Joe Jackson gives his Pac-12 basketball power rankings for week 11 of the season.
Matchup of the week: UCLA vs. Arizona
Sneaky good matchup of the week: UCLA vs. Arizona State
All times listed are EST.
1) UCLA Bruins
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 16-2 (7-0)
Last week: Utah (W) 68-49, Colorado (W) 68-54
Next week: @ Arizona State (Jan. 19 – 10:30 p.m.), @ #11 Arizona (Jan. 21 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Maryland, USC, Kentucky, Oregon, Utah
Worst losses: N/A
UCLA took care of business, beating Utah and Colorado by double digits. With Arizona having dropped a couple games, UCLA is the clear-cut number 1 in the conference at the moment, and one of the best teams in the country. They have won 13 in a row, not losing since the Vegas mini-tournament in late November. They will have their toughest week of games upcoming, by going to play both Arizona State and Arizona.
2) Arizona Wildcats
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 15-3 (4-3)
Last Week: @ Oregon State (W) 86-74, @ Oregon (L) 68-87
Next Week: USC (Jan. 19 – 9 p.m.), #5 UCLA (Jan. 21 – 2 p.m.)
Best Wins: Tennessee, San Diego State, Creighton, @ Arizona State, Indiana
Worst Losses: Washington State, @ Oregon
Arizona dropped their second game out of three, getting smacked by Oregon to the tune of 87-68. The Wildcats got dominated down low, something they are not used to. The Wildcats shot 38.5% from 2 while Oregon shot 71.9% from two. This is still a top 10-15 team in the country, but they will need improved defense. They have a good chance to get back on track this week, taking on USC and UCLA at home.
3) Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)
Record: 15-3 (6-1)
Last Week: @ Oregon (W) 90-73, @ Oregon State (W) 74-69
Next Week: #5 UCLA (Jan. 19 – 10:30 p.m.), USC (Jan. 21 – 10 p.m.)
Best Wins: Creighton, Michigan, @ Oregon, Colorado
Worst Losses: Texas Southern, @ San Francisco
Arizona State took care of both Oregon teams, blitzing Oregon by 17 points, and getting by Oregon State by 5. They have a tough week coming up, playing both USC and UCLA. 2 Wins this week certifies them as a legit Pac-12 contender.
4) USC Trojans
Last week’s ranking: 5 (+1)
Record: 13-5 (5-2)
Last week: Colorado (W) 68-61, Utah (W) 71-56
Next week: @ #11 Arizona (Jan. 19 – 9 p.m.), @ Arizona State (Jan. 21 – 10 p.m.)
Best Wins: Auburn, BYU, Utah, Colorado
Worst Losses: Florida Gulf Coast, @ Washington State
Maybe this was the week USC needed to get back on track. They got wins over Colorado and Utah, improving to 5-2 in conference play. They have had an elite interior defense, and it is starting to provide enough to allow their offense to get by. If they can anchor themselves defensively, they will have a chance to compete in every Pac-12 basketball game.
5) Utah Utes
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-1)
Record: 12-7 (5-3)
Last Week: @ #5 UCLA (L) 49-68, @ USC (L) 56-71
Next Week: Washington State (Jan. 19 – 9 p.m.), Washington (Jan. 21 – 8 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, Washington State, @ Stanford
Worst Losses: Sam Houston State, Oregon
Utah is in danger of slipping down the ranks after losing to UCLA and USC, making it three losses in a row. They have not been able to really replicate their 15-point victory over Arizona on December 1st. Three of their five Pac-12 wins have come against the three worst teams in the Pac-12. They play two teams this week that are also in the middle of the conference, a good opportunity to keep their ranking.
6) Washington State Cougars
Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)
Record: 9-10 (4-4)
Last week: California (W) 66-51, Stanford (W) 60-59
Next week: @ Utah (Jan. 19 – 9 p.m.), @ Colorado (Jan. 22 – 6 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Arizona, USC, Texas State
Worst Losses: Prairie View A&M, @ Hawaii
Washington State continued its success by taking care of two of the bottom teams in the Pac-12 in California and Stanford. They have won four of their last five, and seemed to have really turned a corner.
7) Oregon Ducks
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 10-8 (4-3)
Last Week: Arizona State (L) 73-90, #11 Arizona (W) 87-68
Next Week: @ California (Jan. 18 – 10 p.m.), @ Stanford (Jan. 21 – 11 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, @ Utah, Nevada
Worst Losses: UC Irvine, Utah Valley
Oregon continues to be one of the more confusing teams. They lost to Arizona State by 17 and then went out and beat Arizona by 19, two days later. They have alternated wins and losses for their last seven games, but a loss in their next game (California) would be a major blow to any momentum they want to build.
8) Colorado Buffaloes
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 11-8 (3-5)
Last Week: @ USC (L) 61-68, @ #5 UCLA (L) 54-68
Next Week: Washington (Jan. 19 – 9 p.m.), Washington State (Jan. 22 – 6 p.m.)
Best Wins: Tennessee, Texas A&M, Oregon, Yale
Worst Losses: @ Grambling State, @ California, UMass
Colorado lost to both LA-based schools, dropping them to 3-5 in Pac-12 basketball play. They had hopes of being near the top of the Pac-12 at the beginning of the season, but those hopes seemed to have washed away.
9) Washington Huskies
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)
Record: 11-8 (3-5)
Last week: Stanford (W) 86-69, California (W) 81-78
Next week: @ Colorado (Jan. 19 – 9 p.m.), @ Utah (Jan. 21 – 8 p.m.)
Best wins: Saint Mary’s, Colorado, Fresno State
Worst Losses: Cal Baptist, @ Oregon State
Washington dusted Stanford but then needed overtime to beat California at home. If they want to get back to the top half of the Pac-12, Washington is going to need to string some wins together and start scoring the ball more efficiently.
10) Stanford Cardinal
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)
Record: 5-12 (0-7)
Last week: @ Washington (L) 69-86, @ Washington State (L) 59-60
Next week: Oregon State (Jan. 19 – 11 p.m.), Oregon (Jan. 21 – 11 p.m.)
Best wins: Florida State, Cal Poly, Pacific
Worst Losses: @ California, @ Washington, @ Washington State, Ole Miss
Stanford is still the only school to not have a Pac-12 basketball win. They are the team that has been the worst compared to their pre-season expectations. Not many thought they could be one of if not the worst team in the Pac-12 at the beginning of the season. They have a chance to get their first conference win this week with Oregon State at home.
11) Oregon State Beavers
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)
Record: 7-11 (1-6)
Last week: #11 Arizona (L) 74-86, Arizona State (L) 69-74
Next week: @ Stanford (Jan. 19 – 11 p.m.), @ California (Jan. 22 – 3 p.m.)
Best wins: Washington, Seattle, Tulsa
Worst Losses: Portland State (x2)
Oregon State now is on a 5-game losing streak, and only has one Pac-12 basketball win. The Beavers get two chances to get wins this week with Stanford and California.
12) California Golden Bears
Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)
Record: 3-15 (2-5)
Last week: @ Washington State (L) 51-66, @ Washington (L) 78-81
Next week: Oregon (Jan. 18 – 10 p.m.), Oregon State (Jan. 22 – 3 p.m.)
Best wins: Colorado, Stanford, UT Arlington
Worst losses: UC San Diego, Southern, Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Texas State
California was fiesty, taking Washington to OT. The Oregon State matchup will be an interesting one, as it will be a good chance for both teams to get a win.