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Conference Power Rankings: Pac-12

1/11/2013

Arizona finally ran out of good fortune and, as a result, we have a new contender for the Pac-12 title. Here are this week's power rankings.

1. Oregon -- The unranked Ducks became the first team this season to defeat No. 4 Arizona when they pulled off a 70-66 upset Thursday in Eugene. A 41-19 run in the first half led to a 41-30 cushion at intermission. Dana Altman's squad staved off a late Wildcats rally to secure the win. Freshmen Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis combined for 19 points, and four Ducks finished in double figures. Oregon also owns a victory against UNLV.

2. Arizona -- There's certainly no reason to panic after one loss, and the Wildcats still should be considered the favorite to win the league. But the race will be much closer than expected if freshmen big men Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski don't progress at a faster rate. The trio went a combined 3-for-13 from the field Thursday. But point guard Mark Lyons is averaging 19 points in his past three games.

3. UCLA -- Thursday's road win at Utah marked the eighth victory in a row overall for the Bruins, who won despite a six-point effort from leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad. Ben Howland's squad will face a huge test against Colorado on Saturday in Boulder. Win that game, and UCLA will be considered a legitimate contender for the Pac-12 title, if it's not already.

4. Arizona State -- The Sun Devils are one of the most improved teams in the country at 14-2 overall and 3-0 in league play. Freshman point guard Jahii Carson (16.9 points) has been a huge reason for Arizona State's success, but the unsung hero has been senior forward Carrick Felix, who averages 15.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds. The Sun Devils face Oregon in Eugene on Sunday in a clash of teams with undefeated league records.

5. Colorado -- The Buffaloes finally appear to have put last week's "loss" to Arizona behind them. Colorado held a comfortable lead for most of Thursday's 66-60 victory against USC before the Trojans made things close at the end. Freshman Josh Scott has scored in double figures in seven straight games. He'll try to make it eight in a row when Colorado hosts UCLA on Saturday.

6. Washington -- The Huskies have won six of their past seven, the loss being a Dec. 29 road game against Connecticut. Lorenzo Romar's team dominated Cal 62-47 on Wednesday -- and that victory came on the road. If it defeats Stanford Saturday, Washington will own a 3-0 Pac-12 record, with all three victories coming away from home. Talk about a momentum boost. C.J. Wilcox averages a team-high 18.5 points.

7. Oregon State -- Wednesday's 72-62 home loss to Arizona State marked the third defeat in four games for the Beavers, who have suspended forward Eric Moreland indefinitely. Even if it's just for a game or two, the loss of Moreland (10.8 points, 11.1 rebounds) is huge for a team whose next two games are against Arizona and UCLA. A season that began with such promise has turned sour for Oregon State.

8. Utah -- These rankings are based on how well teams are playing at the moment, regardless of overall record. That's why Utah is No. 8 despite being 0-3 in league play. The Utes' three conference losses have come against upper-tier teams Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA -- and all have been by four points or less. Larry Krystkowiak is doing an outstanding job with a team that won only six games last season.

9. Cal -- The Golden Bears' subpar record (9-6, 1-2) has overshadowed an outstanding season thus far by forward Allen Crabbe, who is averaging 20.5 points. Crabbe has scored 20 or more points in nine of his team's 15 games. Cal has lost three of its past four, although upcoming games with Washington State, Stanford and Utah all appear winnable.

10. USC -- The Trojans are a mess. USC had 23 turnovers in Thursday's 66-60 loss at Colorado, and haven't won a road game since November 2011. Coach Kevin O'Neill can't figure out what he wants to do with junior college transfer J.T. Terrell, who is talented but lacks discipline on the court. Senior point guard Jio Fontan has been a huge disappointment since returning from an ACL injury that forced him to miss last season. He's shooting just 30.9 percent from the field.

11. Stanford -- After opening Pac-12 play with losses at USC and UCLA, the Cardinal notched their first conference win by defeating Washington State 78-67 on Wednesday. Stanford still needs to get better production out of guard Chasson Randle, who is averaging 13.3 points but shooting just 37.7 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range. Stanford hosts Washington on Saturday.

12. Washington State -- The Cougars couldn't be off to a worse start. They opened league play by dropping a home game to rival Washington, then fell to Stanford on the road. WSU will remain in the Bay Area this weekend to take on Cal. DaVonte Lacy is averaging just 6.5 points in his past two games. Forward Brock Motum (20 points, 6.5 rebounds) scored 29 against Stanford.