If there’s any certainty about Pac-12 men’s basketball this season, it’s that you can expect the unexpected.
Colorado absolutely destroying Utah? California with a two-game home sweep against … anybody? Oregon State with another fast finish to blow out a ranked team?
Given the results from the first two weeks of the conference schedule, no final scores will be surprising going forward. There’s sure to be more this week.
Oregon State put itself back in consideration for an NCAA berth. The Beavers have six straight extremely winnable games ahead, as they host the L.A. schools and travel to the Bay Area after that. “Make hay while the sun shines” is the old saying.
The rest of the schedule includes two games with Oregon and rematches with Colorado, Utah and the Arizona schools.
Here are my power rankings entering Week 3:
1. OREGON 14-3, 3-1 Pac-12 (Last week: 2)
Last week: 74-73 overtime home win vs. Arizona; 78-69 home win vs. Arizona State
This week: At Washington State, Thursday; at Washington, Saturday
The eighth-ranked Ducks held serve at home with Payton Pritchard leading the way. The Arizona contest was a conference game of the year candidate. If Oregon is a legit Final Four contender, this week will provide no hurdles, even on the road.
2. COLORADO 13-3, 2-1 (3)
Last week: 91-52 home win vs. Utah
This week: At Arizona State, Thursday; at Arizona, Saturday
The 20th-ranked Buffaloes showed no hangover from the Oregon State loss. Tad Boyle & Co. will be tested with some big games in the desert.
3. STANFORD 14-2, 3-0 (5)
Last week: 61-55 home win vs. Washington; 88-62 home win vs. Washington State
This week: At UCLA, Wednesday; at USC, Saturday
The Cardinal have the easiest opening three weeks of the Pac-12 schedule, starting at home against Cal. It gets a little tougher this week, but not much.
4. ARIZONA STATE 10-6, 1-2 (8)
Last week: 82-76 win at Oregon State; 78-69 loss at Oregon
This week: Home vs. Colorado, Thursday; home vs. Utah, Saturday
A road split has this squad showing signs of life. Despite some terrible blowout losses, the Sun Devils have a chance to boost their Big Dance hopes this week.
5. OREGON STATE 12-4, 2-2 (7)
Last week: 82-76 home loss to Arizona State; 82-65 home win vs. Arizona
This week: At Washington, Thursday; at Washington State, Saturday
A second significant win was added to the Beavers’ NCAA portfolio after a total team effort. Now the challenge is to keep that momentum going without another step backward.
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6. ARIZONA 11-5, 1-2 (1)
Last week: 74-73 overtime loss at Oregon; 82-65 loss at Oregon State
This week: Home vs. Utah, Thursday; home vs. Colorado, Saturday
The Wildcats let two winnable games get away, including a disappearing act in the second half Sunday. But they can more than right the ship if they get two wins this week.
7. UTAH 10-5, 1-2 (6)
Last week: 91-52 loss at Colorado
This week: At Arizona, Thursday; at Arizona State, Saturday
It’s as if the Utes didn’t show up in Boulder, shooting 35.2% and getting outboarded 42-24 in a game they trailed 16-2 and 44-22. An uncommon effort for a Larry Krystkowiak-coached team.
8. CALIFORNIA 8-8, 2-1 (12)
Last week: 73-66 home win vs. Washington State; 61-58 overtime home win vs. Washington
This week: At USC, Thursday; at UCLA, Sunday
The Golden Bears repeated last year’s home sweep of the Washington schools. Even a split this week would show Cal is a program on the rise.
9. WASHINGTON 11-6, 1-3 (4)
Last week: 61-55 loss at Stanford; 61-58 overtime loss at California
This week: Home vs. Oregon State, Thursday; home vs. Oregon, Saturday
Junior guard Quade Green (11.6 points, 5.3 assists) being declared academically ineligible is a gut punch to the Huskies’ NCAA chances. They lost to Stanford and California without him.
10. USC 13-3, 2-1 (10)
Last week: 74-63 win at UCLA
This week: Home vs. California, Thursday; home vs. Stanford, Saturday
The Trojans beat the Bruins by double digits on the road, but how much is that saying? USC can make some noise at home this week.
11. WASHINGTON STATE 10-7, 1-3 (11)
Last week: 73-66 loss at California; 88-62 loss at Stanford
This week: Home vs. Oregon, Thursday; home vs. Oregon State, Saturday
This is still a program that’s going nowhere quickly. The Cougars need to show something in a hurry or be destined for another lost season.
12. UCLA 8-8, 1-2 (9)
Last week: 74-63 home loss to USC
This week: Home vs. Stanford, Wednesday; home vs. California, Sunday
It baffles the mind how a program with such rich tradition can be so mediocre at best. Here’s another team that could struggle mightily against the top half of the conference.