Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pac-12 Power Rankings (week 3)

A bit of a shake-up in the rankings after 2 weeks of full Pac-12 play!  Oregon and UCLA remain unbeaten, and Colorado appears to be on the ropes after such a great non-conference season.  I think the loss to Arizona has eroded their confidence, and they still need to find a way to get their mojo back!  Check out the Bill Walton Pac-12 Campus Tour, coming to a Pac-12 school near you!  Walton Tour Blog
(Conference Record, Overall Record, Prior Week Ranking) - *all rankings are as if the season ended today

  1. UCLA (4-0, 14-3, 2)  The Bruins were impressive in their wins over Utah and Colorado on the road last week.  The team seems to be playing much better defense, and the offense wasn't really ever an issue.  The key will be the Saturday game against Oregon.  A win could cement as the favorite for the conference title, at least for now.  A date with Arizona looms on 1/24.
  2. Oregon (3-0, 14-2, 3) The Ducks took Arizona's best shot, and still came out on top.  They managed to overwhelm Arizona after granting them a 11-0 lead last Thursday.  Then they took care of business (barely) against a game ASU squad on Sunday.  If the Ducks can win at UCLA on Saturday, they will be the kings of the Pac-12 (for the time being).  Be careful with that USC game on Thursday! 
  3. Arizona (3-1, 15-1, 1) The Wildcats loss at Oregon last Thursday night gave all the haters a chance to pile on after all of the last minute escapes by Arizona in previous games.  They were undefeated, but honestly not playing as well as early in the season.  I think the win on Saturday over Oregon State showed more of the potential of this squad, and I expect them to play better going forward after the "wake-up" loss.  Big rivalry game on Saturday at the Sun Devils.  Should be a great atmosphere in Tempe.
  4. Arizona State (3-1, 14-3, 5) ASU got the split that they needed on the Oregon road trip to stay relevant in the conference title chase.  They really had Oregon on the ropes, but couldn't quite seal the deal in Eugene.  BIG game this Saturday hosting the hated Wildcats!  If Arizona State could pull out a victory, that would be a huge boost for the program.  They have beaten Arizona before in recent years, but mainly when they were already out of the title chase.  Let's see if they can get it done with some actual expectations rising for this young team.
  5. Washington (4-0, 12-5, 7) A case could be made for Washington to be higher here, but their 2 road wins, while impressive, were not over the other top tier teams in the conference.  I reserve judgment until they play a tougher opponent on the road.  They looked like the hungrier and tougher team last night against Colorado, and they should take care of business against Utah to go to 5-0 in conference play.  Next week's trip to the Oregon Trail will tell us a lot more about this Huskies team.
  6. Colorado (1-4, 11-6, 4) I know, I know.  Colorado hasn't won any of their big conference games (yet).  I think they've had the hardest schedule to date, and I still believe that this team is too talented and will eventually right the ship.  They gave a decent effort against Washington, but combined with some really bad refereeing, they never really had a chance.  I look for them to get their first road win at Washington State on Saturday, and will look for improved play going forward.
  7. USC (2-2, 7-10, 9)  USC fired Kevin O'Neil earlier this week, and it couldn't have come soon enough (imho)!  O'Neil was an abrasive guy by nature, and he lacked the ability to implement an effective offense.  With USC averaging under 4000 fans per home game at the new Galen Center, they needed to go in a new direction.  USC actually looked strong in their excellent road win over Utah.  I think they even scored in the 70s!!!  Let's hope that the team can rally around their interim coach, and continue to play hard in conference play.
  8. California (2-2, 10-6, 6) Cal has been a bit of a mystery to me all year.  They have easily the most explosive back court pairing, yet they continue to lose games against their tougher opponents, even at home.  Playing on Saturday at Stanford will be a tough rivalry game.  If Cal can get a win, I think they might be able to build up some momentum.  
  9. Stanford and Washington State (tie) (1-3, 10-7, 10-11) I can't seem to separate these two teams, so we are going to keep them as a tie.  Both teams are 1-3 in conference, have talent, but are struggling to close out games.  Wazzu got their first conference win against winless Utah, and Stanford's only win was at home against Wazzu.  I'll call it a draw so far...
  10. Oregon State (0-3, 10-6, 8)  Oregon State has been struggling.  They lost their leading big guy/glue guy/rebounder, and it shows.  Tough games on the road against UCLA and USC present themselves this week.
  11. Utah (0-5, 8-9) I don't see Utah getting off the shnide @ Washington on Saturday, but maybe next week when Stanford and Cal come calling.

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