In descending order …
10 (Last week: 10) Oregon State (Record: 3-3, RPI rank: 334)
Recent result: Lost 70-68 to Utah Valley
Coach Craig Robinson has some major problems. Losing at home last night to the Wolverines was perhaps the worst loss this year for the Pac-10. Not sure where Robinson goes from here. He’s got a quick turnaround before the Beavers play again. There’s one bright spot for OSU, sophomore Roberto Nelson is expected to make his college debut Dec. 12. His college career has been delayed by the NCAA, which investigated his eligibility.
Up next: Saturday at Colorado, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
9. (7) USC (4-4, 207)
Recent result: Lost 81-69 at TCU.
After starting 2-0, Trojans have lost four of the past six games. Coach Kevin O’Neill put it best when he told the Los Angeles Times: “We’re playing three freshmen (guards Bryce Jones and Maurice Jones and forward Garrett Jackson) major minutes, our center (Alex Stepheson) has a broken hand, we lost four of our top six [players] from last year from a team that won 16 games. We’re going to be up and down.”
Up next: Sunday vs. Texas, 7:30 p.m. (FSN)
8. (8) Oregon (4-2, 173)
Recent result: Lost 98-71 to Duke.
There’s no shame being clobbered by the top-ranked Blue Devils so there’s no real reason to drop the Ducks in the rankings. New coach Dana Altman has revved up the offense and Oregon is averaging 75.8 points per game. Joevan Catron, who played just four games last season because of a back injury, has made a nice return this season. He’s fourth in the Pac-10 averaging 18.8 points.
Up next: Tonight vs. Missouri, 8 p.m. (FSN)
7. (9) Arizona State (3-2, 87)
Recent result: Lost 67-58 to St. John’s.
ASU beat a pair of teams that have a combined 1-8 record at the Great Alaska Shootout before losing to St. John’s. Health is an issue. The Sun Devils’ top four players are nursing injuries. Ty Abbott (deep thigh bruise), Richards Kuksiks (elbow) and Trent Lockett (hip). Abbott (11.8 ppg.) and Kuksiks (8.2) are off to a slow start, but Lockett (18.6) has made up the difference. He’s led ASU in scoring in four games. Washington isn’t the only team with free throw troubles. ASU is 59 percent at the charity stripe.
Up next: Tonight at Baylor, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
6. (6) UCLA (3-2, 154)
Recent result: Lost 89-85 to Virginia Commonwealth
Freshman center Joshua Smith, the former Kentwood High star, is struggling to stay on the floor. He’s committed four fouls in each of his first five games and it took him just 13 minutes to do it against VCU. The Bruins are averaging a league-high 16.2 turnovers per game, which speaks to their inexperience at the point guard position.
Up next: Tonight at Kansas, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
5. (4) Stanford (4-2, 242)
Recent result: Beat DePaul 81-74 OT.
The Cardinal lost to Murray State and Tulsa before salvaging a seventh-place finish at the 76 Classic with an overtime win over 1-4 DePaul. Stanford barely beat the Blue Demons, outscoring them 14-7 in the extra period. There’s been no official update from Stanford on star junior Jeremy Green who had been ill before the game, collapsed on the court and taken to a local medical center.
Up next: Dec. 12 vs. UC Riverside.
4. (2) California (3-2, 38)
Recent result: Beat UC Davis 74-62
After a red-hot start, the Golden Bears were blown out in two games before last night’s win. Cal set a new standard for offensive ineptitude, mustering just five points in the first half in a loss to Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Old Spice Classic last week. Two days later, the Bears scored 46 points in a loss to Boston College. Cal still has the best two wins in the Pac-10, knocking of then-No. 20 Temple and New Mexico. The Bears also have the best RPI rank in the Pac-10.
Up next: Saturday at Iowa State, 1 p.m. (FSN)
3. (3) Washington (4-2, 109)
Recent result: Beat Long Beach State 102-75.
There are 347 Division I college basketball teams and UW is tied at 328th with a 58.1 free throw percentage. Conversely, the Huskies are fourth in three-point accuracy shooting 45.5 percent behind the arc. UW is also second in the country scoring 93.7 points per game.
Up next: Saturday vs. Texas Tech, 1 p.m. (FSN)
2. (1) Arizona (6-1, 87)
Recent result: Beat Rice 84-57
The Wildcats hung with No. 6 Kansas before losing 87-79. Derrick Williams continues to make a name for himself. KU coach Bill Self called him the best player on the court after their game and Williams is drawing Player of the Year attention. Fouls have been a problems him. He’s been disqualified from the past two games and has at least three fouls in five games. Also there’s a big drop-off after Williams. Arizona has a 10-man roster in which everyone averages at least 14 minutes.
Up next: Sunday vs. Oklahoma, 2 p.m. (FSN)
1. (5) Washington State (5-0, 121)
Recent result: Beat Sacramento State 84-36.
Klay Thompson leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 22.2 points per game and newcomer Faisal Aden is third at 20.8. Thompson also leads the conference with 5.2 assists per game. The Cougars are the only unbeaten team in the Pac-10 and they’re off to another fast star. Last year, WSU raced out to 6-0 before it was drilled by Gonzaga and Kansas State. Guess who the Cougs play in their next two games? They’ll also get a big boost with the return of DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore, who is expected to make his season debut this week.
Next up: Friday vs. Kansas State, 8 p.m. (FSN)