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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 18, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Ranking the Pac

Another week in the conference that gave a lie to the phrase “home court advantage.” Road teams went 5-0 in games played Saturday-Sunday and 6-3 for the weekend.
Also another week that did little to settle much in the muddled middle of the conference with six teams going 1-1.
On to the rankings:
1, UCLA — Bruins will finish with four of six at home, hosting Oregon and Bay Area schools, traveling to the Arziona schools. Russell Westbrook emerging as one of the best perimeter defenders in the conference, if not the country.
2, Stanford — Comeback win at Arizona after the tough loss at ASU displayed a grittiness this team has often lacked since Mike Montgomery left. Just dominating in the middle, now outrebounding foes by more than 10 a game in Pac-10 play.
3, Washington State — Back on track with sweep at Oregon, first since the Kevin Eastman, uh, era. For all the talk of Kyle Weaver (who is battling some injuries) and Derrick Low, backcourt mate Taylor Rochestie has been just as big a factor in recent wins.
4, Arizona State — Now comes the hard part ranking the conference. We’ll side with the Sun Devils at this spot as ASU’s wins over Arizona and Stanford got it right back in the NCAA Tournament conversation (though loss to Cal is an obvious step back). James Harden averaging 19.1 points per game in conference play and shooting 40 percent on three-pointers.
5, Arizona — So what to make of the Wildcats? Need to win four of last six, with four of those on the road, to get a winning conference record — UA has had one every season since 1984. Anything less would seem to have Wildcats on outside of NCAA tourney picture. On the other hand, Arizona remains high in the RPI (No. 17 after the weekend). Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger combining to average 42 points per game in Pac-10 play — rest of Wildcats just 28 — which may be among the team’s biggest problems.
6, USC — Trojans basically played just five players against UCLA, with injuries killing the team’s depth — and possibly NCAA tourney hopes. But Trojans now host the two Oregon schools and a sweep could get them right back into the picture. O.J. Mayo has start to taking better care of the ball, however (10 TOs against UCLA).
7, Cal — Patrick Christopher joining the “Most Underrated Player in the Pac-10” discussion, averaging 15.7 points per game and 36.46 minutes, the latter fifth-most in the conference. Loss at Stanford this week could probably end all NCAA tourney talk.
8, Oregon — Could what many termed the greatest recruiting class in school history make it to just one NCAA Tournament? Starting to look that way after the loss to WSU Saturday. Oregon now has three in a row on the road — USC, UCLA and OSU — and logically has to win two to keep hope alive, meaning the game at USC Thursday is just about a must-win.
9, Washington — Now third in the conference in FG percentage defense in conference play at 43.2 percent behind only Stanford and USC. Just two home games left, this weekend against Arizona and Arizona State. UW may need to win both to keep hope alive of any sort of post-season berth.
10, Oregon State — Has a school ever fired its interim coach? OSU being outscored by 17.5 points in Pac-10 play and has lost all but one game under Kevin Mouton by 13 or more points (closest a five-point defeat at Cal).

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