Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 2

No. 1: Cal (13-4, 3-1)

When the Bears struggled with frontline depth, Allen Crabbe started getting more minutes.

The 6-foot-6 swingman is averaging just over 37 minutes against conference opponents, and has been making the most of his time on the court. His 16.5 points per game ranks third in the Pac-12, and his 53.5 percent on 3-pointers trails only Oregon State’s Ahmad Starks. Along with Justin Cobbs, he provides Cal — ranked first in assist-to-turnover ratio — with the conference’s most efficient guard combo.

If the sophomore ends up in the NBA, his jump shot will be his bread and butter. Crabbe has shot 54.3 percent from the field in Pac-12 play, including 14-of-25 on 3-pointers. In Cal’s latest outing, a 77-60 win at Oregon, he made six of his eight shots from beyond the arc. He also snagged a career-high 12 rebounds.

Crabbe still doesn’t attack the basket as much as a player of his talent should, and at the college level, it is his most glaring offensive weakness. He didn’t shoot a free throw until his fifth game of the season, and his 30 attempts from the line are the lowest among the team’s regular starters.

— Jack Wang

No. 2: Stanford (13-3, 3-1)

The Cardinal played a game and a half on Saturday – literally. They outlasted Oregon State in every sense of the word, defeating the Beavers, 103-101, in four overtimes. Three of Stanford’s starters fouled out. Freshman guard Chasson Randle played 44 minutes — off the bench — and scored a game-high 24 points, including seven in the fourth overtime. Power forward Josh Owens had 16 and 11, but his bucket at the end of regulation was discounted, as the refs ruled he didn’t get it off in time. So the teams played on and on and on.

The squad lost its Thursday game at Oregon but a gutsy, exhausting performance in Corvallis gave the young team some extra confidence, not to mention a split on the road. The Cardinal should be sure not to look past Utah to Colorado, though the matchup with the Buffaloes on Saturday could be another classic. Don’t expect another four overtimes though.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 3: Colorado (11-4, 3-0)

I’m not convinced. Yes, the Buffaloes are the only undefeated Pac-12 squad, but they are also the only one that hasn’t hit the road yet in conference play. A sweep of the Washington schools this past weekend was nice, but the Cougars are not the powerhouse they were a few years back and the Huskies always play poorly on the road.

In Thursday’s 87-69 win over Washington, Colorado shot a lights out 57.1 percent from 3-point range, led by guard Carlon Brown’s three treys. The Huskies made just 4-of-20 from behind the arc.

Keep up that pace this weekend in the Bay Area, surely the most difficult Pac-12 road trip this season. Sweep Cal and Stanford, and the Buffaloes will be the early conference title favorite.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 4: Washington (10-6, 3-1)

That Washington can still contend for the Pac-12 title is either a testament to the conference’s parity or mediocrity.

The Huskies have the conference’s most porous defense and a pedestrian 1.00 assist-to-turnover ratio. The latter statistic most recently exemplified by Tony Wroten’s six assists and six turnovers against Seattle, a game in which the Dawgs coughed up 11 second-half turnovers. The talented freshman is a microcosm of the team, a talented but undisciplined bunch that hasn’t meshed after losing three starters from last year’s squad.

Washington is allowing more points than any conference rival. Its ability to put points — second behind Oregon State — provides a salve, but its 43.9 assist percentage in Pac-12 play is worrisome. Only USC is worse at moving the ball.

— Jack Wang

No. 5: Arizona (11-5, 2-1)

Not much has changed for Arizona in the past week. It still lacks a true playmaker and still can’t run a championship-caliber offense. It can’t muster over a point per possession and can barely shoot over 40 percent from the field against Pac-12 rivals.

Freshman point guard Josiah Turner returned to the starting lineup after a roller-coaster stretch that included benching and suspension. He has 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in his last 54 minutes of court time. There is still little sign that the five-star recruit will recover his bust of a debut season.

Of some interest is the slight emergence of forward Jesse Perry. The senior forward is riding a recent hot streak, inching past Solomon Hill as his team’s leading scorer (12.4). Perry has converted at least 66 percent of his field goal attempts in three of his past four games. The exception was Arizona’s 65-58 loss to UCLA, when he went 5-of-13.

— Jack Wang

No. 6: UCLA (9-7, 2-2)

The Bruins are still a long way from the Pac-12 title they were picked to win, but at least they’re starting to win games. After opening conference play with losses at Stanford and Cal, UCLA evened its record with double-digit wins over Arizona and Arizona State.

Lesser competition was a factor, but so too was the performances of the Wear twins. Little-used small forwards in North Carolina, Travis and David are finding a groove after transferring to the Bruins. The redshirt sophomores rarely top 30 minutes per game, but have accounted for a solid chunk of their team’s recent scores.

