Joe Jackson gives his Pac-12 basketball power rankings for week 17 of the season.
Matchup of the week: Arizona vs UCLA
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Arizona State vs USC
All times listed are EST.
1) UCLA Bruins
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 25-4 (16-2)
Last week: @ Utah (W) 78-71, @ Colorado (W) 60-56
Next week: Arizona State (Mar. 2 – 9:00 p.m.), Arizona (Mar. 4 – 10:00 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Maryland, Kentucky, @ Arizona State, USC, Utah
Worst losses: N/A
UCLA clinched the Pac-12 outright title this past week with road wins over Utah and Colorado. Now all they have to play for is a chance at a number 1 seed in the tourney. A sweep of the Arizona teams could do just that for them.
2) Arizona Wildcats
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 24-5 (13-5)
Last Week: Arizona State (L) 89-88
Next Week: @ USC (Mar. 2 – 11:00 p.m.), @ UCLA (Mar. 4 – 10:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: UCLA, Tennessee, San Diego State, Indiana, Creighton, @ Arizona State, USC
Worst Losses: Washington State, @ Oregon, Arizona State, @ Stanford
Arizona dropped yet another game, a home loss to their in state rival. It was a tight contest, but they did not quite have the defense needed, and it cost them a chance at the Pac-12 title this week. They have one of the best offenses in the country, but will need the defense to step up in order to succeed in March.
3) USC Trojans
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)
Record: 21-8 (13-5)
Last week: @ Colorado (W) 84-65, @ Utah (W) 62-49
Next week: Arizona (Mar. 2 – 11:00 p.m.), Arizona State (Mar. 4 – 11:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: UCLA, Auburn, @ Arizona State, Utah
Worst Losses: Florida Gulf Coast, @ Washington State
Just when it seemed like USC might not make the tourney, they rattle off two road wins in an important spot. They are now an 11 seed per Bracket Matrix, with two very good opportunities to get another quality win this week. Getting at least one win will boost their chances of getting in a lot.
4) Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)
Record: 20-9 (11-7)
Last Week: @ Arizona (W) 89-88
Next Week: @ UCLA (Mar. 2 – 9:00 p.m.), @ USC (Mar. 4 – 11:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: @ Arizona, 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. A win at Arizona put them right back on the bubble. They need to get at least one road win this week. Sweeping would be huge for their chances of making the postseason.
5) Utah Utes
Last week’s ranking: 6 (+1)
Record: 17-13 (10-9)
Last Week: UCLA (L) 78-71, USC (L) 62-49
Next Week: @ Colorado (Mar. 4 – 5:30 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, Washington State, Washington
Worst Losses: Sam Houston State, Stanford
Utah is now on a 4 game losing streak, but the 4 losses have come to the 4 best teams in the conference. Utah was knocking on the door of making the postseason about a month ago before dropping a couple in a row. They are pretty clearly a tier below the top 4 teams.
6) Oregon Ducks
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-2)
Record: 16-13 (10-8)
Last Week: @ Oregon State (W) 69-67
Next Week: California (Mar. 2 – 11:00 p.m.), Stanford (Mar. 4 – 4:00 p.m.)
Best Wins: Arizona, @ Arizona State Nevada, Utah (x2)
Worst Losses: UC Irvine, Utah Valley, @ Stanford
Oregon has had a disappointing season, especially given their preseason expectations. Now they will have the easiest two game stretch in the conference to finish off their season and try and get ready to make a run in the Pac-12 tourney.
7) Washington State Cougars
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 15-15 (10-9)
Last week: @ Stanford (W) 67-63, @ California (W) 63-57
Next week: @ Washington (Mar. 2 – 11:00 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Arizona, USC, Arizona State
Worst Losses: Prairie View A&M, @ Hawaii, @ Colorado
Washington State has put together a nice 5 game winning streak to head into their final game of the season against in state rival. They have been feisty all year, and honestly if they got a couple different bounces, the outlook on this team would be much more positive. None the less, they have been able to get back to .500 on the season and guarantee at least a .500 season in Pac-12 play.
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 dropped a tough one at Stanford. I thought this team could make a legit run to being top 5 in the Pac-12 at the beginning of the season, but it never quite panned out for the Huskies. Now they have one game left against Washington State before looking to the Pac-12 tourney.
9) Colorado Buffaloes
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)
Record: 15-15 (7-12)
Last Week: USC (L) 84-65, UCLA (L) 60-56
Next Week: Utah (Mar. 4 – 5:30 p.m.)
Best Wins: Tennessee, Texas A&M, Oregon
Worst Losses: @ Grambling State, @ California, UMass, Washington, @ Oregon State
Colorado had a tough stretch of games, but they kept it very competitive against UCLA. They had a real chance to win at the end. A win against Utah this week could give them some momentum this week, but the health of Tristan da Silva will be something to monitor as he tweaked his ankle against UCLA.
10) Stanford Cardinal
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)
Record: 12-17 (6-12)
Last week: Washington State (L) 67-63, @ Washington (W) 81-69
Next week: @ Oregon State (Mar. 2 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Oregon (Mar. 4 – 4:00 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. I thought they were a legit tourney team coming into the season and I was very very wrong. You live and you learn.
11) Oregon State Beavers
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)
Record: 10-19 (4-14)
Last week: Oregon (L) 69-67
Next week: Stanford (Mar. 2 – 9:00 p.m.), California (Mar. 4 – 11:00 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: 3-26 (2-16)
Last week: Washington (L) 65-56, Washington State (L) 63-57
Next week: @ Oregon (Mar. 2 – 11:00 p.m.), @ Oregon State (Mar. 4 – 8:00 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. Just remember they won 3 out of 4 games at one point this season.