Pac-12 Power Rankings — 2/19/13

1. Arizona (21-4, 9-4) — The Wildcats have settled into the teens in national polls and rankings, which is where they probably belonged most of the season. Sean Miller tinkered his lineup during a rough mountain trip — 13-point loss to Colorado, four-point win over Utah — and may leave glue guy Kevin Parrom in the starting five.

2. Cal (16-9, 8-5) — If the Bears had lost to USC, Mike Montgomery probably would have served a one-game suspension for pushing star guard Allen Crabbe. They won, so the push was folded into the “motivation” narrative, even though Crabbe shot 1-of-6 immediately after. Cal is playing its best ball of the season, but an NCAA tourney bid isn’t safe yet; the team never does well in the conference tournament and could lose two more games before then.

3. Oregon (21-5, 10-3) — Oregon’s win over Washington marked the first time the Ducks had more assists (10) than turnovers (9) since point guard Dominic Artis injured his foot in late January. The team returns home after surviving the trip north unscathed, but may be in trouble against Cal on Thursday if Artis isn’t ready to play.

4. UCLA (19-7, 9-4) — Larry Drew II said after the loss to USC last month that he wanted to “go out there and kill them” next time. He’ll have his chance Sunday. The Bruins need the win to stay alive in the conference race, as well as to avoid another embarrassing smudge on its NCAA tourney resume.

5. Colorado (17-8, 7-6) — The Buffs exacted revenge against Arizona a month after their controversial loss in Tucson, but couldn’t build momentum to beat ASU. An overtime letdown was somewhat forgivable after an emotional, convincing effort against the Wildcats. Colorado will play three of their last five games in Boulder, where they’ve only lost twice this season.

6. USC (12-14, 7-6) — The Trojans couldn’t hold on for a win at Cal, but still left the Bay Area with their first four-win streak in two years. Bob Cantu’s performance as interim coach should merit some Pac-12 Coach of the Year discussion. Sweep UCLA with a win on Sunday and he might earn himself the full-time gig.

7. Arizona State (19-7, 8-5) — Evan Gordon didn’t even see his buzzer-beating layup go in, his teammates already swarmed around him after a one-point overtime win at Colorado. ASU took advantage of the Buffs’ worst shooting night of the season (35.1 percent) to avoid a third straight loss, but its NCAA tournament chances are dim. Ending the regular season with road games in Los Angeles and Tucson won’t help the cause.

8. Stanford (15-11, 6-7) — Losing to both Los Angeles schools at home likely ended the Cardinal’s chances at their first March Madness bid under Johnny Dawkins. Stanford’s 3-point shooting is regressing back toward the mean and Dwight Powell’s recent excellence — 21.3 points and 11.3 rebounds over four games — isn’t enough.

9. Washington (14-12, 6-7) — The Huskies won’t claw into the top half of the conference if they don’t cut down their turnovers. UW averaged 10.5 turnovers through a 4-0 start to the Pac-12 schedule, but is up to 15.6 in the nine games since. Washington has won twice in that stretch.

10. Utah (11-14, 3-10) — The Utes could be very good in two years, once Larry Krystkowiak’s recruits mature within his system. For now, they’ll pull upsets and scare conference contenders. Including Utah’s win over ASU, the team now has four quality wins against five bad losses (via RealTimeRPI).

11. Oregon State (13-13, 3-10) — Imagine what Roberto Nelson could do for a better team. The junior guard has a well-rounded game and is averaging 21.3 points over the last three weeks. He shot 3 of 16 from the field in OSU’s loss to Washington, but made up for it with an 11-of-13 showing at the line.

12. Washington State (11-15, 2-11) — WSU had arguably the most frustrating weekend in the conference, losing to Oregon and Oregon State at home by a combined three points. Guard Royce Woolridge dropped a career-high 36 points on the Ducks, but Dexter Kernich-Drew committed an unnecessary late foul that sent E.J. Singler to the line for the game-winning free throws. Such is life for the Cougars, who are still winless against top-150 RPI teams.

Past rankings:
February 12
February 5
January 28
January 21
January 14
January 7

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