From Pullman — Well, it looks like it's going to be one of those years. The Pac-12 is much improved but that doesn't mean that there isn't league-wide parity, or that any team can't beat any other team on any given night. We found that out last night when WSU nearly knocked off Colorado, which beat Oregon, who is really good.
But we'll try and make some sense of it all in our power rankings after the jump.
- No. 1 Arizona (15-0; last week No.1) — The Wildcats are one of the few unbeaten teams left in the country and with good reason. Brandon Ashley and Nick Johnson are having breakout seasons, and T.J. McConnell has proven to be a big upgrade at point guard.
- No. 15 Colorado (14-2; last week No. 3) — The Buffaloes had a scare last night against Washington State, but they were able to regroup and come away with a win. That's not easy to do on the road and Colorado proved it could withstand a hot-shooting team on a night its shooters had gone cold.
- UCLA (12-2; last week No. 5) — With wins over Alabama and USC, the Bruins appear to be playing their best basketball just as conference play begins.
- No. 17 Oregon (13-1; last week No. 3) — The Ducks weren't able to beat Colorado in Boulder, but I'm guessing not many teams will be able to this year.
- Cal (10-4, last week No. 7) — The Golden Bears had a big road win over rival Stanford. Cal showed that it is still dangerous without Jabari Bird or Ricky Kreklow, but the Bears may not be OK without them in the long term.
- Washington (10-6, last week No. 10) — The Huskies didn't do much until conference play started but they've been solid the last two weeks. Washington is an emerging team that beat ASU in Tempe and gave the Wildcats a scare. Then, they turned around and beat Utah at home.
- Arizona State (12-4, last week No. 4) — The Sun Devils were able to put WSU away thanks to some hot second-half shooting from Jermaine Marshall, but couldn't get anything going against the Huskies. ASU has talented players in its starting five, but may not have the depth to compete with the league's top teams.
- Stanford (9-4, last week No. 6) — The Cardinal couldn't conquer a depleted Cal team, and have lost two of their last three. The Cardinal has one of the best front courts in the conference and can climb back up this list with a sweep of the Oregon schools.
- Utah (12-3, last week NR) — The Utes have started to play real teams and the results have been good thus far. After taking Oregon to overtime, Utah beat Oregon State and lost a close one to the Huskies in Seattle. Larry Krystkowiak's squad isn't there yet but is trending in the right direction.
- Oregon State (8-6, last week 9) The Beavers put up a fight last weekend and made Utah and Colorado earn their victories. Oregon State has some talent, but is it enough to compete in this conference?
- USC (9-5, last week 8) Andy Enfield made headlines with his boastful talk about the USC-UCLA basketball rivalry. How'd that turn out?
- Washington State (7-8, last week 11) — WSU is the only Pac-12 team with a losing record. While a competitive effort against Colorado to force overtime gives the Cougars hope for the rest of these season, it can't completely erase the dreariness of the Arizona swing in which the Cougars scored 25 and 47 points in two losses.