Pac-12 Power Rankings: Arizona still on top, Cal tumbles after inconsistent results

Michael Tao/Senior Staff

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Editor’s note: The Daily Cal will be publishing Pac-12 Power Rankings every week, alternating between men’s and women’s basketball. Power rankings are determined by the Daily Cal’s basketball writers and do not necessarily reflect the current Pac-12 standings.

1. Arizona (23-1, 10-1 Pac-12) (Previous: 1st)

Nobody is sure what will happen to the Wildcats with the loss of starting forward Brandon Ashley to a season-ending foot injury. They suffered their first loss after he went down two minutes into a road game against Cal and struggled to top Oregon in their next game. Still, the Arizona defense remains ridiculously stifling, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should be an adequate enough replacement to keep the Wildcats in the running for a one-seed.

— Michael Rosen

2. UCLA (18-5, 7-3) (3rd)

The Bruins must have been getting jealous of their Pac-12 contemporaries inexplicably dropping games to bottom-dwellers, so they joined the party with a loss to Oregon State on Feb. 2. Other than that minor slip-up, UCLA has been rolling right along, winning four of its last five, including wins over Stanford and California. Barring a catastrophe, UCLA appears primed to be the second-highest Pac-12 seed at March Madness.

— Michael Rosen

3. Stanford (15-7, 6-4) (4th)

Stanford has won six of its last eight, with the only two losses to Arizona and UCLA. With a lineup of almost entirely upperclassmen, this is one of the most complete teams in the Pac-12, and the Cardinal are coming together at just the right time. Plus, four of Stanford’s five starters average more than 11 points per game.

— Riley McAtee

4. Arizona State (18-6, 7-4) (7th)

The Sun Devils seem to finally be realizing their potential. Jermaine Marshall, Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski are all peaking at the right time, and their already stellar defense remains stingy as ever. A win over rival Arizona on Friday night would essentially cement their place at the NCAA Tournament.

— Michael Rosen

5. Cal (15-8, 6-4) (2nd)

The Bears are easily the most inconsistent team in the Pac-12. Cal has proven it has the ability to beat anyone it plays at its best, but the team has much to prove in order to make the NCAA tournament. With a road trip to Washington looming, Cal is entering a critical stretch if it wants to show that it doesn’t always play down to low levels of competition.

— Riley McAtee

6. Colorado (18-6, 7-4) (5th)

The Buffaloes are hanging in the race without Spencer Dinwiddie. Now, Askia Booker is leading the way for Colorado with at least 18 points in his last three games — all wins. Unfortunately for the Buffs, they have an impending duel with UCLA on the horizon that will likely end their winning streak. Right now, Colorado is on the edge of tournament contention.

— Riley McAtee

7. Utah (16-7, 5-6) (6th)

A weird fact about the Utes: They’re currently 5-1 at home in the conference and 0-5 on the road. Everyone knows Utah is great at its home court, but this is just taking it to a ridiculous extreme. Its next game is at USC, giving the Utes their best shot of the season to throw the road monkey off of their back.

— Michael Rosen

8. Oregon State (13-10, 5-6) (9th)

The Beavers are the most efficient shooting team in the Pac-12, but they turn the ball over so much that they don’t always get a chance to take shots and, therefore, score points. Also not helping is Oregon State’s inept defense; the Beavers rank last in the conference at generating turnovers. It’s hard to win when you give away that many possessions on both sides of the ball.

— Riley McAtee

9. Washington (13-11, 5-6) (8th)

The Huskies were a surprising 5-3 halfway through conference play, prompting outsiders to declare the squad as a dark-horse NCAA tournament contender. Since then, Washington has fallen straight on its face, dropping three straight games to give them a sub-.500 conference record. The going isn’t getting any easier; the Huskies take on Stanford and Cal in their next two meetings.

— Michael Rosen

10. Oregon (15-8, 3-8) (10th)

I’m still at a loss to explain what happened to the Ducks. They started out undefeated in nonconference play and now have just three wins in the Pac-12 against Utah, Washington State and USC — not exactly an impressive resume. Without any major injuries to speak of, it’s hard to pinpoint the reason for the Ducks’ decline. Regardless, Oregon is easily the most disappointing team in the conference.

— Riley McAtee

11. Washington State (9-14, 2-9) (11th)

In this edition of “Why Washington State is such a boring team,” we bring you its adjusted tempo ranking. The Cougars rank 343rd in the country in time per possession. That’s slower than Wisconsin, which pretty much prides itself on making basketball less entertaining than a piano recital. WSU is unwatchable, so I am extremely excited to write the WSU-Cal recap on Wednesday night.

— Michael Rosen

12. USC (10-13, 1-9) (12th)

The only thing that makes USC last instead of Washington State is the fact that the Trojans have just one Pac-12 win and the Cougars have two. Other than that, there may actually be a case to be made that USC is better than the Cougars. But I won’t even bother with the details of that argument, as there is no way either of these two squads moves higher than second-to-last. They are both terrible on offense and defense.

— Riley McAtee

 

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