SportsPac12: Basketball Power Rankings Week 9
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Basketball Power Rankings Week 9

Pac-12 Basketball: Week 9 Power Rankings

Oregon's Payton Pritchard lays the ball up against Texas Southern. | Oregon Athletics

By Dane Miller & Nicholas Bartlett, SportsPac12 Senior Writers

—No. 1—

1. Oregon (11-2) —Previous Ranking:

Heading into January, the Ducks are the clear favorite to win the regular season title. Even without N’Faly Dante, Oregon compiled a strong resume in the first two months of the season. With Dante in the mix, the sky is the limit for Dana Altman and a No. 2 seed in the West is a legitimate possibility. Once Shakur Juiston gets healthy, the fully loaded Ducks can compete with any team in the country.  

—No. 2—

2. Colorado (11-2) —Previous Ranking: 3 

The Buffs have had mixed non-conference results with losses to Kansas and Northern Iowa, and an overtime win against Dayton. They open up their Pac-12 schedule against Oregon which should be a good barometer of their potential this season. Point guard McKinley Wright IV is their most talented player, but forward Tyler Bey may be their most important heading into Conference play.

—No. 3—

3. Washington (10-3) —Previous Ranking: 2 

The Huskies lost a tough matchup against Houston in the Diamond Head Classic Final to end their non-conference schedule. They open up Pac-12 play against UCLA, and USC in matchups they should win. Forward Isaiah Stewart is averaging 19.2 points per game and may be one of the best players in the Conference. 

—No. 4—

4. Arizona (10-3) —Previous Ranking: 4 

The Cats were idle for Christmas week, but have dropped three of their last four leading up to the start of Conference play. Sean Miller must find a way to get more consistent performances out of his star freshmen, otherwise an at-large bid may not be given. A loss to in-state rival ASU in the Conference opener would be devastating to the program in more ways than one. 

—No. 5—

5. Stanford (11-2) —Previous Ranking: 5 

A cold start from the field doomed the Cardinal’s chances against No. 5 Kansas, resulting in a lopsided 16-point defeat at Maples Pavilion. Despite the loss, the Tree have exceeded expectations in the non-conference season, priming themselves for a NCAA Tournament invitation. Though Stanford’s national image is improved, its newfound respect could disappear if California steals a third-straight victory at Maples.

—No. 6—

6. USC (11-2) —Previous Ranking: 6 

Riding a five-game win streak, the Trojans head into January as one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12. For just the third time in the Andy Enfield Era, USC posted 10 or more wins in non-conference play. The last time the Men of Troy had this much success to begin the year, they reached the Round of 32 in the Big Dance. A sweep of the Washington schools would catapult them into at-large bid discussions.

—No. 7—

7. Utah (9-3) —Previous Ranking: 7 

Larry Krystkowiak’s young team had Christmas off, allowing them to reset after an inconsistent start to their season. On paper, the Utes have one of the best resumes in the Pac-12, with noteworthy wins over Kentucky, BYU, Minnesota, and Nevada. Unfortunately for their Tournament hopes, they have bad losses to lower-tier mid-majors, keeping Utah off most mid-season bracket projections. That can change with victories over the Oregon schools this week. 

—No. 8—

8. Oregon State (10-2) —Previous Ranking: 8 

The Beavers finished their non-conference schedule with a blowout win against North Dakota to push their record to 10-2. Moving forward, we'll learn much more about OSU against Pac-12 competition; they're 1-2 against teams from big conferences. The threesome of Tres Tinkle, Ethan Thompson, and Kylor Kelley will be a force to be reckoned with in Conference play.

—No. 9—

9. Arizona State (9-4) —Previous Ranking: 9 

The Sun Devils finished their non-conference schedule with a win against Texas Southern, but that doesn’t erase the tough loses to Creighton and Saint Mary’s. They’ll need to rebound quickly because they face rival Arizona to kick off their Pac-12 slate. Point guard Remy Martin had a bounce back game against Southern; Arizona State will go as far as he takes them.

—No. 1o—

10. Washington State (9-4) —Previous Ranking: 11 

The Cougars have won six straight contests and enter Conference play with substantial momentum. They open the Pac-12 slate with winnable matchups against USC and UCLA. Forward CJ Elleby is the undeniable leader of this team averaging 19.9 points per game. The Cougs will need to find a reliable second scoring option if they're going to stay out of the Pac-12 cellar.

—No. 11—

11. UCLA (7-6) —Previous Ranking: 10 

No one said it would be an easy turnaround for coach Mick Cronin’s squad. They finished non-conference play with a tough and unsettling loss at the hands of Cal State Fullerton. Forward Jalen Hill is the team's best all-around player with 9.9 points per game, and 7.8 rebounds. There are still a lot of unanswered questions in Westwood. 

—No. 12—

12. California (6-7) —Previous Ranking: 12 

The Bears stumble into January after winning just one game in December, and losing seven of their last nine. Mark Fox faces a daunting task to come up with Conference victories, though California has beaten Stanford in back-to-back games at Maples Pavilion. An early win over the Cardinal could spur his squad to a handful of upsets, though, realistically three Pac-12 wins is likely the ceiling for Cal this year.

Dane Miller (@DaneMiller_SP12) covers Pac-12 football and basketball as a Senior Writer for Miller also co-hosts and produces "The Dane & Nick Show," a SportsPac12 Radio Podcast.

Nicholas Bartlett (@WordsByBartlett) covers Pac-12 football and basketball as a Senior Writer for Bartlett also co-hosts and co-produces "The Dane & Nick Show," a SportsPac12 Radio Podcast.

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