1. Arizona (20-2, 8-2): The Wildcats are back on top and back on track for a #1 seed in not only the Pac-12 but the NCAA Tournament as well. Arizona could run the table through the rest of Pac-12 play. Their only potential stumble games are a trip to UCLA on March 2nd and the Valentine’s Day rematch with Colorado following the controversial “buzzer beater”.
2. Arizona St. (18-5, 7-3): Freshman, Jahii Carson went off for 32 points on 13-19 from the field in the Sun Devils only loss the past 5 games. The Sun Devils are led by Carrick Felix though and if they continue to roll could win a game or two come March.
3. Oregon (18-5, 7-3): The Ducks have lost 3 straight and need Dominic Artis to come back ASAP. Oregon NEEDS to stop the bleeding against Utah this weekend or things could get worse fast. Two weeks ago, Oregon was in control of the Pac-12 and now they need to get it together just to remain in the field of 68.
4. UCLA (17-6, 7-3): Larry Drew II’s buzzer beater saved the Bruins on Thursday night. UCLA avoided a 3 game losing streak and maybe just maybe this can ignite a winning streak. The Bruins have a home date with Washington State this weekend then travel up north to face both Northern California teams. Knowing the Bruins bi-polar play though, I’m expecting them to win 2 and get blown out in the other but as a Bruin I hope I’m wrong.
5. Stanford (14-9, 5-5): The Cardinals have only a close loss at Arizona in the past two weeks. Johnny Dawkins was on the hot seat but now Stanford has a show at the big dance. I don’t see the Pac-12 getting more than 5 teams but Stanford might be able to jump ahead of Colorado or Arizona State by the seasons end.
6. Colorado (15-7, 5-5): Colorado rallied to beat Oregon Thursday night which boosts their resume but Oregon wasn’t at full strength. A true boost will be their game next Thursday against Arizona who should be a top 5 team in the country in next week’s polls. Colorado will have revenge on its mind from the last meeting between the two teams, The Buffaloes were on a roll but it was negated with a loss to Utah.
7. USC (10-13, 5-5): Bob Cantu continues to do an excellent job as the interim coach for the Trojans. USC squeaked by Washington State and now has struggling Washington coming to the Galen Center. USC will be a bubble buster for the Pac-12 teams sitting on the edge.
8. Washington (13-10, 5-5): The Huskies lost a heart breaker at UCLA Thursday night to remain in a slump. Washington’s only win in their past 6 games is a victory over Arizona State where they shot 53% and seems to be an aberration. A trip to USC and then a home date against Oregon seem to be crucial victories for any hope of a NCAA tournament bid.
9. California (13-9, 5-5): Cal finally ended their alternating win-loss steak with a surprising victory over Oregon last Saturday. The Golden Bears couldn’t ride the momentum with a loss to Arizona State and now have Arizona and UCLA next on their schedule. Allen Crabbe continues to shine for Cal and should be a tough matchup for both teams but Cal doesn’t have the depth like the Wildcats and Bruins.
10. Washington St. (11-12, 2-8): The Cougars continue to lose games closely but at the end of the day a loss is a loss. Washington State lost by 4 to USC and should give UCLA a close game but ultimately should lose. Their only conference wins are against Oregon St. and Utah and the ladder they don’t play again.
11. Oregon St. (12-11, 2-8): The Beavers beat Utah to snap the losing streak but another one seems on the horizon. Oregon State has had a very disappointing season for how much talent is on the roster.
12. Utah (10-12, 1-8): Utah is sitting on the bottom of the rankings again but they do have a victory of Colorado and Washington. Their next 3 games are against the top 3 teams in the conference though but you never know.
Game of the weekend: Stanford @ Arizona State
Match-up of the week: Arizona @ Colorado
Upset Alert: Colorado over Arizona
Player of the Week: Jahii Carson (Arizona State)
Biggest Climb: Washington +2
Biggest Fall: Oregon -2