Miller: Week 9 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings

The final stretch of the Conference race looms large in the eyes of the Selection Committee

Posted on January 19, 2021

Dane Miller
  By Dane Miller, SportsPac12

Not much has changed in this week’s Power Rankings.

The Top 4 have begun to separate themselves from the middle and bottom of the Conference, garnering AP Votes in the process, while Stanford remains glued to the bubble.


 

Oregon had the week off due to COVID precautions, and UCLA continued its strong start. But perhaps most surprisingly, Arizona State remains below .500 with just a single win in conference play.

Fewer than eight weeks remain until Selection Sunday, making the final stretch loom large in the eyes of the Selection Committee.

Below are our Week 9 Power Rankings as of now.


1. UCLA (7-0, 11-2)

Off to a 7-0 start in conference play for the first time since 1993-94, the Bruins finally cracked the AP Top 25. Sitting at No. 24 in the nation, UCLA has a NET Ranking of 29 and is 8th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rating. Even with the loss of Chris Smith, Mick Cronin has Sweet 16 ambitions and a roster capable of taking him there.


2. Colorado (5-2, 11-3)

Snubbed by the AP voters once again, the Buffs have won four-straight. With a NET Ranking of 7 and the third-toughest strength of schedule in the Pac-12 according to KenPom, nothing but an East Coast Bias can explain why CU isn’t ranked. Fortunately for Tad Boyle, the disrespect does nothing but motivate his players to continue their march towards the Big Dance.


3. USC (5-1, 11-2)

usc logoAfter an overtime scare to UC Riverside, the Trojans tied their season-high point total with 95 against UW, and followed it up with an 85-point night on WSU’s respected defense. At 11-2, USC is the 20th-best team according to KenPom and 17th in the NET Rankings. And with the nation’s third-overall opponent field goal percentage, Andy Enfield has put it together with strong defense.


4. Oregon (4-1, 9-2)

The COVID pause may have been a blessing in disguise for the Ducks. The extra time off might have allowed LJ Figueroa to recoup from his ankle injury while providing extra time for Will Richardson to return to the floor. Currently ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll, Oregon is 0-2 in Quad 1 matchups, but 28th in the NET and 21st in KenPom.


 


5. Stanford (4-3, 8-5)

The Tree were swept by the Mountain schools and are squarely on the Bubble in the middle of January. Without Bryce Wills, Stanford gave up its highest and third-most point totals of the year to Utah and Colorado, respectively. At 46th in KenPom and 61st in the NET, the Cardinal desperately need to get healthy to return to their normal form.


6. Arizona (4-3, 10-3)

Sean Miller and Arizona posted their largest win in Corvallis during the Pac-12 Era, a 34-point drubbing of the fresh-off-quarantine Beavers. True freshman Bennedict Mathurin has emerged as an NBA Draft candidate, scoring a career-high 31 points against OSU in the first start of his career. The Wildcats are 31st in the NET and 29th in KenPom, but have the 117th-best strength of schedule.


7. Washington State (2-4, 9-4)

Losing four of their last five, WSU’s soft nonconference schedule may be catching up to Kyle Smith. But each of the four defeats have come on the road, and the Cougars finally return to Pullman this week. Isaac Bonton has settled into his role and averages 18.9 points per game to go along with 4 assists. Among the nation’s best in rebounding, blocked shots, and opponent field goal percentage, Washington State must hold sway at Beasley Coliseum the remainder of the season.


8. Utah (2-5, 5-6)

The upset over Stanford was short-lived after California walked away from the Huntsman Center with a victory. But with the second-most Quad 1 matchups in the Pac-12, the Utes are as prepared as any to make a run in Las Vegas. Timmy Allen remains one of the best players in the Conference of Champions, and Alfonzo Plummer has the capability to make the difference from deep.


9. Oregon State (2-3, 6-5)

In easily their best win of the year, the Beavers took down Arizona State in a one-point thriller. Now at 2-3 in the Pac-12 and a game above .500, the remainder of the year appears more surmountable for OSU. Sophomore Jarod Lucas has solidified himself as a deadly threat from three and Ethan Thompson remains among the Conference’s leading scorers. And with a team that limits turnovers and shares the ball, what’s stopping Oregon State from making a run?


10. Arizona State (1-3, 4-6)

With potentially three NBA Draft picks on their roster, the Sun Devils’ struggles this year have been concerning. Health issues have complicated matters, but nobody would have predicted ASU to start conference play 1-3 and be below .500 in the middle of January. Yet, that’s where Bobby Hurley’s team is with back-to-back games against rival Arizona upcoming.


11. California (2-6, 7-8)

Without Matt Bradley, the Bears found a way to win on the road. The nine-point victory in Salt Lake City was just the second true road win of the Mark Fox Era. After a slow offensive start in the first half, California exploded for 50 points in the final twenty minutes. If Bradley were to return before the Conference Tournament, Cal may win its opening game in Las Vegas for the second time in a row under Fox.


12. Washington (0-7, 1-11)

There are no such things as moral victories, unless you are 1-11 on the year. In a flash of their true potential, the Dawgs outplayed the Bruins in Los Angeles for most of the game. But close is not good enough, and UW remains winless in Pac-12 play. Still, the emergence of Erik Stevenson and the consistency of Quade Green may signal a changing of the winds in the Emerald City.


 




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