Pac-12 Power Rankings — 2/5/13

1. Arizona (19-2, 7-2) — The Wildcats did their part and swept the Washington teams on the road for the first time since 2005. Then, luck stepped in and put them atop the Pac-12. Oregon dropped two games and looks far more vulnerable in the conference race, though it holds a head-to-head tiebreaker. Arizona’s biggest question mark is a middling assist-turnover ratio of 1.0.

2. Oregon (18-4, 7-2) — Oregon was supposed to be most balanced team in the conference, but devolved as freshman point guard Dominic Artis (foot) sits indefinitely. The Ducks have committed 65 turnovers in three games without Artis, including 22 at Cal. Dana Altman can right this ship, but the team doesn’t look like a title contender if it’s not at full health.

3. Arizona State (17-5, 6-3) — ASU managed to shoot over 60 percent across two halves and still lose to Washington. How? The Sun Devils grabbed just two offensive boards. They’re also one of the thinnest teams in the conference, one that didn’t fare well once senior Carrick Felix got into foul trouble. The three-time Pac-12 Player of the Week had 10 points and one rebound.

4. UCLA (16-6, 6-3) — The Bruins’ loss to USC was one of their most embarrassing losses this year, but the rest of the conference isn’t impressive enough to knock them any lower. UCLA is mired in its worst shooting slump of the season, making 36.4 percent from the field in the past two games. The team has been especially bad from distance, hitting 16.3 percent of its 3-pointers.

5. Stanford (14-8, 5-4) — Could the Cardinal make a run at its first NCAA Tournament since 2008? Stanford crushed Oregon by 24, a margin no single injury should excuse. It followed up that upset by committing just four turnovers in a win over Oregon State. Junior forward Josh Huestis had back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in his career, earning Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

6. Cal (13-8, 5-4) — Mike Montgomery won his 100th game with the Bears with a 71-68 win over Oregon State, then followed up with an upset of Oregon — the program’s first win over a top-10 team since January 2008. Cal hasn’t solved its shooting woes, but it does have back-to-back wins for the first time in almost seven weeks.

7. Washington (13-9, 5-4) — Is Andrew Andrews the best name or the worst name in the Pac-12? Either way, the redshirt freshman scored a career-high 20 points in 96-92 win over ASU — easily the Huskies’ highest-scoring game of the season. That Washington allowed the Sun Devils to shoot 63.8 percent from the field is concerning, but it had 19 second-chance points to ASU’s one.

8. Colorado (14-7, 4-5) — Scoring 16 points over two quarters isn’t going to win games. The Buffs shouldn’t be rated this low, but a loss to Utah is inexcusable for a team that was a waved-off 3-pointer from beating Arizona. Colorado mustered just one field goal for a 10-minute span in Salt Lake City; if they can’t take advantage of Oregon while Dominic Artis is out, a fight back into the top half of the conference becomes daunting.

9. USC (9-13, 4-5) — Interim coach Bob Cantu added a big bullet point to his resume at Pauley Pavilion as he continues to audition for the full time job. Up next are winnable home games against Washington State and Washington.

10. Washington State (11-11, 2-7) — WSU has the best scoring defense in the conference, but it ranks in the bottom half of almost every other category. Against Arizona, the Cougars mustered eight field goals against eight turnovers in the first half. Point guard Mike Ladd’s nine-game streak of double-digit scoring also ended in a two-point clunker. Two or three more wins for Washington State might be the best-case scenario.

11. Utah (10-11, 2-7) — Brandon Taylor’s entry into the starting lineup sparked the Utes to a win over Colorado, and he could be a consistent answer at point guard. The 5-foot-9 freshman played single-digit minutes in nine of Utah’s first 15 games, and sat out four entirely. Since then, he’s averaged 28.6 minutes in five points, putting up 10.8 points and 3.8 assists along the way.

12. Oregon State (11-11, 1-8) — Is Craig Robinson the anti-Howland? The Beavers’ coach left four timeouts unused at the end of a three-point loss at Cal, and neglected to call one even has his team squandered the last seven seconds of the game without a shot. Oregon State has talent, but it might be the most poorly coached squad in the conference.

Past rankings:
January 28
January 21
January 14
January 7

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