Pac-12 men’s hoops power rankings: Oregon plummets after 2-loss week

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1. No. 20 Arizona State (7-0) — Previous rank: 3
Opponents: Nebraska Omaha (W, 89-71) & Texas Southern (W, 83-71)

While most of the Pac-12 has aggressively underachieved, Arizona State has been firing on all cylinders. The scary thing is that this team isn’t even fully healthy: Remy Martin isn’t at 100 percent, and Rob Edwards has missed all but one game this season. There should be some caution about calling the Sun Devils the best team in the Pac-12, but as of right now, they’re sure as hell looking the part. Zylan Cheatham nearly recorded back-to-back triple-doubles and the Dort Express rolls on!

2. UCLA (6-2) — Previous rank: 2
Opponents: Hawaii (W, 80-61), Loyola Marymount (W, 82-58)

After getting curb-stomped by Michigan State and North Carolina last week, UCLA bounced back with a pair of wins against Hawaii and Loyola Marymount. The Bruins were heavily favored in both contests, and they handled their business. The team will have an entire week to prepare for Notre Dame at home, and if head coach Steve Alford wants to cool off that hot seat, this is a game UCLA needs to win.

3. Washington (6-2) — Previous rank: 4
Opponents: Eastern Washington (W, 83-59), UC Santa Barbara (W, 67-63)

Similarly to UCLA, Washington won games it was expected to win this week, defeating Eastern Washington and UC Santa Barbara. And similarly to UCLA, Washington will have a tough matchup this week when it plays No. 1 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are overwhelming favorites, but the Huskies will have the opportunity to throw their patented zone defense at the top team in the country.

4. Arizona (6-2) — Previous rank: 5
Opponents: Georgia Southern (W, 100-70), Connecticut (W, 76-72)

Even without a true superstar, Arizona has continued to look impressive in nonconference play, blowing out Georgia Southern and squeaking out a tough road win against Connecticut. The lack of a consistent go-to scorer will haunt the Wildcats, but Brandon Randolph may be the one to to take on that role.

5. Oregon (4-3) — Previous rank: 1
Opponents: Texas Southern (L, 89-84), Houston (L, 65-61)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Oregon came into Monday as a 25-point favorite to beat Texas Southern. Surely, that should have been an easy win. (Narrator: Oregon did not win.) Several nights later, Oregon lost its first true road game against Houston by 4 points. Bol Bol looked great despite the losses, putting up a career-high 32 points Monday. Everyone else… not so much. The Ducks entered last week ranked No. 18 in the country but plummeted right out of the top 25 after those two subpar performances.

6. Colorado (5-1) — Previous rank: 7
Opponents: Portland (W, 93-69), Colorado State (W, 86-80)

Colorado has righted the ship since its loss to San Diego by rattling off three straight wins. McKinley Wright IV broke out of his mini-slump and averaged 20 points, seven assists and seven rebounds this past week, and Lucas Siewert continues to be excellent as a secondary option. Should the Buffaloes continue to fire on all cylinders, another pair of wins may be in store next week.

7. USC (5-3) — Previous rank: 6
Opponents: Long Beach State (W, 75-65), Nevada (L, 73-61)

Nearly every rotation player on USC’s team is taking on a bigger role compared to last season, and the learning curve has been rather steep. The Trojans haven’t been all that impressive to begin the season, but with time, they can still finish in the top half of the Pac-12, especially if Bennie Boatwright is fully healthy.

8. Stanford (4-4) — Previous rank: 8
Opponents: Portland State (W, 79-67), No. 2 Kansas (L, 90-84 OT)

Stanford is tied with Cal for the most losses in the Pac-12, but the Cardinal have gone through an absolute gauntlet in the early going, facing the likes of North Carolina, Wisconsin and Florida. Despite its rather suspect offense heading into the game, Stanford gave No. 2 Kansas a run for its money, forcing overtime at Allen Fieldhouse in an eventual 90-84 loss. The Cardinal scored 79 and 84 points in their two games this past week, both well above their season average. New month, new Stanford?

9. Oregon State (6-1) — Previous rank: 9
Opponents: Long Beach State (W, 75-72), Missouri State (W, 101-77)

Oregon State continues to impress, setting the program record for 3-pointers made in a game against Missouri State, but the Beavers’ relatively weak competition keeps this team in the No. 9 spot. Oregon State’s big three of Stephen Thompson Jr., Ethan Thompson and Tres Tinkle came to play against Missouri State, combining for 71 points and hitting 28 of their 40 shot attempts. Oregon State only has two games in the next two weeks, and it will be worth monitoring how the program manages fatigue as the schedule intensifies.

10. Utah (4-3) — Previous rank: 10
Opponent: Tulsa (W, 69-64)

Utah had one of its better showings on defense this season, holding Tulsa to 36.2 percent shooting from the field in a 69-64 win. The offense still leaves a lot to be desired, but Both Gach had an inspired night, scoring a career-high 15 points and knocking down three 3-pointers.

11. Washington State (4-2) — Previous rank: 11
Opponents: Cal State Northridge (W, 103-94), New Mexico State (L, 69-63)

On one hand, Washington State has fewer losses than Oregon, USC, Stanford, Utah and Cal. On the other hand, it has the weakest strength of schedule in the conference by a hefty margin, and relying on all those JuCo players will come back to bite the Cougars. C.J. Elleby had a fantastic week, recording a pair of double-doubles and hitting four 3-pointers against Cal State Northridge.

12. Cal (2-4) — Previous rank: 12
Opponents: Santa Clara (W, 78-66), Saint Mary’s (L, 84-71)

That game against Santa Clara went from barn burner to thriller real quick, didn’t it? Cal’s lead was as high as 16 points, but the team allowed Santa Clara to storm all the way back and come within 1 point before turning on the afterburners and putting the game on ice. A win is a win, but these Bears know how to make them dramatic as hell. On Saturday, Saint Mary’s hit 13 3-pointers, the most treys Cal has allowed an opponent to hit this season.

Justice delos Santos covers men’s basketball. Contact Justice delos Santos at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @justdelossantos.