didn’t get invited to the NCAA Tournament thanks to several embarrassing nonconference losses. It appears they didn’t learn anything from that, considering they’ve lost to Albany, Nevada and Colorado State (by 18 points) in nonconference play this year.
Last week: @ WSU (W, 68-63)
This week (predictions): @ Cal (L), @ Stan. (W)
10. WSU (9-5, 1-0)
The Cougars suffered the biggest preseason blow of anyone in the conference when senior guard Reggie Moore — one of their better players — was kicked off the team in September. The Cougars haven’t been awful — four of their five losses have been by five points or less — but I don’t see them making much noise in conference.
Last week: vs. UW (L, 63-68)
This week (predictions): @ Stan. (L), @ Cal (L)
11. Utah (8-6, 0-2)
The Utes put up pretty good fights against the Arizona schools last week, which is a bit surprising, considering they lost to Cal State Northridge, BYU, SMU and Sacramento State (ha) in nonconference play.
Last week: @ ASU (L, 54-55), @ UA (L, 57-60)
This week (predictions): vs. UCLA (L), vs. USC (W)
12. USC (6-9, 1-1)
The Trojans got a good win (by their standards) versus Stanford to open Pac-12 play, but the fact that they’re the only team in the conference below .500 overall speaks for itself.
Last week: vs. Stanford (W, 71-69), vs. Cal (L, 64-72)
This week (predictions): @ Colo. (L), @ Utah (L)