Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 5

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1. Cal (17-5, 7-2)

A messy but convincing win over Stanford kept Cal atop the conference, and the rest of the schedule looks friendly. Although unlikely, a nine-game sweep to end the season is a faint possibility; the only two-game trips left are pointed toward Los Angeles and the mountains, where some of the Pac-12’s weakest teams reside. Barring a catastrophic collapse, the team should return to March Madness for the third time in Mike Montgomery’s four-year tenure.

— Jack Wang

2. Washington (14-7, 7-2)

What do you know? The Huskies are once again in the conference championship race. Their remaining schedule seems relatively favorable. Even though five of the nine are on the road, Washington gets to play Arizona at home. A trip to Oregon could be tricky, but no weekend in the Bay Area — likely the Pac-12 toughest road trip — is a nice break for Lorenzo Romar’s club. Its other weekend away is to Los Angeles, but both teams are as weak as they’ve been in years. Winning eight out of nine is not out of the question, though six or seven is probably more likely.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

3. Oregon (15-6, 6-3)

If the Ducks end up winning the Pac-12 title, I’ll deck myself out in green and yellow Nike for a week. Second-year coach Dana Altman has Oregon on the upswing, but his team doesn’t excel in any facet of the game and is mediocre in most. Stat to watch: The Ducks have the lowest positive per-game scoring margin at +2.5, besting only ASU, USC and Utah.

— Jack Wang

4. Stanford (15-6, 5-4)

Johnny Dawkins has a deep bench and a talented roster, but that doesn’t mean he has to share minutes equally. In Sunday’s 69-59 loss to Cal, only one Cardinal player exceeded 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the Bears’ four best players all played more than 30. Stanford’s leading scorer and best player, forward Josh Owens, played only 29 minutes and took just seven shots. The squad’s two best guards, Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright, combined for 11 attempts. On the flip side, Cal’s top three scorers took 39 shots collectively.

Stanford never seemed to be in rhythm offensively on Sunday. With a few less substitutions, maybe the squad will snap its three-game losing streak.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

5. Oregon State (14-7, 4-5)

Jared Cunningham became the first player to earn two Pac-12 Player of the Week Honors when he erupted for 24 second-half points against Oregon. The junior doesn’t have the most versatile offensive repertoire, but his lithe, 6-foot-4 frame is all speed and explosion. His performance helped key a rare moment: Oregon State shot 42.1 percent in its 76-71 comeback road win. The Beavers had shot 63.3, 58.0 and 50.8 percent in their three Pac-12 wins.

— Jack Wang

6. UCLA (12-9, 5-4)

Party time! UCLA blew out Colorado — a team utterly incapable of playing on the road — and sold a season-high 9,253 tickets in the process. Flirting with 60-percent shooting all weekend, the team (which averages 47 percent on the season) easily knocked out the Buffs and the Utes. The Bruins sure have come a long way since starting the season 1-4, a disaster that led to only 34 students showing up for their second win. Too bad they’re still 1-4 on the road in conference play and will fly up to play first-place Washington on Thursday.

— Jack Wang

7. Arizona (14-8, 5-4)

All beating hearts feel for junior Kevin Parrom, who in the past five months has suffered the loss of his mother to breast cancer, a shooting, and now a season-ending broken foot. The invaluable sixth man was starting to find his groove for the Wildcats, playing 20-plus minutes in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Then, after playing 10 minutes in Saturday’s eventual 69-67 loss to Washington, Parrom sat with what was thought to be “nerve pain.” Now, Arizona must play a three-guard lineup through its remaining nine games — including five on the road.

— Jack Wang

8. Colorado (14-7, 6-3)

The Buffaloes have a bad case of the road woes. Colorado is 5-0 at home in the Pac-12 but 1-3 on the road, and that lone away win was over USC, so it really shouldn’t even count. The Buffs have four more home games, but three are against squads in the top half of the conference, including first-place Cal. Road trips to Arizona and Oregon may not yield more than one win, but at the very least, Colorado should beat Utah in Salt Lake City.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

9. Arizona State (7-14, 3-6)

Mike Montgomery speaks highly of the Sun Devils despite their subpar record. He said they are playing together and having fun after getting rid of distractions. One big distraction was Kelea King, who was dismissed from the team a few weeks back stemming from problems with his attitude. The team has played better without one of its former leading scorers.

Arizona State got a nice home win over Washington State on Saturday. Do-it-all guard Trent Lockett, who has been out with a sprained ankle, might be back this week when the Devils come up to the Bay Area.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

10. Washington State (11-10, 3-6)

The Cougars win in bunches. A six-game nonconference winning streak snapped a three-game losing streak in November. In January, Washington State lost three straight, then swept the Bay Area schools before losing two in the desert last weekend. The Cougars are back home this weekend; don’t be surprised if you see them sweep the Los Angeles schools.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

11. USC (6-16, 1-8)

The only way USC’s season could end on a high note would be if it ended today. The Trojans won their first conference game of the season on Saturday against Utah. The Trojans might not win another game this season … who am I kidding, they’re not winning again this year. A 17-point victory over the Utes calls for celebration.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

12. Utah (5-16, 2-7)

They’ve done it. Losing a Los Angeles road trip by a combined 44-point margin, the Utes have cemented their place as the worst major conference team in the country. They rank near in the bottom of the Pac-12 in nearly every category, and in the 200s or 300s nationally. That Utah won even two league games this season is a borderline miracle.

— Jack Wang