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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Basketball

Arizona — The Wildcats beat Gonzaga in another thriller in which they trailed by as many as 14. The Gabe York roller coaster started with a failed dunk attempt, but ended with four straight second-half 3-pointers and the game-sealing assist. Whatever you do as an opponent, don’t let Gabe find his zone.

Oregon — The Ducks lost to UNLV on Friday, so I finally had the validation I needed to put Arizona back on top of the Pac. Barring another setback, though, UNLV should be the Ducks’ lone loss heading into their matchup at Utah on Jan. 14.

Utah — The Utes, led by Jakob Poeltl’s 21 points and nine rebounds per game, have returned to the top-25 party. Their stay could be short-lived again, however, as they face Wichita State Saturday with Fred VanVleet returning before heading to Madison Square Garden to face Duke next week.

UCLA — After losing on back-to-back days during Thanksgiving break, the Bruins pulled a massive upset against then No. 1 Kentucky. The Bruins became the first team since Florida in 2014 to defeat the Wildcats during the regular season and will look for an encore Saturday against Gonzaga.

Colorado — With their seventh win of the season Sunday, the Buffs’ basketball team has already eclipsed the football team’s win total the past two seasons combined (six). The Buffaloes’ schedule is relatively weak until Pac-12 play rolls around, so look for them to add to their early win total.

Oregon State — The Beavers face a big test Saturday as they take on No. 2 Kansas. The Jayhawks narrowly defeated Harvard last week, so the Beavers have a chance. But keep in mind, Kansas’ lone loss came to new No. 1 Michigan State.

Washington State — Arizona defeated Gonzaga just three days after Washington State had lost an intense battle to the Bulldogs. The Cougars should win their next three—Idaho, UTEP and Texas State—before they tangle with Oklahoma on Dec. 22.

ASU — The Sun Devils defeated then-No. 18 Texas A&M to pick up an early key resume win for their NIT run. Their reward is a Kentucky squad ticked off from its first non-tournament loss since March of 2014.

California — The trendy pick to win the Pac-12 this year might not even be the best team in its state after UCLA’s big win. The season is still young, so there is still a chance for Cal to make some noise out West, but the Golden Bears need to gather some momentum before heading into conference play.

10 USC — While their crosstown rivals defeated the top-ranked team by 10 points, the Trojans beat UC Santa Barbara by a slightly larger margin at 12. The Trojans can beat up on more subpar opponents before losing to any team that poses a threat, just like their football team.

11 Washington — The Huskies are sitting at 5-2 and face a seemingly easy schedule until the next calendar year. Andrew Andrews is continuing his quiet Player of the Year campaign as he hopes to help the Huskies make some noise in the Pac-12.

12 Stanford — Now that we know the Cardinal will not partake in the College Football Playoff, it is time to get acquainted with their hardwood heroes, or lack thereof. Christian McCaffrey played varsity basketball for four years, so maybe he can contribute minutes at point guard.


Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter.


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