Pac-12 Weekly Power Rankings: Vol. 2

Posted by Pac-12 Team on January 11th, 2017

Ivan Rabb thwarted away last weekend’s final shot, cementing his Player of the Week title and lending us little clarity on the Pac’s mid-section. The second volume of our Pac-12 Power Rankings saw minimal movement as home favorites mostly held court, road warriors fought and Oregon State got rolled (-22.9 conference efficiency margin). Last week’s ranking in parenthesis.

The Ducks Are Coming (USA Today Images)

1. Oregon (1) – After toppling the two southern California undefeated teams last week, Oregon continued its conference domination again in beating the Washington schools by a total of 41 points. What’s most impressive is that the Ducks did this with star Dillon Brooks playing only 25 combined minutes. Oregon’s depth was on full display as Tyler Dorsey picked up the slack against Washington (a career-high 28 points, including eight threes) and Chris Boucher did the same against Washington State (a career-high 29 points, including six threes).

2. UCLA (2) – Depth has become a minor concern for UCLA as Steve Alford has stuck to a very tight rotation. UCLA ranks just 343rd nationally in bench minutes and it is clear that Alford does not yet trust big men Ike Anigbogu or Gyorgy Goloman. It has not been an issue to this point, of course, but it will be something to keep an eye on as conference play progresses.

3. Arizona (3) – The Wildcats still can’t leap over the Ducks and Bruins despite a 4-0 conference start, but two storylines are emerging in Tucson that could very well vault Arizona to the top of the rankings. First, the Wildcats continue to defend very well, surrendering fewer than 70 points in 16 of its last 17 games (Colorado) and producing a conference-leading Defensive Rating of 88.3. Secondly, the Dusan Ristic Experience is real. In Pac-12 play, Ristic carries an effective field goal rate of 64.4% and an Offensive Rating of 126.7. He has provided good post play on both ends, taking some of the pressure from Lauri Markannen while also at times stepping into the spotlight himself. Sean Miller‘s team appears to be rounding into a team with deep March prospects.

4. California (5) – Ivan Rabb secured the conference’s Player of the Week award and isn’t that nice? Or rather, isn’t that expected? The Preseason All-American is really beginning to come into his All-American own — during conference play, Rabb is putting up 18.0 PPG and an outrageous 15.0 boards per contest while cleaning the defensive glass at an equally ridiculous 37.3 percent.

5. Utah (6) – There are two things to like about the Utes. First, they have cut down on their turnovers in league play with a 15.7 percent turnover rate compared with 20.7 percent overall. Secondly, Utah allows a Pac-12-leading 21.6 percent offensive rebounding rate. There are also two areas of concern. First, Utah has stopped getting to the line, exhibited by a conference-low 18.8 FTA/FGA — half as much as their overall season rate of 36 FTA/FGA. Finally, the Utes are the second-worst offensive rebounding team in the league, meaning that while they keep opponents from getting many second chances, they too rarely get more than one look per possession.

6. USC (4) – There is still no timetable available, but the return of Bennie Boatwright cannot come soon enough for USC. The Trojans have so far sputtered in conference play (especially offensively, at 0.98 points per possession) and the multi-talented Boatwright would give USC a huge lift on the offensive end of the floor. Andy Enfield is hoping to have him back for the start of February — the team’s NCAA Tournament prospects may rest on his speedy recovery.

7. Washington State (9) – The Cougars jumped two spots in this week’s power rankings mostly because of their surprising 2-1 start in conference play. Last week they snapped their 17-game conference losing streak with a five-point win over rival Washington before subsequently topping Oregon State by 13 points. They even subsequently played Oregon tough for 27 or so minutes before the Ducks woke up and realized which team they were playing. The real litmus test for Washington State will come this week when they travel south to take on California and Stanford.

8. Arizona State (8) – After this:

The Sun Devils lost to Utah. To add insult to injury, the vaunted “Curtain of Distraction” hasn’t been of much help this season. Teams are shooting (coincidentally, above all else) a robust 73.1 percent from the charity stripe against Arizona State.

9. Colorado (7) – Dominique Collier was supposed to add much-needed stability and shooting to Colorado’s offense, but early returns with him in the lineup have been almost the opposite. Collier has made just 2-of-9 three-pointers in Pac-12 play and has an unsightly 1:1 assist to turnover ratio. There is still plenty of time to shake off the rust, but the Buffaloes’ need their junior point guard to round into form sooner than later if they hope to move into the top half of these rankings.

10. Washington (11) – Among the 50 most efficient offenses in the country, Washington also owns a defense that ranks in the bottom third nationally (107.6). Something to hang your hat on? Not exactly, but they are shooting threes at the nation’s fifth highest clip (41.8%).

11. Stanford (11) – The Cardinal owns a record of 0-4 and has very much looked the part. Here are two bright spots (such as they are) from a tough weekend in Los Angeles: Michael Humphrey put together a career-high 27 points against UCLA to go along with 14 rebounds. Stanford is desperate for production in the absence of Reid Travis, and a return to form from Humphrey would go a long way in helping the Cardinal take advantage of a much softer upcoming stretch of games. One area killing the Cardinal: a staggering 50.5 percent of opponents’ free throw rate. Stanford has been fouling machines in conference play, much to the detriment of their defense.

12. Oregon State (12) – Well, Beavers fans, at least baseball season is only two months away. After an abysmal 4-9 start to the season that featured some truly horrendous losses (Savannah State, Charlotte, Lamar), Oregon State remains the bottom feeder of the Pac-12. Wayne Tinkle‘s squad is averaging a conference low 65.7 points per game and has yet to crack 70 points in a Pac-12 game this season. On the bright side, young guards JaQuori McLaughlin and Stephen Thompson Jr. are something to look forward to over time.

Adam Butler (47 Posts)

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