No Pac-10 games today, which is a good time to start the weekly Power Rankings. The conference began the season last Friday and so far, so good.
The league is 18-3, which is somewhat misleading because the conference has yet to beat anyone noteworthy.
There’s little surprise who lands in the bottom of the rankings, No. 1 might be a bit of a shocker.
In descending order …
10. Oregon State (Record: 1-1, RPI rank: 293)
Recent results: Lost 83-80 to Seattle University; Beat
The Beavers have talent, but they’re searching for an identity. Coach Craig Robinson has modified the zone defense, scrapping the trademark 1-3-1 in favor of a 2-3 matchup. Offensively, they’re changing as well. At times, they want to run and shoot three-pointers. At times, they’ll slow it down and orchestrate the half court-oriented Princeton offense. And other times they run the point-forward offense. It gets a bit confusing to comprehend and Jared Cunningham, perhaps OSU’s most talented player, appears lost in the different schemes.
Up next: Sunday vs. Texas Southern
9. California (1-0, 216)
Recent results: Beat Cal State Northridge 80-63.
True to his word, coach MIke Montgomery converted backup defensive stalwart Jorge Gutierrez into a starting point guard and the results were outstanding in the opener. The Bears junior finished with a team-high 18 points, eight assists, two steals and just two turnovers. … Cal is young and small primarily because Montgomery has installed a three-guard lineup that includes freshman starters Allen Crabbe and Gary Franklin.
Up next: Saturday vs. New Mexico
8. USC (2-1, 110)
Recent results: Lost 77-57 to Rider; Beat Santa Clara 86-73; Beat UC Irvine 62-49)
The Trojans have three players ranked 1, 2 and 3 in the Pac-10 in most minutes played. And it’s not as if injuries has forced Trojans coach Kevin O’Neill to use a short bench. O’Neill is being O’Neill. He’s playing just seven players. He did something similar last season, but injuries forced that situation. This time, he believes the Trojans are better conditioned than they were before, however, they appeared gassed in Wednesday’s 20-point defeat. Making matters worse, senior F Alex Stepheson is playing with a fractured left wrist. … The Trojans are starting two 18-year old guards, including Maurice Jones who is averaging a team-high 18.3 points.
Up next: Saturday at Bradley
7. Arizona State (0-1, 131)
Recent results: Lost to New Mexico 76-62.
In March, ASU’s opener might become one of those good defeats that the NCAA tournament selection committee tends to favor. There’s no shame losing on the road to start the season at New Mexico where the Lobos were 17-1 last season. … Still there’s got to be some concern the three seniors — Rihards Kuksiks, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan — played so poorly. They shot 6 of 22 from the field and combined for 21 points in the opener. Got to believe the Sun Devils were expecting more from their veterans considering they’re breaking in seven new players. … Sophomore G Trent Lockett certainly wasn’t bashful. He scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down eight rebounds. No one else scored in double digits.
Up next: Saturday vs. UAB
6. Oregon (3-0, 65)
Recent results: Beat UC Santa Barbara 72-70; Beat Denver 68-56; Beat North Dakota State 97-92 OT.
Despite the off-season turmoil and the depleted roster, new coach Dana Altman has Oregon off to a 3-0 start, which isn’t necessarily cause for celebration considering the Ducks began 3-0 last season before losing four of their next five. … Senior F Joevan Catron, who missed most of last season with a back injury, is averaging 20.9 points, which is fourth in the Pac-10. He also has 18 rebounds, nine offensive. … G Malcolm Armstead has 13 assists and 11 turnovers.
Up next: Saturday vs. San Jose State
5. Washington State (2-0, 161)
Recent results: Beat Idaho 88-71; Beat Southern University 86-47
If I gave you 100 guesses before the season, you wouldn’t have picked the Pac-10 scoring leader after the first week because hardly anyone knew anything about Faisal Aden. The junior guard who who transferred from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. is tied for the conference lead with Lockett at 22.0 points per game. … Sophomore G Reggie Moore is out indefinitely with a left wrist injury.
Up next: Tuesday vs. Portland at KeyArena
4. UCLA (3-0; 52)
Recent results: Beat Pacific 57-44, Beat Pepperdine 79-69, Beat Cal State Northridge 83-50
The Bruins are besieged with injuries for a second straight season that left them with just eight healthy scholarship players on Tuesday. … Sophomore F Reeves Nelson has picked up where he left off last season. He’s averaging 19.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. … Tyler Honeycutt is helping (15.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg) as much as he’s hurting (5.3 turnovers).
Up next: Wednesday vs. Villanova in New York for the NIT Season Tip-Off
3. Washington (2-0, 29)
Recent results: Beat Eastern Washington 98-72; Beat McNeese State 118-64
The Huskies couldn’t have scripted a better start before next week’s Maui Invitational. They’ve beaten two opponents by 54 and 26 points. Six players are averaging at least 10 points and 10 players are averaging at least 14 minutes.
Up next: Monday vs. Virginia
2. Stanford (2-0, 286)
Recent results: Beat Virginia 81-60, Beat San Diego 64-48
The Cardinal picked up a quality win last night defeating previously unbeaten Virginia by 21 points. The Cavs (2-1) were picked in a preseason poll to finish 11th in the 12-team ACC and they traveled over 2,000 miles, but the victory is the Pac-10’s only win against a power conference team. … With its best player junior G Jeremy Green scoring just two points on 1-for-7 shooting, Stanford throttled San Diego by 16 points thanks to reserves Andrew Zimmerman and Gabriel Harris who combined for 26 points and nearly outscored the Stanford starters (28). … Green bounced back from an awful opener and poured in 21 last night. … It may not be too long before junior F Andrew Zimmerman and freshman G Aaron Bright, the former Bellevue High star, are promoted to the starting lineup.
Up next: Sunday vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff
1. Arizona (2-0, 274)
Recent results: Beat New Mexico State, 83-57, Beat Idaho State 90-42
The Wildcats have the best win in the conference, knocking off previously unbeaten New Mexico State by 26 points. The Aggies (2-1) advanced to the NCAA tournament last season. They lost their top two scorers, but most of the team is back and NMS was picked to finish second in the WAC by the conference coaches in a preseason poll. …
Arizona is not a complete team by any stretch of the imagination. There’s not much stability other than sophomore F Derrick Williams, who had 16 points and five rebounds last night and 27 and 14 in the opener. The starting backcourt of Lamont Jones and Kyle Fogg combined for 12 assists against NMS, but they also totaled seven points on 2-for-14 shooting. … F Jamelle Horne is the only senior on the roster, however, he’s been inconsistent after two games.
Up next: Sunday vs. Northern Colorado
**Updated: 11:36 a.m.***