The opening weekend of the Pac-12 men’s basketball schedule provided few surprising results.
But Oregon State’s Civil War win, the program’s first road victory to open conference play in 26 years, and Utah’s upset at Arizona State were two prominent ones.
Separation in the standings could come early if teams’ results are duplicated, but there seems to be too much parity to expect much of that.
Here are my power rankings for Week 2.
1. Arizona 11-4, 2-0 Pac-12 (Last week: 2)
Last week: 64-56 home win vs. Colorado; 84-81 overtime home win vs. Utah
This week: At Stanford, Wednesday; at California, Saturday.
Even with so much turmoil and roster turnover, Arizona remains one of the conference’s top teams. But these aren’t the dominant Wildcats of the past, and there will be more hurdles to be overcome this season.
2. Washington 10-4, 1-0 (3)
Last week: 85-67 home win vs. Washington State
This week: At Utah, Thursday; at Colorado, Saturday
It took a while for the Huskies to put away the Cougars minus Robert Franks (hip). Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell, whose 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists led Washington, is proving to be one of the Pac-12’s best players.
3. Utah 7-7, 1-1 (10)
Last week: 96-86 win at Arizona State; 84-81 loss at Arizona
This week: Home vs. Washington, Thursday; home vs. Washington State, Saturday
The Utes’ 6-6 nonconference record had many expecting a lower-half finish. Senior guard Sedrick Barefield, who averaged 25 points and five assists over the weekend, isn’t ready to let that happen.
4. Arizona State 10-4, 1-1 (1)
Last week: 96-86 home loss to Utah; 83-61 home win vs. Colorado
This week: At California, Wednesday; at Stanford, Saturday
It’s uncertain if this year will be similar to last, when the Sun Devils went 12-0 in nonconference play and then 8-10 in the Pac-12. But a home loss to open conference play wasn’t a good sign.
5. Oregon State 9-4, 1-0 (6)
Last week: 77-72 win at Oregon
This week: Home vs. USC, Thursday; home vs. UCLA, Sunday
Is this the year the Beavers break through and have a winning conference record for the first time since Gary Payton was a senior in 1990? It’s too early to tell, but OSU could take a big step toward that this weekend. It will be made more difficult to accomplish if Tres Tinkle (ankle) can’t play.
6. UCLA 9-6, 2-0 (9)
Last week: 92-70 home win vs. Stanford; 98-83 home win vs. California
This week: At Oregon, Thursday; at Oregon State, Sunday
The Bruins got two lopsided home wins against the Bay Area schools, but how much does that really mean? It’s going to sound like a broken record, but UCLA has too much talent not to be one of the Pac-12’s top teams.
7. USC 9-6, 2-0 (7)
Last week: 82-73 home win vs. California; 77-66 home win vs. Stanford
This week: At Oregon State, Thursday; at Oregon, Sunday
The Trojans got their sweep, too, and now we’ll see what they do on the road. Junior forward Nick Rakocevic is the conference’s player of the week after averaging 25 points and nine boards in wins against Cal and Stanford.
8. Oregon 9-5, 0-1 (5)
Last week: 77-72 home loss to Oregon State
This week: Home vs. UCLA, Thursday; home vs. USC, Sunday
The Ducks looked a bit lost on both ends last Saturday, uncharacteristic of Dana Altman teams. Some of that credit has to go to Oregon State, but also to the fact that Oregon is down three key contributors.
9. Colorado 9-5, 0-2 (4)
Last week: 64-56 loss at Arizona; 83-61 loss at Arizona State
This week: Home vs. Washington State, Thursday; home vs. Washington, Saturday
A competitive defeat in Tucson was a good result for the Buffaloes, but they hardly showed up in Tempe. McKinley Wright IV hasn’t been the consistent offensive power they need.
10. Stanford 7-7, 0-2 (8)
Last week: 92-70 loss at UCLA; 77-66 loss at USC
This week: Home vs. Arizona, Wednesday; home vs. Arizona State, Saturday
The Cardinal showed little sign of being able to get a win in either game. Cormac Ryan’s six 3-pointers against USC were the team’s weekend highlight.
11. Washington State 7-7, 0-1 (11)
Last week: 85-67 loss at Washington
This week: At Colorado, Thursday; at Utah, Saturday
The Cougars led the Huskies in Seattle with less than 17 minutes to go. But the home team didn’t take kindly to the visitors and used a 16-3 run in a five-minute stretch soon after to pull away.
12. California 5-9, 0-2 (12)
Last week: 82-73 loss at USC; 98-83 loss at UCLA
This week: Home vs. Arizona State, Wednesday; home vs. Arizona, Saturday
The Golden Bears were competitive for a half in both losses, but there wasn’t much defense being played. The road gets no easier, even as they return home.