Joe Jackson gives his Pac-12 basketball power rankings for week 16 of the season.
Matchup of the week: Arizona State vs. Arizona
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Utah vs. UCLA
All times listed are EST.
1) UCLA Bruins
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 23-4 (14-2)
Last week: Stanford (W) 73-64, California (W) 78-43
Next week: @ Utah (Feb. 23 – 11 p.m.), @ Colorado (Feb. 26 – 4 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Maryland, Kentucky, @ Arizona State, USC, Utah
Worst losses: N/A
UCLA continues to roll, extending their winning streak to six games. They have a two game lead over Arizona in the Pac-12, so a sweep this week would guarantee them a share of the title, with a matchup with the Wildcats next week. They can’t over look two tough road games this week however.
2) Arizona Wildcats
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 24-4 (13-4)
Last Week: Utah (W) 88-62, Colorado (W) 78-68
Next Week: Arizona State (Feb. 25 – 2 p.m.)
Best Wins: UCLA, Tennessee, San Diego State, Indiana, Creighton, @ Arizona State, USC
Worst Losses: Washington State, @ Oregon
Arizona bounced back from their surprising loss against Stanford with two wins over Utah and Colorado. They now will have an entire week to prepare for Arizona State. Arizona can’t afford a loss if they want to try and catch UCLA in the Pac-12 basketball standings.
3) USC Trojans
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)
Record: 19-8 (11-5)
Last week: California (W) 97-60, Stanford (W) 85-75
Next week: @ Colorado (Feb. 23 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Utah (Feb. 25 – 8:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: UCLA, Auburn, @ Arizona State, Utah
Worst Losses: Florida Gulf Coast, @ Washington State
USC doesn’t have a chance at the Pac-12 title, but they still have a chance at getting a tourney bid. They did what they needed to do last week against California and Stanford. USC needs to at minimum split the upcoming road games. Winning both could go a long way towards receiving a bid.
4) Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week’s ranking: 5 (+1)
Record: 19-9 (10-7)
Last Week: Colorado (L) 67-59, Utah (W) 67-59
Next Week: @ #7 Arizona (Feb. 25 – 2:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: Creighton, @ Oregon, Michigan
Worst Losses: Texas Southern, @ San Francisco, @ Washington, @ Washington State
It seemed not too long ago that Arizona State was the Pac-12’s best chance at getting a third bid in the conference. Now they are hoping to finish the season strong with 3 straight road games over the top 3 teams in the Pac-12. Going 2-1 may get them a chance at the postseason, but that is going to be much easier said than done.
5) Utah Utes
Last week’s ranking: 6 (+1)
Record: 17-11 (10-7)
Last Week: @ #7 Arizona (L) 88-62, @ Arizona State (L) 67-59
Next Week: UCLA (Feb. 23 – 11:00 p.m.), USC (Feb. 25 – 8:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, Washington State, Washington
Worst Losses: Sam Houston State, Stanford
Utah is a much different road team compared to a home team. They lost both games in Arizona last week, but they have home matchups against the two LA schools this week. Although they do not have a ton of postseason hopes, they could play spoiler for USC this week.
6) Oregon Ducks
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-2)
Record: 15-13 (9-8)
Last Week: @ Washington (L) 72-71, @ Washington State (L) 68-65
Next Week: @ Oregon State (Feb. 25 – 10:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, @ Arizona State Nevada, Utah (x2)
Worst Losses: UC Irvine, Utah Valley, @ Stanford
Just when things seemed to be trending in the right direction for Oregon, they dropped two straight very close games to Washington and Washington State. Any momentum they had from late January/early February is now gone for a team that had high hopes coming into the season.
7) Washington State Cougars
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 13-15 (8-9)
Last week: Oregon State (W) 80-62, Oregon (W) 68-65
Next week: @ Stanford (Feb. 23 – 11:00 p.m.), @ California (Feb. 25 – 5:00 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Arizona, USC, Arizona State
Worst Losses: Prairie View A&M, @ Hawaii, @ Colorado
Washington State finally got a close win. It has felt like they have gotten all of the bad bounces this season, and they are better than their record indicates. With games against Stanford and California, Washington State has a chance to have an above 500 record for the first time in the Pac-12 all season.
8) Washington Huskies
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 15-13 (7-10)
Last week: Oregon (W) 72-71, Oregon State (W) 61-47
Next week: @ California (Feb. 23 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Stanford (Feb. 26 – 11:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Saint Mary’s, Colorado (x2), Arizona State
Worst Losses: Cal Baptist, @ Oregon State
Washington bounced back from a 4 game slide by beating both Oregon teams. It has not been a great offensive season, but the defense was on display more this past week to get them two victories that could get them some momentum leading into the Pac-12 tourney.
9) Colorado Buffaloes
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)
Record: 15-13 (7-10)
Last Week: @ Arizona State (W) 67-59, @ #7 Arizona (L) 78-68
Next Week: USC (Feb. 23 – 9:00 p.m.), #4 UCLA (Feb. 26 – 11:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: Tennessee, Texas A&M, Oregon
Worst Losses: @ Grambling State, @ California, UMass, Washington, @ Oregon State
Colorado got one win in the state of Arizona, knocking off Arizona State. The defense has been there this season, but the offense has really struggled. This was another team with post season hopes coming into the season but will not come close to making it.
10) Stanford Cardinal
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)
Record: 11-16 (5-11)
Last week: @ #4 UCLA (L) 73-64, @ USC (L) 85-75
Next week: Washington State (Feb. 23 – 11:00 p.m.), Washington (Feb. 26 – 6:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Oregon, Utah, Florida State
Worst Losses: @ California, @ Washington, @ Washington State, Ole Miss
Stanford may be the most disappointing team in the Pac-12 this season. There was hopes they could compete in the top half of the Pac-12, but they have found themselves in the 10 spot in this league for the majority of the season.
11) Oregon State Beavers
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)
Record: 10-18 (4-13)
Last week: @ Washington (L) 80-62, @ Washington State (L) 61-47
Next week: Oregon (Feb. 25 – 10:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Washington, Colorado, Seattle
Worst Losses: Portland State (x2), @ Stanford
Oregon State has had their season go how it was imagined to be. They were expected to be one of the worst power conference teams, but they have been able to sneak out a couple decent wins this season.
12) California Golden Bears
Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)
Record: 3-24 (2-14)
Last week: @ USC (L) 97-60, @ #4 UCLA (L) 78-43
Next week: Washington (Feb. 23 – 9:00 p.m.), Washington State (Feb. 25 – 5:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Colorado, Stanford, UT Arlington
Worst losses: UC San Diego, Southern, Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Texas State, Oregon State, @ Stanford
California technically did play basketball last week, losing by a combined 72 points in 2 games. They will also play basketball this week.