Travis dropped a career-high 20 points against Arizona on 7-of-9 shooting, while David followed with 14 in a 6-of-7 effort. Coach Ben Howland has implored both to continue attacking the basket; on a team that shoots 66.8 percent from the line, the brothers have combined to make 20-of-22 free throws in their past three games.

— Jack Wang

No. 7: Oregon State (11-5, 1-3)

Poor Jared Cunningham. The Beavers’ star guard left everything on the court in Saturday’s instant classic against Stanford. Cunningham played 54 minutes in the four-overtime loss — tallying 19 points, six assists, six board and four steals — but he just ran out of gas. Cunningham leads the conference in scoring and steals; surprisingly, he’s only fourth in minutes played.

Despite the loss, Oregon State still had a successful weekend, upsetting Cal on Thursday. A trip this week to the desert should garner at least one win. The Beavers can stake a claim for conference crown with a win in Tucson.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 8: Oregon (11-5, 2-2)

The Ducks’ two conference weekends have followed the same formula. They catch fire on Thursday for double-digit wins, and then on Saturday the lid on the basket closes and they lose by double-digits. Oregon shot a whopping 69.4 percent from the field its win over Washington State on Dec. 29. Two days later, that percentage was cut in half. Same story the following week. This past Thursday, the Ducks made close to half of its threes to shock a surging Stanford squad; Saturday, they couldn’t buy a basket against Cal.

The bipolar issues probably will continue this week, seeing as Oregon plays a mediocre Arizona State team on Thursday and a talented, hungry Arizona club on Saturday.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 9: Utah (4-11, 1-2)

So it turns out Utah isn’t as bad as we thought. Or perhaps Washington State is just worse. Regardless, the Utes snagged their first Pac-12 win by edging out the Cougars, 62-60, in overtime on Thursday. Senior guard Josh Watkins scored 20 points. and hit the game-winning jumper. The senior guard, who grabbed seven boards and dished out six assists, ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring and second in assists.

Two days later, Utah game Washington a run for its money, losing by just four points. The homestand was about as positive as anyone could expect after the Utes got slaughtered by Colorado to open conference season. Utah leaves the friendly confines of the Jon M. Huntsman Center this week to travel to Northern California, where the Utes will almost certainly lose two games.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 10: Washington State (9-7, 1-3)

It’s hard to make sense of Washington State.

Two nights after being demolished by Oregon, the Cougars beat Oregon State by five and led almost the entire game. Five days later, they lost 62-60 at Utah, whom many had presumed was the Pac-12’s worst team.

Forward Brock Motum is the conference’s fifth-leading scorer (15.3), but WSU has only one other player averaging double digits. In Pac-12 play, the Cougars have allowed more points per possession (1.13) than any team but Oregon State. They rebound unspectacularly and block few shots.

Washington State moves the ball well, but for now is a middling offensive team that doesn’t do enough in other areas to scratch out wins.

— Jack Wang

No. 11: Arizona State (5-10, 1-2)

The Sun Devils had the misfortune of opening Pac-12 play with three straight road games, so credit them with stifling USC in a nine-point victory. Sandwiched by 17-point losses to Arizona and UCLA, ASU will have trouble when the Trojans aren’t on the same court.

Arizona State dismissed leading scorer Keala King last Sunday after 13 games, leaving its offense in flux. The sophomore guard had been suspended earlier with two other players, but his absence became permanent after he neglected to participate in conditioning work.

In the Sun Devils’ past three games, three different players have scored career highs, but none have shown enough consistency to stabilize the offense. Missing the King’s 13.7 points per game average, ASU may be best served by true freshman Jonathan Gilling. The Danish forward scored a career-high 17 points against the Bruins and has made 7-of-11 from 3-point range since King left the roster.

— Jack Wang

No. 12: USC (5-12, 0-4)

The Trojans are last in the Pac-12 in nearly every single offensive category. Guard Maurice Jones shoots 34.5 percent from the field, yet has taken almost 100 more shots than anyone else on the squad. That’s because the 5-foot-7 sophomore is the only offensive threat on the team, the only player who can get his own shot off. What do you expect from a team who second-leading returning scorer from last season, sophomore forward Garrett Jackson, still averages under four points a game?

USC is a solid defensive club but has trouble putting the ball in the hoop. The 53 points the Trojans scored in their nine-point loss to Arizona State Thursday was the most they’ve scored in a conference game this season; in fact, it was the only time in four games they topped 50. Not surprisingly, all four games were losses. Their Sunday rivalry matchup will probably be likewise one-sided.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

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