1. (4) Arizona (Record: 12-9, 6-3 Pac-10; RPI rank: 53)
Recent results: Beat California 76-72; Beat Stanford 76-68.
This is the first time the Wildcats have been in first place in the conference since March 5, 2005, the date Arizona clinched its last Pac-10 regular-season title. More historical good news for the Wildcats, the past nine conference champions led or shared the lead midway through the season. … Freshman F Derrick Williams has scored in double figures in each of the past 16 games. He’s averaging 16.9 points and 7.7 rebounds, while shooting .582 (89 of 153) from the field during that span.
Up next: Thursday at Washington; Saturday at Washington State.
2. 1 California (14-7, 6-3; 24)
Recent results: Lost at Arizona 76-72; Won at Arizona State 78-70.
Defensive ace Jorge Gutierrez is rounding into shape after missing five games due to a right knee injury, however, point guards are torching the Golden Bears. Washington State’s Reggie Moore had 25 points, Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham scored a career-high 18, Washington’s Isaiah Thomas had 20 and Arizona’s Nic Wise tallied a career-high tying 30.
Up next: Thu. at USC; Sat. at UCLA.
3. (2) Arizona State (15-7, 5-4; 87)
Recent results: Beat Stanford 88-70; Lost to Cal 78-70.
Senior PG Derek Glasser, who was benched last week, sprained his right ankle during a Monday practice and is questionable for this week’s game. Junior PG Jamelle McMillan (plantar fasciitis), who has missed the past four games, is expected to return Thursday. … Ty Abbott is having a breakout season.
Up next: Thu. at WSU; Sat. at UW.
4. (6) UCLA (10-9, 4-5; 126)
Recent results: Won at Oregon State 62-52; Lost at Oregon 71-66 OT.
Since the switch to the zone, the Bruins are 3-1, which includes an overtime loss at Oregon. The switch coincided with freshman F Reeves Nelson’s move to the bench. In the past four games, he’s averaging 15 points and eight rebounds, while shooting .639 (23 of 36) from the field.
Up next: Thu. vs. Stan.; Sat. vs. Cal
5. (7) Washington (14-7, 4-5; 64)
Recent results: Beat WSU 92-64.
Even if they win their remaining nine regular-season games, UW needs help to repeat as Pac-10 champions. The Huskies would need Cal to lose at least one game. To keep its NCAA tourney hopes alive, UW needs to finish 6-3 and perform well in the Pac-10 Tournament. The more immediate concern is Arizona and slowing down the Wildcats, which have won four straight and thumped the Huskies 87-70 earlier this season.
Up next: Thu. vs. Ariz.; Sat. vs. ASU.
6. (5) Washington State (14-7, 4-5; 100)
Recent results: Lost at UW 92-64.
Coach Ken Bone admits there’s something wrong with leading scorer Klay Thompson. Said Bone: “We’re trying to get him where he’s getting better looks at the hoop. He needs to hit a few. Once he has his confidence back he will be fine.” Thompson is averaging 21.6 points, but his average falls to 17 points in conference play. UW held him to a season-low seven points last Saturday.
Up next: Thu. vs. ASU; Sat. vs. Cal.
7. (10) Oregon (12-9, 4-5; 140)
Recent results: Beat USC 67-57; Beat UCLA 71-66 OT.
Despite sweeping the Los Angeles schools, the Ducks are the only Pac-10 team with a losing conference record at home. … Coach Ernie Kent shook up the lineup and inserted sophomore F Jeremy Jacob among the starters in the past two games. Jacob responded and gave the Ducks a lift, averaging 15 points and 4.5 rebounds in the pair of wins.
Up next: Sat. at OSU.
8. (3) USC (12-9, 4-5; 89)
Recent results: Lost at Oregon 67-57; Lost at OSU 51-45.
After Washington, the Trojans are probably the biggest disappointment in the conference considering their talent. Arguably, USC has the best frontline in the Pac-10 and the Trojans have a dependable backcourt. Even still, USC has lost in bizarre fashions, including a 1-point defeat at Stanford and the loss at Oregon that coach Kevin O’Neill blamed on a student manager who received a technical in the final minutes.
Up next: Thu. vs. Cal; Sat. vs. Stan.
9. (9) Oregon State (9-12, 3-6; 202)
Recent results: Lost to UCLA 62-52; Beat USC 51-45.
Over the past three games, junior G Calvin Haynes is averaging 22.0 points and shooting .389 (7 of 18) from three-point land. … Four of the next seven games are on the road where the Beavers are 1-4 in the Pac-10.
Up next: Sat. vs. Ore.
10. (8) Stanford (10-11, 4-5; 139)
Recent results: Lost at ASU 88-70; Lost at Ariz. 76-68.
The Cardinal are perfect at home in four conference games, but it’s 0-5 in Pac-10 away games and 1-9 overall on the road. Too bad Stanford plays two more games away from home. Expect the eight-game road losing streak to grow. It’s the longest streak since dropping 15 straight over the 1991-92 and ’92-93 seasons.
Up next: Thu. at UCLA; Sat. at USC.