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Friday, December 7, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: Pac-12

By Jason King

The Pac-12 continues to be one of the more entertaining leagues in the country. No truly elite teams -- at least not yet -- but no really bad ones, either. Even Utah and Washington State are coming around. One week into the season, here’s my best attempt at a power ranking.

1. Arizona. The Wildcats are undefeated against a relatively weak schedule and had to rally to beat Southern Miss at home Tuesday, so the book is still out on Sean Miller’s squad. Point guard Mark Lyons has more turnovers (18) than assists (14). Winning at Clemson Saturday won’t be easy.

2. Colorado. The Buffaloes appear to have bounced back from a pair of shaky performances against Texas Southern (an overtime win) and Wyoming (a road loss). Guard Spencer Dinwiddie draws praise for his defense, but he’s also Colorado’s scoring leader with 17.8 points per game. Next up: a tilt with No. 10 Kansas Saturday in Lawrence.

3. Oregon. The Ducks have been one of the league’s biggest surprises, with their only loss coming against an excellent Cincinnati team in Las Vegas. Carlos Emory and Damyean Dotson each average 11 points. Oregon will have a week off following Saturday’s home game against Idaho State.

4. Cal. Just when people were beginning to get excited about Cal basketball, the Golden Bears laid an egg against Wisconsin and lost by 25 points. The one bright spot was Allen Crabbe, who scored 25 points against the Badgers and is now averaging 22.4 points on the season.

5. Oregon State. The Beavers’ two losses -- to Kansas and Alabama -- have come by a combined nine points. Center Angus Brandt is out for the season with an injury, which is a tough blow for Craig Robinson’s squad. But guard Ahmad Starks is a scoring machine and forward Eric Moreland had 16 rebounds against KU.

6. Arizona State. Point guard Jahii Carson has completely reshaped the Sun Devils, who are playing at a much faster pace to capitalize on Carson’s talents. It wouldn’t be shocking if Arizona State won its next five games and entered Pac-12 play with a 12-1 record.

7. UCLA. Saturday’s game against Texas in Houston will feature two of college basketball’s most underachieving teams. Freshman Jordan Adams has been one of the few brights spots for the Bruins. The guard is averaging 17.8 points and scored 23 in Saturday’s loss to San Diego State.

8. Stanford. The Cardinal are 6-3, with the only noticeable win coming in a victory against Northern Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Guard Chasson Randle has made just 10 of his last 34 field goal attempts, including a 3-of-14 performance from beyond the arc. Stanford doesn’t play again until Dec. 15.

9. Washington State. Cougars coach Ken Bone deserves a ton of credit for his team’s near upset of Gonzaga on Wednesday. Washington State looked like a completely different team than the one that lost to Pepperdine and Texas A&M last month. Guard DaVonte Lacy returned after a four-game absence and scored 22 points.

10. USC. The Trojans have the worst record in the league at 3-5. But consider this: The five teams that have defeated USC have a combined record of 35-4. The Trojans -- who are playing with almost an entirely different roster than last season -- aren’t very good but they’re not terrible, either.

11. Washington. Saturday’s game against Nevada will be huge for a team trying to gain some momentum. C.J. Wilcox is averaging 19.7 points for the Huskies while Abdul Gaddy is pitching in 14. Sharpshooter Scott Suggs has missed the last three games with an injury.

12. Utah. Count Larry Krystkowiak among the coaches who are doing an excellent job. On Wednesday the Utes defeated Boise State by 21 points. Yes, it was the same Boise State squad that whipped Creighton one week earlier in Omaha. Utah has won five of its last six games.