Week 2 PAC-10 RANKINGS
Quite a few shifts after the preseason rankings and only one team didn’t move. Washington took over the top spot, Arizona State made the biggest jump and Oregon State, the only conference school with two losses, tumbled hard.
1. (2) Washington (3-0): It’s blasphemous around Montlake to say a negative word about Jon Brockman, but you have to wonder if UW is better this year without No. 40. Of course, it’s too early to tell, but the defensive rotations are quicker and if Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Quincy Pondexter can rebound against Pac-10 teams like they did this weekend, then we’ll revisit the question again in February.
2. (1) California (2-0): We’re going to learn more about the Bears on Thursday when they host Syracuse (2-0). Similar to Washington, Cal struggled in its opener before stomping Detroit. Unlike UW, the Bears face a stiff early-season test against the Orangemen, who are ranked No. 24 in the coaches poll.
3. (4) Oregon (3-0): Good team? Or better scheduling? I’m guessing the latter, but with his job hanging in the balance you can’t blame coach Ernie Kent for loading the early part of the schedule with tomato cans who combined for a 30-63 record last season. Tajuan Porter is third in Pac-10 with 56 points behind UW’s Isaiah Thomas (74) and Pondexter (66). Husky fans need to pay close attention to Saturday’s game at Portland.
4. (8) Arizona State (3-0): The Sun Devils probably have the best win of any Pac-10 school so far beating a respectable TCU squad last night. ASU pulled out a 52-49 victory over the Horned Frogs to advance in the NIT Season Tip-off semifinals to face Duke. Five players are averaging at least 10 points. And maybe ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, knows something about ASU that the rest of us are slowing finding out.
5. (7) Washington State (2-0): The Cougars should be feasting on the early schedule while learning new coach Ken Bone’s system, but Eastern Washington gave them a scare before Klay Thompson saved the day. Evidence of the Bone Effect: WSU is averaging 80.5 points per game. Last season, it averaged 59.2. A few NBA scouts are starting to take a hard look at 6-8 sophomore F DeAngelo Casto.
6. (5) Arizona (1-0): We’ll know much more about the Wildcats next week when they travel to the Maui Invitational. They open with Wisconsin and could play Gonzaga Nov. 24. Until then, a 17-point win against Northern Arizona and what should be a victory against Rice on Thursday doesn’t mean a whole lot.
7. (10) USC (1-0): The Trojans and UCLA each played a Big West team this week. That’s where the similarities end. USC beat UC Riverside, which is expected to finish fourth in the conference while the Bruins lost to Cal State Fullerton, which was picked fifth. New coach Kevin O’Neil used just a seven-man rotation led by Dwight Lewis, who scored a game-high 22 points.
8. (6) UCLA (0-1): It’s worth remembering, these are your daddy’s Bruins. But it’s also worth noting that if UCLA can’t beat Cal State Fullerton, then you got to believe Cal State Bakersfield, Pepperdine and the Pac-10 are licking their chops to take a few whacks at the Bruins while they’re down.
9. (9) Stanford (1-1): Next week the Cardinal face Virginia and will likely play Kentucky in the Cancun Challenge. That’s a long way to travel to get throttled, but at least the scenery is nice. F Landry Fields is fourth (47 points) in Pac-10 scoring.
10. (3) Oregon State (1-2): OSU has players that are first and second in the Pac-10 in turnovers. Josh Tarver has 11, Seth Tarver and Roeland Schaftenaar are tied with eight. And Calvin Haynes and Agnus Brandt are tied for 8th with six TOs. The Beavers are averaging a conferece-high 19.7 turnovers and a conference-low 55 points per game.
WEDNESDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Here’s our story on Scott Suggs who has carved out playing time because of his defensive efforts.
— No. 19 Georgetown appears to be Washington’s toughest non-conference team, however, the Hoyas struggled in their opener against Temple.
— As we noted earlier, Arizona State got a nice 52-49 win over TCU.
— And USC dispatched of UC Riverside 77-67 as Dwight Lewis scored a game-high 22 points.
Tonight: Oral Roberts at Stanford.
My pick: Stanford
PROGRAMING NOTE: We’ll hold a live chat today at noon.