From Pullman — The first third of the Pac-12 basketball season is over and the conference is starting to take shape. The Pac-12 has four teams that comprise the first tier, with a noticeable drop off in talent among the remaining squads. Some teams have been bitten by injuries, while others have had unexpected stars emerge. Arizona is clearly at the top of the conference, USC is clearly at the bottom and it's becoming apparent which teams will contend for spots 2-4 in the conference, and which won't.
Our Power Rankings took a look at where the Pac-12 stands today, after the jump.
- No. 1 Arizona (18-0, 5-0; last week: No. 1) — I can't imagine this will be a very controversial choice for No. 1, as the Wildcats have pole position not just in the Pac-12, but in the country. Outside shooting is Arizona's only achilles heal, and so far no team's arrow has been able to pierce it.
- California (14-4, 5-0; last week: No. 5) — With another good week the Golden Bears will be ranked, heck, they should be ranked already. Justin Cobbs makes the engine run but Cal has plenty of talented players to support him.
- UCLA (14-4, 3-2; last week: No. 3) — Despite a road loss to Utah the Bruins still appear to be in good shape. The Utes have an imposing crowd and enough talent to give most teams trouble, and the Bruins have played well recently. UCLA's talent alone puts it among the conference's best, and no other teams have played well enough to surpass Steve Alford's club.
- Stanford (12-5, 3-2; last week: No. 8) — A home sweep of the Washington schools is just what the doctor ordered for the Cardinal, which started off conference play with losses to Cal and Oregon State. Neither of those losses look so bad now, and if Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell can continue to play like they did against the Huskies, then Stanford might be able to make a serious run.
- Washington (11-8, 3-3; Last week: No. 6) —Despite getting swept by the Bay Area schools on the road, the Huskies have shown enough since the start of conference play to be the leader of the Pac-12's second tier. While the UW won't make the tournament, it is setting itself up for an NIT bid by playing well at home and winning the occasional road game (ASU).
- Utah (14-4, 3-3; last week: No. 9) — The Utes are a different team at home, evidenced by their sweep of the LA schools. The problem with Utah is that due to an easy out of conference schedule, it's tough to know what the make of the Utes. They'll have a chance to prove they belong with the dreaded Arizona trip coming up.
- Colorado (15-4, 4-2; last week: No. 2) — Don't let the record fool you, Colorado is a different team without Spencer Dinwiddie. The Buffaloes' precipitous drop comes after consecutive losses in which Dinwiddie's absence clearly affected the team's ability to generate offense. With a game at Arizona up next, it could be tough for Colorado to recover.
- Oregon State (10-7, 2-3; last week: No. 10) — Oregon State has been a different team over its last three games, taking Cal to its limits while beating Stanford and Oregon. Craig Robinson's squad is playing for its coach's job, and that can be a powerful motivator.
- Arizona State (13-5, 2-3; last week: No. 7) — Well, these guys could certainly be playing better. The Sun Devils have a stud point guard in Jahii Carson, solid scorers in Jermaine Marshall and Shaq McKissic and a good post in Jordan Bachynski. What ASU doesn't have is wins, losing big against UW, UCLA and Arizona.
- Oregon (13-4, 1-4; last week: No. 4) — After going undefeated in non conference play, the Ducks have just an overtime win at home against Utah to their name since Pac-12 play began. Coach Dana Altman's latest band of transfers isn't getting it done, and the Ducks have fallen, hard.
- Washington State (8-10, 1-5; last week: No. 12) — The Cougars put together two solid halves in the Bay Area, but in different games. If WSU can start playing well in the second half the Cougars could start to climb this list.
- USC (9-9, 0-5; last week: No. 11) — This one wasn't hard. The only team without a conference win is the worst team in the conference.