Pac-12 men's power rankings
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 02:03
1. No. 21 UCLA (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12)
It’s difficult to pick a clear-cut conference leader when the top three teams all have recent losses to Pac-12 bottom dwellers, but UCLA comes out of the logjam at the top with a slight statistical edge. The Bruins have two top-10 scorers in true freshman Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams, as well as the conference’s best passing point guard in Larry Drew II.
2. No. 18 Arizona (24-6, 12-6)
After getting swept by the L.A. area schools, the Wildcats’ stock was dropping faster than Nicholas Cage’s in the 2000s (did anyone see “Ghost Rider?”). They semi-made up for those losses with a 73-58 drubbing of ASU on Saturday, and Arizona has the feel of a team that will excel in the Pac-12 Tournament.
3. Cal (20-10, 12-6)
The Golden Bears could have been at the top of this list had it not been for a loss to Stanford last week — their first loss since Feb. 7. Cal won seven games in a row prior to that, and has Pac-12 Player of the Year, Alan Crabbe. If Cal can catch fire again, and if Mike Montgomery can keep his hands to himself, this team could win the conference championship.
4. Oregon (23-8, 12-6)
Oregon has been outscored by a total of 33 points and has shot only 40 percent over its last two games. Despite that, the Ducks still enter the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed and have shown they can hold their own with any team in the Pac-12. Oregon has also proven capable of losing to any team in the Pac-12, and needs to end the inconsistencies to do well in the postseason.
5. Stanford (18-13, 9-9)
The Cardinal are only ranked this high because they are the only team in the Pac-12 that has also won two games in a row. Stanford just beat the hottest team in the conference, and has one of the best big-men duos in the nation with Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell.
6. Colorado (20-10, 10-8)
The Buffaloes may have just lost to Corvallis’ own Oregon State Beavers, but they won the conference tournament last year and have the best rebounder in the nation in Andre Roberson. Colorado has beaten Oregon twice and has technically beaten Arizona once — everyone with a brain knows that the record shows Colorado winning back in January.
Everyone except the crew of officials who waved off Sabatino Chen’s three pointer at the buzzer.
7. Washington (17-14, 9-9)
Although the Huskies do have some capable players (see: C.J. Wilcox and Aziz N’Diaye), they are — at best — an average team. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington lose to a red hot — but overall mediocre — WSU team in the first round.
8. Arizona State (20-11, 9-9)
The Sun Devils looked to be a possible NCAA Tournament bubble team in the first half of conference play, but ASU has fallen off hard and lost its last four in a row. On a brighter note, ASU does have one of the most explosive players in the conference in Pac-12 co-Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson.
9. Utah (13-17, 5-13)
This might seem like an abnormally high ranking for the Utes, but their last two wins have been impressive (11-point win against OSU, 10-point win against Oregon). The Utes come into the Pac-12 Tournament with the best defense in the Pac-12, but unfortunately for Utah fans, also have the worst offense in the Pac-12.
10. Washington State (13-18, 4-14)
Equally as impressive as Utah’s last two wins has been Washington State’s back-to-back double-digit beat downs of UCLA and USC. The Cougars, like Utah, have a terrible offense but impressive defense. Look for senior Brock Motum, the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer with 18.4 points per game, to get the ball early and often.
11. Oregon State (14-17, 4-14)
After losing five in a row, Beaver Nation finally had something to cheer about on Saturday afternoon, when Oregon State beat Colorado 64-58 (although it is doubtful that many in Corvallis were watching, it was incredibly nice out). The Beavers pulled off a couple tournament game upsets last year, and head coach Craig Robinson’s bunch will be sure to put up a decent fight in a rematch against Colorado on Wednesday.
12. USC (14-17, 9-9)
It has been a tough season for USC. The Trojans fired their head coach midway through the season and, after a loss to WSU on Saturday, two USC players were allegedly involved in a Spokane bar brawl. With two seven-footers suspended indefinitely as a result of the brawl, USC is a sitting duck in the Pac-12 Tournament.