Joe Jackson gives his Pac-12 basketball power rankings for week 6 of the season.
Matchup of the week: Arizona vs. Tennessee (Dec. 17)
Sneaky good matchup of the week: UCLA vs. Maryland (Dec. 14)
All times listed are EST
1) Arizona Wildcats
Last week’s ranking: 2 (+1)
Record: 8-1 (1-1)
Last Week: #14 Indiana (W) 89-75
Next Week: Texas A&M Corpus Chris (Dec. 13 – 8:30 p.m.), #6 Tennessee (Dec. 17 – 10:30 p.m.)
Best Wins: Indiana, Creighton, San Diego State, Cincinnati
Worst Losses: Utah
As did most teams in the Pac-12, Arizona only played one game last week. However, it was one of the biggest games of the week with a matchup with Indiana in Las Vegas. IU was able to cut the lead multiple times, but Arizona always found an answer. Their up-tempo, high-octane offense is going to give even the best of defense fits. They have all the pieces, and Oumar Ballo was a force down low. Azuolas Tubelis looks like one of the best players in the conference, as he had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks against IU.
2) UCLA Bruins
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-1)
Record: 8-2 (2-0)
Last week: Denver (W) 87-64
Next week: @ #20 Maryland (Dec. 14 – 9 p.m.), #13 Kentucky (Dec. 17 – 5:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Oregon, Stanford, Pepperdine
Worst losses: N/A
A pretty quiet week for the Bruins. They only played Denver, and they took care of them handedly. No one in the country may have a tougher schedule this upcoming week than UCLA with matchups at Maryland and against Kentucky. Two wins here shoot UCLA up a lot of ranks.
3) Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)
Record: 10-1 (2-0)
Last Week: @ SMU (W) 75-57, Creighton (W) 73-71
Next Week: San Diego (Dec. 18 – 7 p.m.)
Best Wins: Michigan, Colorado, Stanford
Worst Losses: Texas Southern
Arizona State just continues to win, picking up a road victory over SMU and a big-time win over Creighton. Arizona State has a plethora of guys that could be the main contributors on any given night. One thing to note, Arizona State is 5-1 in games decided by 4 points or less, a record that is tough to maintain.
4) Utah Utes
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)
Record: 8-2 (2-0)
Last Week: Jacksonville State (W) 99-58
Next Week: UTSA (Dec. 13 – 9 p.m.), @ BYU (Dec. 17 – 6 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, Washington State, Georgia Tech
Worst Losses: Sam Houston State
Utah has been one of the bigger surprises in the Pac-12 this season. Projected to finish near the bottom, they currently sit at 8-2 and 2-0 in the conference. They have a very good chance to be at 10 or 11 wins before starting the rest of Pac-12 play. A matchup at BYU will be a good test to see how legit this Utah team is or is not.
5) Oregon Ducks
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-)
Record: 5-5 (1-1)
Last Week: Nevada (W) 78-65
Next Week: Nevada (Dec. 10 – 7 p.m.)
Best Wins: Villanova, Washington State, Montana State
Worst Losses: UC Irvine
Oregon is an interesting team to follow. They haven’t performed well, but the potential is clearly there. They have the tallest team in the country, but it has not resulted in great defensive performances (although height and length do not necessarily equate to good defense). Will Richardson has been a bright spot, recording a 19-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist triple-double against Nevada.
6) USC Trojans
Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)
Record: 7-3 (2-0)
Last week: Cal State Fullerton (W) 64-50
Next week: Long Beach State (Dec. 14 – 11 p.m.), Auburn (Dec. 18 – 5:30 p.m.)
Best Wins: BYU, Vermont, Oregon State
Worst Losses: Florida Gulf Coast
USC hasn’t beaten anyone close to a tourney team right now. Their best win comes against BYU on a neutral court. BYU is ranked as the 92nd-best team per Kenpom. They have a home matchup against Auburn this week, and it is a very important game for USC if they have aspirations for March.
7) Washington Huskies
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 7-3 (1-1)
Last week: @ #18 Gonzaga (L) 60-77
Next week: Cal Poly (Dec. 13 – 10:30 p.m.), Idaho State (Dec. 17 – 10 p.m.)
Best wins: Colorado, Saint Mary’s, Fresno State
Worst Losses: Cal Baptist, @ Oregon State
Washington fell at Gonzaga, something they should not be ashamed of. This is the last week of buy games for Washington as they have a matchup with Auburn next week before getting into Pac-12 play. They need to take care of business to get ready for the upcoming schedule.
8) Colorado Buffaloes
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 5-5 (0-2)
Last Week: Colorado State (W) 93-65
Next Week: North Alabama (Dec. 15 – 8:30 p.m.), Northern Colorado (Dec. 18 – 5 p.m.)
Best Wins: Tennessee, Texas A&M, Yale
Worst Losses: @ Grambling State, UMass
Colorado had one of their better games of the season, beating an in-state rival, Colorado State, by 28. Colorado has shown really great outings, but they have also had some head-scratching losses. They will need to find some consistency over the next few games before getting back into Pac-12 basketball play.
9) Washington State Cougars
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)
Record: 4-5 (0-2)
Last week: Northern Kentucky (W) 68-47, UNLV (L) 70-74
Next week: #11 Baylor (Dec. 18 – 10 p.m.)
Best wins: Texas State, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Washington
Worst Losses: Prairie View A&M
Washington State has at least been consistent this season (minus losing at Prairie View A&M). If you are a top 100 team, Washington State has lost to you. If you are worse than a top 200 team, Washington State has beaten you. A big matchup awaits them Sunday against Baylor.
10) Stanford Cardinal
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)
Record: 3-6 (0-2)
Last week: N/A
Next week: Green Bay (Dec. 16 – 8 p.m.), Texas (Dec. 18 – 1 p.m.)
Best wins: Florida State, Cal Poly, Pacific
Worst Losses: N/A
Stanford had a bye week, playing no games. Maybe the rest will be what they needed to get right. The one thing they have going for them is although they have 6 losses, I would not consider any of them to be bad losses. The “worst” came on a neutral floor against Mississippi. They will have a get-right game against Green Bay before having a really big matchup against Texas. A 2-0 week would do wonders for Stanford.
11) Oregon State Beavers
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)
Record: 4-6 (1-1)
Last week: @ Texas A&M (L) 54-72
Next week: Seattle (Dec. 15 – 10:30 p.m.), Green Bay (Dec. 18 – 3 p.m.)
Best wins: Washington, Tulsa, Florida A&M
Worst Losses: Portland State (x2)
Oregon State came in projected to be one of the worst teams in all of the Power Conferences. Now, they are not going to compete for the Pac-12 title, but they have shown that they are capable of being competitive, and that is at least a step in the right direction.
12) California Golden Bears
Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)
Record: 0-11 (0-2)
Last week: Eastern Washington (L) 48-50, Butler (L) 58-82
Next week: @ Santa Clara (Dec. 18 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: N/A
Worst losses: UC San Diego, Southern, Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Texas State
California had their best chance yet of getting a win, but they ended up losing to Eastern Washington by 2. They shot 13.3% from 3, and they turned it over 17 times. This is a team that does not seem to have any positives with it at all.