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January 25, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 4

PAC-12.jpegThe Pac-12 should be miffed this week. There were some changes in national polls, but the conference didn’t get a second team ranked to complement No. 4 Stanford.
That honor went to the West Coast Conference, which has No. 22 Gonzaga (18-3, 6-1 WCC) and No. 23 BYU (17-3, 7-1) ranked in the Associated Press media poll. True, it’s BYU’s inaugural season in the WCC after being part of the Mountain West Conference, but still. The WCC has an overall RPI ranking of ninth while the Pac-12’s is fifth with a combined 138-80 record.
Scheduling is helping the WCC appear strong. St. Mary’s (15-6 6-2) is an improved team, ahem, outside that 66-64 loss to San Francisco, and it defeated both the Cougs and Zags to give some weight to the top half of the conference. The Zags and Cougs also don’t play each other until February, giving both time to gobble up more wins, which always looks good.
Meanwhile the Pac-12 is suffering through injuries and beating each other up in a wide-open race for second place. Southern California still gets votes by national media (28). But the team that’s getting overlooked, however, is California, which is on a six-game win streak. When you look at the Bears’ losses this season, only the 60-55 road stumble at UCLA makes you wince. And Cal’s RPI is at 35, right below the Zags (34). BYU’s? A respectable 44.
Although Oregon State’s matchup with Oregon is probably the conference’s game of the week simply because of the turnaround the Beavers have made, what Cal does at Stanford could say a lot about the Pac-12 and its NCAA tournament bid hopes.
Is the conference being dissed? Or does it deserve a second look now that its teams have had a chance to adjust to all of the changes?
For the complete schedule this week, click here. Below is how I’m ranking the teams.
Ranking (Last Week) Team (Record): Comment
1. (1) Stanford (17-1, 8-0): Freshmen starting to contribute to balance strong offense.
2. (3) California (15-5, 6-2): Ridding 6-game win streak into showdown with Stanford.
3. (2) USC (10-7, 5-2): Trying to continue 4-game win streak v Colorado on Thursday.
4. (4) Colorado (14-4, 3-4): Hosts USC in rematch of 2011 WNIT quarterfinal loss.
5. (9) ASU (13-5, 4-3): Wouldn’t be surprised if Sun Devils swept Washington schools.
6. (5) WSU (9-10, 3-4): Flubbed chance to make statement in loss to Cal on Sunday.
7. (8) OSU (12-7, 3-5): Hosts Oregon for Civil War on ROOT Sport at 4 p.m. (PT) Sat.
8. (6) Arizona (13-6, 2-5): Wildcats have lost four of past five games by avg. 6.5 points.
9. (7) UCLA (8-10, 3-4): Plays at Colorado on ROOT Sport at 1 p.m. (PT) this Sunday.
10. (10) Oregon (11-9, 3-5): Won first road game of the season 83-62 at UCLA.
11. (11) Washington (10-7, 2-5): Shooting 30.4 percent from the field in past four games.
12. (12) Utah (9-9, 2-5): Ranks 27th in the NCAA in scoring defense (53.6).
The Players of the Week:
Pac-12: Stanford sophomore F Chiney Ogwumike.
WCC: Gonzaga senior F Katelan Redmon.
Big Sky: Eastern Washington junior C Carrie Ojeda.
WAC: Hawai’i sophomore F Kamilah Jackson.
My Golden Apple: Oregon dug deep and with the help of a career-high four three-pointers from sophomore F Danielle Love (Cascade HS), defeated UCLA 83-62 on Saturday. It was the Ducks’ first road win of the season and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Bruins in LA. Love finished with a career-high-tying 16 points.
Play it back: In the shadow of the NFL division championship games Sunday, there were about a dozen NCAA women’s hoops games on TV and none named Connecticut. Colorado and Arizona started slow, but put on a show that lined up well against the Big East and Big 12. Of the conference’s two dynamic players in Wildcats G Davellyn Whyte and Buffs G Chucky Jeffery, the latter had the last word in Colorado’s 56-64 road win.



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