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December 16, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Pac-10 Power Rankings: Week 5

UC_Davis_UCLA_Basketball.JPG
Photo credit: AP Photo – Jae C. Hong
In descending order …
No. 10 (Last week: 10) Oregon State (Record: 4-5, RPI rank: 330)
Recent result:
Lost 71-66 at Montana, Beat Texas Pan American 89-69
The Beavers tend to start slow under coach Craig Robinson, lose a head scratcher or two then upset teams in the Pac-10. Well, OSU is off to s similar start this season. … It will be interesting to see how Robinson integrates redshirt freshman Roberto Nelson into the scheme. He’s played just two games, but has shown flashes and could be their best player while coming off the bench. In fact, OSU’s reserves are probably just as good if not better than the starters, especially if senior Calvin Haynes continues to be a backup.
Up next: Saturday vs. George Washington
9. (5) California (5-4, 32)
Recent results:
Lost 80-78 to Southern Mississippi
Markhuri Sanders-Frison is bothered by a sore left Achilles tendon and pain on the bottoms of both feet from plantar fasciitis. The injuries are limiting Cal’s 6-foot-7 center, which is bad news considering the Golden Bears have just four upperclassmen. … Cal has lost four of its past six games. … Coach Mike Montgomery said: “We’re inexperienced and we make inexperienced mistakes. We do things that we can’t afford to do at inopportune times and I don’t know if that’s going to change. … We can defend a little bit. We’re fairly tough. We’re getting better at executing, but still make lots of mistakes. … The people that have to make the tough plays haven’t made them before.”
Next up: Saturday vs. Cal Poly
8. (9) UCLA (5-4, 178)
Recent results:
Beat UC Davis 74-67, Beat Cal Poly 72-61
The Bruins are suffering from an identity crisis. Before the season coach Ben Howland talked about becoming a running team, however, it’s hard to run when big man Joshua Smith (above, right) is slowing down the fast break. The former Kentwood High star reportedly lost 50 pounds this summer and yet Howland said this week Smith still needs to get into shape. … It’s also puzzling why a school with a rich tradition of point guards has settled on JC transfer Lazeric Jones who averages nearly as many turnovers (2.7) as assists (2.9).
Next up: Saturday vs. No. 16 BYU


7. (8) Oregon (7-3, 126)
Recent results:
Beat Jacksonville State 74-56, Beat Willamette 100-67
New coach Dana Altman has brought his fullcourt pressing defense to Eugene and Oregon has adapted to it like Ducks to water. (Sorry. Bad pun) Oregon is forcing 9.1 steals, which is two more than last season’s average. Said Altman: “My teams the last 13-14 years have played this way. It’s the style I prefer to play. I like to press. … Our team kind of fits that. We’re undersized.” … Oregon has won three straight
games. Tomorrow’s matchup will be its first away game.
Next up: Friday at Virginia
6. (7) Stanford (6-2, 243)
Recent result:
Beat North Carolina A&T 76-59, Beat UC Riverside 55-48
The Cardinal have a three-game winning streak, but it feels like there’s not enough information yet to truly get a feel for Stanford. The Cardinal knocked off Virginia at home last month and beat DePaul in overtime. Otherwise, the schedule has been vanilla. A few weeks ago, Saturday’s Butler game looked a lot better than it does now. The Bulldogs are 5-4, losing three of their last five games.
Next up: Saturday at Butler
5. (6) Arizona State (4-4, 91)
Recent results:
Beat Gardner-Webb 71-48
Where’s the bench? In a blowout win over Gardner-Webb, ASU reserves scored just eight points. Each of the The Big Four (Ty Abbott, Rihards Kuksiks, Jamelle McMillan and Trent Lockett) played at least 31 minutes. The Sun Devils have seven new players and there’s a big dropoff when coach Herb Sendek goes to the backups. “It’s important early in the season we get consistent good play from all of our veteran players,” he said.
Next up: Friday at Nevada
4. (1) Arizona (8-2, 69).
Recent results:
Lost 87-65 at BYU.
Arizona and Washington are very similar. They’ve dominated mid-level opponents, while losing against the tougher foes. The Huskies, however, weren’t blown out the way the Wildcats have been. It may seem like an 87-79 defeat to No. 3 Kansas isn’t awful, but the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Neither was the 22-point defeat to BYU. The combined record of the eight teams Arizona has beaten is 32-43 and no team has a winning record.
Next up: Tonight vs. Northern Arizona.
3. (2) Washington (6-3, 45)
Recent results:
Lost 63-62 at Texas A&M
If the pattern holds true to form, the Huskies will plow through the next two games – a pair of home contests against San Francisco and Nevada – before stumbling on the road in the Pac-10 opening weekend against the Los Angeles schools. Washington has developed a Jekyll and Hyde personality after nine games. The Huskies are amazing at home where they average 104 points and have a 21-game non-conference winning streak. On the road, however, they’re 1-3 and averaging 76.5 points. They’ve led at halftime in every game and even been within two points in the final minute of every defeat. (Corrected: 4:15 p.m.) … Coach Lorenzo Romar said 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye will get more playing time and sophomore guard Abdul Gaddy will get more shots.
Next up: Saturday vs. San Francisco
2. (3) Washington State (7-1, 112).
Recent results:
Beat Texas Pan-American 74-52
Coach Ken Bone inserted the up-tempo offense last year and this season he’s emphasizing defense. WSU allowed 70.6 points last season, which was ninth in the Pac-10. This season the Cougars are giving up just 56.4 points per game, which is 12th in the nation. … Klay Thompson (20.8 points per game) and Faisal Aden (18.3) are No. 1 and 3 respectively in the conference in scoring. Thompson is becoming a better all-around player it seems as if no still has the proper scouting report on Aden who has sank 21 three-pointers and just seven free throws. Some concerns: Reggie Moore (wrist) and DeAngelo Casto (foot) still are not completely healthy and the Cougars have yet to play a good team on the road. We should know a lot more about WSU after next week’s Diamond Head Classic, which includes No. 9 Baylor.
Next up: Sunday at Santa Clara.
ldhmjo-b78732482z.120101215130336000gqqsa7qj.1.jpg1. (4) USC (6-4, 123)
Recent results:
Beat Northern Arizona 60-52
Coach Kevin O’Neill believes the Trojans could be 8-2 or 9-1 if they had newcomer Jio Fontan (right). Even without the former Fordham star, USC lost a pair of games by a combined three points. Without a doubt, the Trojans are carrying the Pac-10 banner and the next six days may be the most important stretch of the season for USC and the conference. The Trojans play at No. 3 Kansas on Saturday and No. 7 Tennessee on Tuesday. Win those games and USC will find itself in the rankings despite its four losses. More importantly, the Trojans would only need to secure 10 or so Pac-10 victories to earn a NCAA tournament invitation. USC already has the best win in the conference, toppling No. 19 Texas. … Junior F Nikola Vucevic has six double doubles this season. … Back to Fontan, without playing a game, he’s made a big fan out of O’Neill who loves the guy. “He’s our best player,” O’Neill said of Fontan. “He’s our best leader. He’s our best scorer. He’s our best defender. He’s our best passer. He is our best guard. He’s our best player. I think all of our players know that. It’s obviously tough for him to open up at Kansas and at Tennessee. I think we’ll all expect too much of him. But I think our players have a lot of confidence in him. He’s a tremendous leader. And I think he’s going to be a real difference maker on our basketball team.”
Up next: Saturday at No. 3 Kansas

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, top 25, UCLA

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