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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Power rankings: Pac-12 Conference basketball

Despite its reputation for both conference and non-conference woes, the Pac-12 pecking order is finally starting to take shape. Here’s a look at each team and where it stands in the conference race:

1. Washington: Since the season started, Washington has been by far the most talented team in the conference. That talent is finally starting to translate into wins. Behind the three-guard attack of Tony Wroten, Terrence Ross and CJ Wilcox, the Huskies have rattled off five straight wins. They’re 11-2 in their last 13 games and are poised to win the conference and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

2. Cal: The Golden Bears have struggled as of late, losing at home to Arizona and falling at Washington State on Jan. 21. But Cal’s combination of talent, experience and coaching makes it the second-best team in the Pac-12. Cal’s trending down, but don’t forget it’s beaten Washington and Oregon on the road, while taking care of both Colorado and UCLA at home. Don’t underestimate the three-guard combination of Allen Crabbe, Jorge Gutierrez and Justin Cobbs.

3. Colorado: Aside from a 17-point road loss to UCLA, Colorado is one of the conference’s hottest teams. It swept the Oregon schools at home and has won five of its last six. The Buffs also have big wins over Arizona and Washington, but they’re not quite in the Washington and Cal tier just yet. It’ll be much clearer how high their ceiling really is after they take on Arizona in McKale Center on Thursday.

4. Arizona: The Wildcats are a home sweep away from shooting up as far as number two in the rankings. Arizona is coming off of a huge road sweep of the Bay Area schools and can catapult above both Colorado and Cal with wins over the Buffs and Utes this weekend.

5. Oregon: After Washington, Cal, Colorado and Arizona, the conference picture becomes murky. The Ducks are at the top of that unclear second tier, but it’s almost by default as their biggest wins came against Arizona, Stanford and UCLA. Oregon’s lost two of its last three and was slaughtered by both Cal and Washington.

6. UCLA: The Bruins have the talent to battle for the conference title, but their inconsistency has kept them in the middle of the pack. UCLA is trending upward, however, having won three of its last four games with the only loss coming at Washington by two points.

7. Oregon State: Jared Cunningham is the conference’s best player, and he has the pieces around him for the Beavers to be successful. But their three best players are sophomores, and that youth can be seen in the Beavers’ inconsistency.

8. Stanford: Stanford’s overall record is impressive at 16-7, but its best non-conference win came against Oklahoma State. The Cardinal is well-coached by Johnny Dawkins but it’s simply not talented enough offensively to hang with the rest of the conference. Stanford is fading quickly, having lost four of its last five games with its only win coming against lowly ASU.

9. Washington State: The Cougars have a fairly impressive resume with wins against Cal, Stanford and Oregon State, but the loss of Faisal Aden for the season combined with a handful of ugly losses — at ASU and at Utah — has them at number nine.

10. ASU: The Sun Devils are awful. They’ve lost five of their last six, and when they lose, it’s not even close. But ASU is at number 10 due to the sole fact that there are two teams that are, believe it not, worse than Herb Sendek’s squad.

11. USC: Statistically, the Trojans are the worst team in the Pac-12. But Utah is so bad that the Utes actually handed USC its first conference win of the season. Plus, USC actually has some legitimate Division I players. Utah, not so much.

12. Utah: See USC.

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