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Pac-12 men’s basketball power rankings

Pac-12 men's basketball power rankings: COVID wreaks havoc with schedule

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COVID has a sizeable lead on Pac-12 men’s basketball as the schedule jumps back into the meat of the conference slate.

Between this week and last, 11 games have been postponed. Four have been played. Utah is the only team to remain unaffected by the disruptions when it comes to Pac-12 contests.

With so few games actually taking place, it makes it difficult to rank teams among their peers. But we soldier on.

Here are my weekly Pac-12 power rankings:

1. UCLA 8-1, 1-0 (Last week: 1)

Last week: Home vs. Arizona, PPD

This week: Home vs. Arizona State, Wednesday, PPD; at Stanford, Thursday, PPD; at California, Saturday

The virus is certainly getting the best of the fifth-ranked Bruins, who have played once since Dec. 1 and (as scheduled as of Tuesday) will go at least 43 days between home games. They’ll test their rustiness Saturday in Berkeley, if they can get to tipoff.

2. ARIZONA 12-1, 2-0 (2)

Last week: At UCLA, PPD; at USC, PPD; 95-79 home win vs. Washington

This week: At Arizona State, Saturday, PPD

The No. 8 Wildcats seem to always get a good test from the Huskies of late. But Washington wasn’t the kind of challenge they faced in Champaign or Knoxville.

3. USC 12-0, 2-0 (3)

Last week: Home vs. Arizona State, PPD; home vs. Arizona, PPD

This week: At California, Thursday; at Stanford, Saturday

The seventh-ranked Trojans will see just how ready they are for a step up in competition. The Golden Bears and Cardinal are arguably their best two opponents so far, save for maybe Washington State in Pullman.

4. COLORADO 9-3, 1-1 (4)

Last week: At Oregon, PPD; at Oregon State, PPD

This week: Home vs. Washington State, Thursday; home vs. Washington, Sunday

One of the best Pac-12 games in January could be played Thursday in Boulder. It will be 19 days between games for the Buffaloes, who have a balanced scoring attack led by Jabari Walker (13.3 ppg).

5. CALIFORNIA 9-5, 2-1 (10)

Last week: 74-50 home win vs. Arizona State; at Stanford, PPD

This week: Home vs. USC, Thursday; home vs. UCLA, Saturday

It wasn’t the fact that Cal beat the Sun Devils, but rather that the Bears didn’t allow the visitors to get closer than 14 after trailing by 18 at halftime. This is a measuring stick week for the upstart squad.

6. STANFORD 8-4, 1-1 (5)

Last week: Home vs. California, PPD

This week: Home vs. UCLA, Thursday, PPD; home vs. USC, Saturday

The last two postponed games would have provided a gauge for where this Cardinal team is heading. But Saturday’s contest will definitely do that.

7. OREGON 8-6, 1-2 (7)

Last week: 79-66 home win vs. Utah; Home vs. Colorado, PPD

This week: At Oregon State, Saturday

The Ducks have played well (and maybe turned a corner) since their Dec. 12 loss at Stanford. Saturday’s game at Gill, with the Beavers suddenly playing better, will give a good idea of just how much progress has been made.

8. WASHINGTON STATE 8-5, 1-1 (6)

Last week: Home vs. Washington, PPD

This week: At Colorado, Thursday; at Utah, Saturday

A Cougars team wanting to be a top-half conference contender has a chance this week to prove that’s for real. Between this week and next (at home against the Bay Area schools), we’ll find out a lot.

9. OREGON STATE 3-10, 1-2 (12)

Last week: 88-76 home win vs. Utah; home vs. Colorado, PPD; home vs. Sacramento State, PPD

This week: Home vs. Oregon, Saturday

The Beavers really could have used that Monday game against the Hornets to try to propel its momentum. But they’ll regroup and hopefully, for their sake, have a few more players available versus the Ducks.

10. WASHINGTON 5-6, 0-1 (11)

Last week: At Washington State, PPD; 95-79 loss at Arizona

This week: At Utah, Thursday; at Colorado, Sunday

The Huskies haven’t had many impressive results, but they can change that this week. Arizona transfer Terrell Brown Jr. (22 ppg) is carrying a heavy load.

11. UTAH 8-6, 1-3 (8)

Last week: 88-76 loss at Oregon State; 79-66 loss at Oregon

This week: Home vs. Washington, Thursday; home vs. Washington State, Saturday

The Utes got exposed defensively in the Beaver State. They came in allowing 40% shooting and 65.3 points and gave up 55.7% and 83.5 points last week.

12. ARIZONA STATE 5-8, 1-2 (9)

Last week: At USC, PPD; 74-50 loss at California

This week: At UCLA, Wednesday, PPD; home vs. Arizona, Saturday, PPD

The Sun Devils just haven’t been the same since winning 20 games (11 in Pac-12 play) in 2019-20. This group has shown potential but will have to do it more consistently to compete in the conference.

Jesse Sowa can be reached via email at jesse.sowa@lee.net or on Twitter, @JesseSowaGT.

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