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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

December 21, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 6

In ascending order …
12. (Last week: 10) Arizona State (Record: 4-8, RPI: 177)
Recent results:
Lost to Fresno State 68-64, Lost 64-61 to Southern Mississippi
Junior-college transfer Chris Colvin started five of the first six games, but following a 14-minute scoreless outing against DePaul on Nov. 27 he’s gradually disappeared from the rotation. Colvin was helping with the point guard duties, but he has more turnovers (30) than assists (26) which is a big no-no in coach Herb Sendek’s ball-control system. Colvin has logged two minutes in the past three games, which has forced Keala King, a shooting guard who has switched to point guard, to shoulder more responsibilities. King also has more turnovers (44) than assists (37), but Sendek has no other viable option at point guard. Arizona State has had four straight games decided by shots in the final seconds, losing the last three.
Up next: Dec. 31 at Arizona
No.11 (12) Utah (3-8, 320)
Recent result:
Beat Portland 72-67, Beat Idaho State 72-59
Glen Dean, the former Rainier Beach High and Eastern Washington star who transferred Utah, underwent successful brain surgery last week and left the hospital Sunday. According to a statement released by Utah he suffered from a congenital blood vessel malformation and is expected to make a full recovery. The Utes dedicated the Idaho State win to Dean. Utah has won consecutive games for the first time this season. Coach Larry Krystkowiak knew things would be rough this season when senior center David Foster suffered a foot injury and is likely out for the season. “We won our last two ball games so life has changed around here,” Krystowiak said. “Winning games and getting a couple of victories is good medicine for everybody’s soul and makes us feel better about working.”
Up next: Thursday at Weber State
10. (11) USC (5-7, 147)
Recent results:
Beat TCU 83-59, Lost 63-59 to Georgia
The offense is atrocious and ranks 331st out of 345 teams in the nation, but the Trojans busted out in a big way and tallied a season-high 83 points in a win over TCU. It may be a sign of things to come because the Trojans are finally getting healthy. The roster has been decimated by injuries. “We got a whole new team and we got crushed by injuries,” coach Kevin O’Neill said. “Jio (Fontan) is out … then Dewayne Dedmon, James Blasczyk and Aaron Fuller couldn’t practice for about four weeks. They were playing games only and there’s no way you can get better. All of those guys were able to practice the last week in and a half.” USC also starts two freshman wings (Byron Wesley and Alexis Moore) who are improving. Despite the early offensive troubles, the Trojans have lost seven games by a combined margin of 6.3 points because of their stingy defense that allows 55.4 points per game and ranks 12th in the nation.
Up next: Thursday vs. No. 12 Kansas

