With the start of the Pac-10 season, we’ll move the Power Rankings to Mondays as a way to tip off the week and review what happened over the weekend.
No games today and just two non-conference contests remaining (Hartford at California and Yale at Stanford) before league play begins Wednesday with the Washington schools visiting Los Angeles.
Here’s a quick recap of the non-conference season.
The Pac-10 posted a 5-13 record against ranked opponents. USC is the only league school with two wins over ranked foes and Washington State knocked off the highest ranked team, beating No. 15 Baylor.
The conference posted a 4-8 record in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The four-year series will be discontinued and the Pac-10 overall record is 20-28.
The Pac-10 posted a 75-38 non-conference record.
Pac-10 Power Rankings: Week 6
Photo credit: AP Photo – Eugene Tanner
In descending order …
No. 10 (Last week: 10) Oregon State (Record: 5-6, RPI rank: 326)
Recent results: Beat Illinois-Chicago 74-54, Lost 87-79 to George Washington
Senior guard Calvin Haynes returned to the starting lineup, which produced mixed results. He had six turnovers in the loss to GW and was a non-factor in the win over Illinois-Chicago. … Shortening the rotation would help the Beavers. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to focus on budding stars Jared Cunningham and Roberto Nelson. They’re the future and they have to play well together if OSU is going to do anything in the Pac-10 race.
Up next: Thursday vs. Arizona State, Saturday vs. Oregon
9. (7) Oregon (7-5, 178)
Recent results: Lost 69-65 to Idaho, Lost 63-48 at Virginia
If senior forward Joevan Catron and sophomore wing E.J. Singler don’t get some help, then it’s going to be long season for the Ducks. They’re the leading scorers, rebounders and they take most of the free throw attempts. … Oregon doesn’t have much size in the middle and that’s going to be big problem against teams like Washington, USC and UCLA. Jeremy Jacob and Tyrone Nared are both 6-8, but they average just 7.6 rebounds combined.
Next up: Thu. vs. Arizona, Sat. vs. ASU
8. (9) California (6-5, 32)
Recent results: Lost 78-63 vs. No. 3 Kansas; Beat Cal Poly 51-41
The Golden Bears are looking for an identity and perhaps a leader, which isn’t unexpected after losing its top four scorers from last season. Coach Mike Montgomery has played nine players in every game and 10 average at least 6.6 minutes. … If the league had a Comeback Player of the Year award, then 6-8 junior forward Harper Kamp would possibly win it. He sat out last year with an undisclosed injury and has given Cal stability in his return. He’s second in scoring and rebounding.
Next up: Tuesday vs. Hartford, Sunday at Stanford
7. (6) Stanford (6-4, 156)
Recent result: Lost 79-68 at Oklahoma State, lost 83-50 at Butler
The Cardinal played its first real road games and got hammered at Butler before losing respectfully at OSU. … Keep an eye on former Bellevue High standout Aaron Bright. The freshman logged a career high 33 minutes off the bench at OSU and scored a career-high 15 points. He also had four assists and no turnovers. … Stanford’s biggest concern is its lack of toughness inside. Junior Josh Owens is a potential all-conference player, but the 6-8 forward is surrounded by little guys and no one that will help defend inside and grab rebounds. Dwight Powell is a gamer, but the freshman is young and the 6-9, 227-pounder gets pushed around from time to time.
Next up: Tue vs. Yale, Sun. vs. Cal
6. (5) Arizona State (7-4, 106)
Recent results: Beat North Carolina AT&T 56-50, Beat Long Beach State 72-55, Beat Gardner-Webb 71-48
The Sun Devils had a 3-4 record before their four-game winning streak. Other than a home loss to Richmond and a defeat to St. John’s in Alaska, ASU has played to expectations. … Senior guard Ty Abbott, who was a first-team all-conference pick last season, appeared poised for a breakout season but he’s plateaued while sophomore guard Trent Lockett has developed into the go-to scorer. He’s increased his scoring average from 6.7 points per game last season to a team-leading 14.7.
Next up: Thu at OSU, Sat at Oregon
5. (8) UCLA (8-4, 88)
Recent results: Beat UC Irvine 74-73, Beat Montana State 75-59, Beat No. 16 BYU 86-79
There’s not a hotter team in the Pac-10 than the Bruins, which has won five straight games and lowered their RPI rank from 178 to 88. Still the one-point nail-biting win over UC Irvine is cause for concern. Granted UCLA didn’t have leading scorer Tyler Honeycutt (shoulder sprain), but there’s no reason the Anteaters (6-6) should have been that close. Honeycutt is expected to return this week.
Next up: Wed. vs. WSU, Friday vs. Washington
4. (4) Arizona (11-2, 43).
Recent results: Beat Robert Morris 82-56, Won at North Carolina State 72-62, Beat Northern Arizona 63-58
The Wildcats were picked second in the media preseason poll, but it feels as if they’re starting conference flying below the radar. It’s been a roller coaster ride so far for Arizona, which won five games to start the season and has since strung together two three-game winning streaks after losing to ranked opponents. … Arizona leads the conference in points allowed, surrendering an average of 61.7 points per game. The Wildcats also lead in rebounding margin with plus 6.2 and they’ve taken more free throws and shoot a better percentage (77.9) than anyone in the conference.
Next up: Thu at Oregon, Sun at OSU
3. (2) Washington State (10-2, 59).
Recent results: Lost 84-68 to Butler, Beat No. 15 Baylor 77-71, Beat Mississippi State 83-57, Beat Santa Clara 85-70 in overtime
Good week for the Cougars which posted a 3-1. If not for the 16-point lost to Butler in the finals of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, WSU might be sitting atop the rankings and included among the top 25 when the polls are released today. A couple of the Cougars’ wins lost some luster because Baylor and MSU dropped its final games in Hawaii. Still Washington State improved its RPI ranking from 112 to 59 and received significant national exposure. … Junior guard Klay Thompson (above, right) also distinguished himself as the Pac-10’s best player heading into conference play. He’s averaging a league-leading 22.3 points per game.
Next up: Wed at UCLA, Fri at USC
2. (3) Washington (8-3, 60)
Recent results: Beat Nevada 90-60, Beat San Francisco 80-52
Despite two blowout wins, UW’s RPI dropped 15 spots. … The Huskies begin conference play a little banged up. Justin Holiday strained his right foot in the previous game and Venoy Overton needed to sit out to rest a hyperextended left knee. Both are expected to return. … Washington is second in the country averaging 90.5 points per game.
Next up: Wed at USC, Fri at UCLA
1. (1) USC (8-5, 49)
Recent results: Beat Lehigh 76-49, Won 65-64 at No. 19 Tennessee, Lost 70-68 at No. 3 Kansas
It’s just the first of 81 Pac-10 games, but in many ways Wednesday’s contest between USC and Washington could go a long ways in deciding the conference champion. Both teams begin league play following a pair of impressive wins. No team is playing better than the Trojans, which seems to have discovered their missing mojo at the right time. Newcomer Jio Fontan scored 21 points in his home debut against Lehigh and after three games he leads the USC with a 16.3 scoring average. He rarely leaves the court, logging 35, 30 and 38 minutes respectively.
Up next: Wed vs UW, Fri vs. WSU