Wildcat Authority Pac-12 Power Rankings
1.) Arizona (18-0, 5-0) LW: 1 – Arizona has been the cream of the crop throughout the season and this week was nothing different. Although the Wildcats had just one game, they were able to dispatch the rival Sun Devils without much pause. Sean Miller’s squad is by far the best team in the conference and the gap to the next best team is widening weekly.
2.) California (14-4, 5-0) LW: 2 – I have been weary to give the Golden Bears credit up to this point and I will continue to be, but they are rolling right now and momentum is building. That much was apparent as Cal won handily over both Washington schools at home this week. The next two weeks will be huge for the Golden Bears as they will have to travel to Los Angeles before hosting the Arizona schools as the first half of conference play wraps up.
3.) Stanford (12-5, 3-2) LW: 8 – The Cardinal quietly jumped up in the conference standings with a home sweep of the Washington schools over the weekend. After starting the conference slate 0-2, Stanford has won three straight and seems to have reestablished the team that had a quality non-conference season.
4.) Utah (14-4, 3-3) LW: 11 – Could Utah be turning that mid-season corner? The Utes knocked off UCLA at home, but it was primed to be a letdown game for the Bruins. Even so, Utah turned the ball five times in the final four minutes of the game, nearly blowing a ten-point lead, and those late game struggles will keep the Utes in the middle of the pack once all is said and done. In addition, Utah has struggled on the road this season, but will get a chance to prove itself in the desert this week as it heads to Arizona.
5.) UCLA (14-4, 3-2) LW: 4 – UCLA is a strange team, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be given credit for what it has accomplished. Steve Alford has stepped into the program and not had any dropoff from the play that Ben Howland got from his teams over the last few years. However, that play wasn’t the best and that is why Alford is in and Howland is out. UCLA is in desperate need of a sweep this weekend to stay in contention for the conference title and there may not be a bigger game the rest of the season than the matchup with Cal this week.
6.) Colorado (15-4, 4-2) LW: 5 – The Buffs beat up on USC, but then again, who hasn’t? The real problem for Colorado is that it could realistically lose to Arizona and Arizona State this week and be out of the conference title picture. Losing Spencer Dinwiddie has really hurt this team in more ways than one and someone is going to have to step up if Colorado hopes to split on the road this week.
7.) Oregon State (10-7, 2-3) LW: 7 – Oregon State may not actually be as mediocre as the numbers would present. A tough looking team led the charge as the Beavers took the first leg of the basketball-version of the Civil War in Corvallis on Sunday. Oregon State won’t contend for the title, but it could challenge for the right to be a dream killer with a home game against Arizona late in the season.
8.) Arizona State (13-5, 2-3) LW: 6 – The Sun Devils are still playing just as expected with back-to-back split weekends and the loss to Arizona on Thursday. If Arizona State expects to go anywhere this season, this weekend would be a great starting point. Two very winnable games can propel the Sun Devils into a reasonable position before hitting the road to end the first half of conference play.
9.) Washington (11-8, 3-3) LW: 3 – The Huskies were one of the hottest teams heading into the third week of the Pac-12 season, but must have taken a dip into the water during the Bay Area road trip. Washington was picked apart by the white-hot California team and bullied by a resurgent Stanford squad as it was swept on the trip. Washington can get a shot at redemption this week, however, as it returns home to face Oregon on Thursday.
10.) Washington State (8-10, 1-5) LW: 10 – The bottom half of the conference has been the home for the Cougars over the past few seasons and there is not much different this season. Washington State gets a slight edge over Oregon and USC because it is the team that has won most recently.
11.) Oregon (13-4, 1-4) LW: 9 – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just a few weeks ago, the Ducks were considered a favorite as the contender to give Arizona a run for its money in the conference championship race. Since beating Utah on January 2, Oregon has lost four straight and is likely already out of title contention. The Ducks are in desperate need of some wins just to make it into the NCAA tournament at this point.
12.) USC (9-9, 0-5) LW: 12 – There were high expectations for Andy Enfield and his high-flying, fast-paced basketball when he was hired at USC. That may still come to fruition, but the horses just aren’t there yet. Kevin O’Neill and Enfield may be polar opposites in terms of coaching philosophies and it cannot be expected to have the players and program transition from one to the other successfully in the first season.
*Note: Rankings are determined through a combination of conference record, head-to-head matchups, and recent results.*
Oregon State at Washington State
California at USC
Colorado at Arizona
Utah at Arizona State
Stanford at UCLA
Oregon at Washington
Oregon State at Washington
Colorado at Arizona State
Stanford at USC
Oregon at Washington State
Utah at Arizona
California at UCLA