1. Oregon (15-2, 4-0): The Ducks remain atop the power rankings for another week. Eugene might be in disarray over the loss of Chip Kelley but E.J. Singler and company have things in control on the hardwood. Oregon has won 6 straight games but have a looming game in Westwood against the Bruins!
2. Arizona (15-1, 3-1): Arizona bounced back from their only loss with a nice victory on the road against Oregon State. Critics might say the team should be 2-2 in conference play because of the Colorado game but Arizona is the highest ranked Pac-12 team in the polls for a reason. Arizona has two victories over current top-15 ranked teams which gives the Wildcats the best tournament resume of the conference. Arizona and Oregon remain the only teams without a head-scratching loss.
3. UCLA (15-3, 5-0): The Bruins have won 10 straight now and are looking better by the day. The late night extra practices by Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson are showing as both freshman look like the top ranked recruits Ben Howland was expecting. Ben Howland has been on the hot seat and will be judged by what this team does in March but the Bruins are 5-0 in the league for the first time since Howland’s first year at UCLA.
4. Washington (12-5, 4-0): The Huskies jump to #4 in the rankings since they are one of 3 remaining teams still undefeated in conference play. Lorenzo Romar’s team is healthy and looks much better than the team we saw in November and December. The Huskies should win their next two games before we see how the Huskies stack up against the higher quality teams of the Pac-12.
5. Arizona St. (14-3, 3-1): The Sun Devils will finally face a quality opponent when Arizona comes to Tempe Saturday. The Sun Devils seem to be a good team but how the stack up Saturday will be the true test. Arizona State has already exceeded last year’s win total of 10.
6. California (10-6, 2-2): The Golden Bears have done what they were supposed to so far but a quality win or a bad loss would give this team more of an identity. The have beaten the teams they should have and lost to the teams they were expected to. Cal had a nice showing against Washington St. and now goes on the road for 3 winnable games.
7. Colorado (11-6, 1-4): The Buffaloes are not as bad as their 1-4 league record indicates. Colorado needs to put the Arizona “loss” behind them and start a nice win streak to get back to even in the conference. Their upcoming schedule suggests a four game winning should happen.
8. USC (7-11 2-3): The Trojans fired Kevin O’Neill Monday which was long overdue. USC had a nice showing Thursday night against Oregon only losing by 2. The Trojans looked re-energized this week and finally put their year long road losing streak to an end.
9. Stanford (10-7, 1-3): The Cardinals have been inconsistent all season which seems likely to be consistent all season. They have the worst field goal percentage in the league and their only win is against Washington St. Good news for Stanford…. football signing day is only 19 days away and Chip Kelley left the conference. Basketball…. not so much.
10. Oregon St. (10-7, 0-4): Oregon State seems to be heading in the right direction, just not in the win column. The team is improving but if they don’t start getting victories then Craig Robinson’s days could be numbered. A trip to USC Saturday might be the remedy.
11. Washington St. (10-7, 1-3): The Cougars got their first win of 2013 against Utah on Wednesday. Senior Brock Motum continues to put up quality numbers averaging 19.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG.
12. Utah (8-9, 0-5): Utah no longer has a valid excuse of losing only close games. The Utes lost at home to USC by 17, prior to that game USC had a yearlong road losing streak previously mentioned. Utah also lost to the second worst team in the conference, Washington State, by double figures.
Match-up of the weekend: Oregon @ UCLA
Player of the Week: Kyle Anderson (UCLA)
Biggest Climb: USC +3
Biggest Fall: Utah -3