9. (7) Washington (5-5, 104)
Recent results:
Lost 92-73 to South Dakota State, Beat UC Santa Barbara 87-80
Coach Lorenzo Romar described Sunday’s 19-point defeat to SDSU as an ‘aberration,’ and didn’t want to read too much into it. Still the Huskies have lost five of their last seven games and their best win is against Georgia State. If there’s a silver lining, each defeat may have come against teams that will play in the NCAA tournament. Washington will likely get one last look at the four-guard lineup because junior Aziz N’Diaye (knee) is returning after missing the past two games. The 7-foot center should help a defense that’s allowing 76.3 points per game.
Up next: Thursday vs Cal State Northridge
8. (9) UCLA (6-5, 193)
Recent results:
Beat UC Irvine 89-60, Beat UC Davis 82-39
If not for a second-half meltdown against Texas, UCLA would have a six-game winning streak. Still the Bruins have won four in a row and their over .500 for the first time this season, which is an amazing achievement considering how disjointed the team was during its 1-4 start. “Our chemistry is definitely better,” coach Ben Howland said. “It’s improved. There’s less distraction. More focus. More cohesion.” Still it remains to be seen if the Bruins, the preseason Pac-12 favorite, are legitimate conference contender. UCLA has beaten just one team with a winning record (Pepperdine) and the combined record of its past four opponents is 14-27.
Up next: Friday vs. Richmond
7. (8) Colorado (6-4, 94)
Recent result:
Beat Cal State Bakersfield 70-64
Freshman forward Damiene Cain, who quit basketball to focus on academics and then rejoined the team, made his debut two weeks ago in the eighth game of the season. He’s played two games as a reserve and sat out Monday due to illness. “It’s an unusual situation and one I have not dealt with in 17 years of coaching Division I basketball,” coach Tad Boyle said. “Great young man. Still trying to figure out what’s important to him and his life.” A 6-foot-7, 240-pounder, Cain was rated a national top-150 recruit. Boyle estimated Cain is about 60-70 percent the player he expects him to be and said he’s trying to catch up mentally with what the Buffaloes are doing. Cain adds size and bulk to a Colorado team that starts four guards.
Up next: Thursday vs. Texas Southern
6. (6) Washington State (6-4, 137)
Recent result:
Beat Western Oregon 66-42
No movement in the top six this week. Can’t reward Washington State for beating up a Division II team at home and I almost wanted to dock them a spot for scheduling the Cougar Hardwood Classic on the same day and time as Washington’s game. Folks in the Seattle-area can see WSU at KeyArena on Thursday against Pepperdine. WSU has the longest winning streak in the Pac-12 with five straight wins. It’s going to be interesting to see how coach Ken Bone juggles minutes with the return of injured players senior guard Faisal Aden, who is WSU’s leading scorer, Abe Lodwick (foot), a two-year starter, and junior guard Mike Ladd (thumb), a Fresno State transfer. All three came off the bench and played at least 14 minutes, which is easy to do during a 24-point win against a cupcake like Western Oregon. If everyone accepts their roles, Bone may have the deepest team he’s ever had in his three years at WSU.
Up next: Thursday vs. Pepperdine in Seattle
5. (5) Oregon (7-3, 73)
Recent result:
Beat North Carolina Central 58-45, Lost 67-54 to Virginia
Oregon is hosting a tournament against three patsies to finish the nonconference season. The Ducks had a chance to capture a statement win Sunday, but lost by 13 at home to Virginia. Newcomer Devoe Joseph, a 6-4 guard who transferred from Minnesota, will likely move into the starting lineup next week when Oregon begins Pac-12 play. “He’s a gifted basketball player,” coach Dana Altman said. “He’s really got a good feel for things. Defensively he’s a good player. Very competitive. Can get his own shot. Really has given us a lift in these last three ball games. He’s someone that will be a big part of our team as we get into the conference part of our schedule.” Joseph is averaging a team-high 14.3 points per game. He’s second on the team in assists (2.8 per game) and averages 2.5 rebounds.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Prairie View A&M
4. (4) No. 23 Arizona (8-4, 35)
Recent results:
Beat Oakland 85-73, Lost 71-60 to Gonzaga in Seattle
The computers just can’t seem to agree when it comes to selecting which team is the best in the Pac-12. Arizona has the highest RPI in the conference. California (15) tops the Pomeroy ratings and Stanford (20) is first in the Sagarin ratings. Still two of the three rating systems agree the Wildcats have the toughest schedule among Pac-12 schools and that partly explains why Arizona has lost four games. Two of the losses were at neutral sites, one was a true road game and the other was at home. Still the Wildcats don’t have an embarrassing defeat. Falling to San Diego State (10-2) was a setback, but the Aztecs also beat Cal. Coach Sean Miller on freshman guard Nick Johnson: “He’s a winner. Wise beyond his years. … He’s been on a very focused path to be a great player. … At times he’s been our team’s best player. He’s certainly one of our more consistent.” Johnson, a natural shooting guard, has assumed the point guard duties. He’s averaging 10.4 points and has had six assists in each of the past two games.
Up next: Thursday vs. Bryant University
3. (3) Oregon State (9-2, 131)
Recent results:
Beat Portland State 101-68, Beat Howard 93-72
When did Oregon State become Washington? The Beavers are forcing 27 turnovers per game, which ranks second in the nation. They’re averaging 82.6 points per game, which is 10th in the country. They’ve scored 100 points twice this season and dominated at home – not including a 14-point loss to Idaho. Junior guard Jared Cunningham leads the conference with a 17.0 scoring average. The high-scoring attack has allowed junior forward Joe Burton to flourish. The play-making big man has 4.1 assists, which is tied for fifth in the Pac-12.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Chicago State
2. (2) California (10-2, 64)
Recent results:
Beat UC Santa Barbara 70-50, Beat Weber State 77-57
Friday’s game against No. 21 UNLV is significant considering it’s the last opportunity for a Pac-12 team to gain a nonconference win against a ranked opponent. The Pac-12 is 0-10 this season. Coach Mike Montgomery said there’s more pressure on teams to finish high in the league standings than ever before in order to receive a NCAA tournament berth. “When everybody was winning and everybody was ranked you’re saying man we could finish in fifth and get in,” he said. “It’s not that way right now because we’ve already made our bed and now … teams are going to have to finish up very strong to have a chance. Obviously the conference tournament winner goes, but after that all bets are off.” Sophomore forward Richard Solomon (foot) hopes to return when the conference season begins. The Golden Bears can ill afford to lose him or anyone else because Montgomery uses a seven-man rotation.
Up next: Friday vs No. 21 UNLV
1. (1) Stanford (10-1, 65)
Recent results:
Beat Bethune-Cookman 75-56, Beat San Diego 75-55
Blowout victories in nine of their 11 games have allowed coach Johnny Dawkins to empty his bench in those lopsided wins and develop the deepest rotation in the Pac-12. However, he plans to reduce the rotation next week. “It’s difficult, but I really think it’s a good problem to have,” Dawkins said. “Our kids have really bought in to understanding the value of having the depth that we have. … Do I anticipate us playing that many players as we move into conference play, I really don’t. I think we’ll settle into a 9-10 man rotation. I think that’s good depth and it will still provide us the continuity that we have. Stanford is a team without stars. No one averages more than 29 minutes and 13 points per game. “I like our team chemistry,” Dawkins said. “I think our guys have done a good job of really understanding what we want and have played really well together.”
Up next: Thursday vs. Butler

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