Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 3

Eugene W. Lau/File

No. 1: Cal (15-4, 5-1)

The Harper Kamp offensive renaissance bodes well for a balanced Cal offense. The senior forward scored 14 points in the Bears’ two wins this past week, keeping the offense afloat in Thursday’s hard-fought win over Colorado. Allen Crabbe will need to snap out of his shooting slump if the Bears want to beat Washington in Seattle on Thursday. He missed all five 3-pointers he took on Saturday, which is alright against Utah but won’t cut it against the Huskies.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 2: Stanford (15-3, 5-1)

Two days after a narrow win over Utah, the Cardinal were in another close game. Every time Stanford took a nine-point lead, Colorado quickly cut it to four. But seven minutes into the second half, the Cardinal scored eight straight points. The Buffaloes hit a jumper, and then Stanford scored 13 straight and all of a sudden were up by 27. During that 21-2 run, sophomore forward Anthony Brown had all eight of his points, including two 3-pointers. If the Cardinal continue their hot shooting (52.9 percent from the field on Saturday), they could come back from Washington with two wins.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 3: Washington (11-6, 4-1)

Terrence Ross is perhaps the best NBA prospect in the conference. A lanky, athletic swingman, Ross is a slasher and a streaky shooter. After an efficient 12 points in a win over Seattle on Jan. 10, Ross torched Washington State for 30 points on Sunday. The sophomore hit six treys and also grabbed 14 rebounds. This Thursday, though, he’ll likely be guarded by Jorge Gutierrez.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 4: Oregon (13-5, 4-2)

The Ducks run hot and cold. In their four conference wins, they shot a combined 53.7 percent from the field; in their two losses, they shot 35.2. Oregon has also split its results evenly whether home or away, being blown out by Cal at the forest-printed McArthur Court but upsetting Stanford on the road, 78-67.

One reliable indicator of success is 3-point shooting. The Ducks like to chuck but can’t make buckets consistently; in four of their five losses this season, they shot 30 percent or worse.

— Jack Wang

No. 5: Arizona (12-6, 3-2)

If nothing else, the Wildcats are very, very good at guarding the 3-point line. A game against Arizona means facing a stingy defense that allows 27.1 percent shooting from long range, best in the Pac-12. That stat has been tested recently, as visiting Oregon State and Oregon made 35 and 40 percent of their respective attempts; the Wildcats split the series.

Colorado has forwards that can stretch the floor, but Utah will give Arizona a nice break; the Utes are the Pac-12’s worst 3-point shooting team on the season.

— Jack Wang

No. 6: UCLA (10-7, 3-2)

Credit the Bruins for not completely cratering after the dismissal of talented but troubled forward Reeves Nelson. UCLA won its five remaining nonconference games after his Dec. 9 departure, albeit against a lackluster bunch of teams.Pac-12 play started off rough with a one-point heartbreaker at Stanford and a blowout at Cal, but UCLA has won three straight since. Once the preseason pick to win the conference, the mediocre Bruins aren’t falling apart if expectations lower.

— Jack Wang

No. 7: Colorado (11-6, 3-2)

One road trip and the Buffaloes are suddenly right smack in the middle of the pack. At least Thursday’s loss to Cal was close; Saturday’s second half against Stanford showed a whole lot of separation between the two teams. Colorado returns home this week to face the Arizona schools. Pencil in a win on Thursday, but Saturday’s matchup against Arizona will determine which school stands out in the second tier.— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 8: Oregon State (11-7, 1-5)

Oregon State plays faster than most teams in the West, which makes its lack of 3-point shooting all the more curious. Despite shooting 34.5 percent from downtown in conference play — better than only USC and Utah — the Beavers have jacked up more attempts (119) than anyone except Stanford.

After a surprisingly successful preseason that included a road win at Texas, OSU has struggled mightily against Pac-12 opponents. The Beavers’ lone win came against Cal, a 92-85 win that required an unreal 11-of-18 effort from beyond the arc.

— Jack Wang

No. 9: Arizona State (6-11, 2-3)

Herb Sendek would probably take a split every week. After losing to Oregon on Thursday, the Sun Devils defeated Oregon State, 76-66, on Saturday. And it wasn’t the Trent Lockett show. Arizona State’s do-everything guard only tallied eight points, though he had seven assists and four steals. Instead it was sophomore guard Chanse Creekmur, who exceeded his average of six points a game by scoring 24. Another split this week at Colorado and Utah is very possible, but if Creekmur goes 6-for-7 again from 3-point range, look out.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 10: Washington State (9-8, 1-4)

With three straight losses — including one to give Utah its only Pac-12 win — the pride of the Palouse is starting to look desperate. Wazzu hit a low point against Washington, making seven 3-pointers on its season-high 24 attempts. Forward Brock Motum, listed at 6-foot-10, grabbed a season-low two rebounds, while WSU gave up a career-high 30 points to Husky swingman Terrence Ross.

Going on the road provides some excuse, but the Cougars’ return home this weekend likely won’t help. They’ll host Stanford and Cal, the only two teams in the Pac-12 receiving votes in the AP poll.

— Jack Wang

No. 11: USC (5-13, 0-5)

The Trojans have still yet to win a Pac-12 game. Their latest attempt was a 66-47 defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals, UCLA, who led by 18 at the half on Sunday. Not only could USC not make shots from the field but also the team couldn’t even make its free throws. The Trojans were 9-for-21 from the charity stripe. USC has now lost six games in a row, its worst stretch in eight years. The squad could surpass the seven consecutive losses it suffered in 2003 when it travels up to Oregon this weekend.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 12: Utah (4-13, 1-4)

The Utes are at or near the bottom of every statistical category in the Pac-12 — the most stunning of which is a -15.4 scoring margin, a chasm behind 11th-place USC’s -2.9. Utah’s best player is Josh Watkins, a hefty point guard who holds the reins but isn’t good enough to seize his team up by himself.

First-year coach Larry Krystkowiak does enough to keep his team in close games (Stanford) and even win some (Washington State), but the Utes are deep in the cellar.

— Jack Wang