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BTD’s Pac-12 Basketball Power Rankings: 12/4

The first edition of Pac-12 basketball power rankings brings a load of controversy to the list.

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Arizona State
Arizona State guard Tra Holder (22.1 PPG) has been the biggest factor in the Sun Devils’ 7-0 start.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

1. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-0)

Last Game: (W) 75-57 v. San Francisco | Streak: 7W

92.7 points per game. 16.4 assists per game. Notable wins over San Diego State, Kansas State and Xavier. It’s hard to argue with what the Sun Devils have accomplished so far, through just seven games of the 2017-2018 campaign. But are they for real? With showdowns against St. John’s and on the road at #2 Kansas coming in the next week, it seems like we’ll know sooner rather than later about the legitimacy of this Arizona State squad.

2. UCLA Bruins (7-1)

Last Game: (W) 106-73 v. Detroit-Mercy | Streak: 4W

The Bruins haven’t had all that difficult of an out-of-league slate, one of the main reasons their record is near flawless, except for a rough outing against a very difficult Creighton squad. Since that loss at the hands of the Bluejays, UCLA has made some strides defensively, where they’ll held opponents to 68 points per game through their last four contests. For a team that couldn’t guard their shadow a season ago, that’s significant progress.

3. USC Trojans (4-2)

Last Game: (L) 72-55 at SMU | Streak: 2L

USC thought they had a challenging enough non-conference slate to match their lofty pre-season expectations, where it was expected that the Trojans would be able to pick up a few impressive early season victories. Head coach Andy Enfield’s boys still get some credit for their road win at Vanderbilt, but they’re hanging on by the skin of their teeth after back-to-back losses to Texas A&M and SMU. This week’s tilt with Oklahoma will be huge for USC.

4. Arizona Wildcats (5-3)

Last Game: (W) 91-88 at UNLV | Streak: 2W

After an awful Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament that questioned the legitimacy of this Arizona group, the Wildcats regrouped on the mainland with two consecutive wins over Long Beach State and UNLV. That’s good news for head coach Sean Miller and company, who have a fearsome schedule still on the horizon. In the next week, Arizona will square off with both #9 Texas A&M and #24 Alabama, in two very daunting contests for a three-loss team.

5. Utah Utes (6-1)

Last Game: (W) 80-60 v. Hawaii | Streak: 2W

After quietly trudging along through the first month of the college basketball season, the Utes will begin to feel the heat turned up in the next two weeks, with some season-defining clashes on their slate. A road trip to Butler on Tuesday could be a tricky test for a Utah group still meshing together, but two straight in-state, rivalry games against Utah State and on the road at BYU will be much more interesting affairs. Does it really get better than the Utes and the Cougars in Provo?

6. Colorado Buffaloes (6-1)

Last Game: (L) 72-63 at Colorado State | Streak: 1L

The Buffs road loss in a rivalry game at Colorado State should be taken with a grain of salt, as head coach Tad Boyle and his team will want to retain some of their momentum from a surprising 6-0 start. However, the biggest thing hampering Colorado at the moment may be the fact that they haven’t really played all that tough of competition, outside of the Rams in Fort Collins. The Buffs will get New Mexico at home on Wednesday before traveling to #21 Xavier on Saturday. There’s the tougher opponents they’ve been waiting for.

7. Washington State Cougars (6-1)

Last Game: (L) 81-67 v. UC-Davis | Streak: 1L

Hands down, the hardest team to gauge at the moment in the Pac-12, Washington State had to shake up the conference picture from the onset by winning their first six games, which included a remarkable upset of #21 Saint Mary’s. So it’s now safe to say that everyone was completely thrown for a loop (again) by the Cougars, when they fell apart in their last game against UC-Davis. With road trips at Idaho and UTEP upcoming, there’s nothing to do with Washington State but expect the unexpected again.

8. Oregon Ducks (5-3)

Last Game: (L) 73-70 v. Boise State | Streak: 2L

In some weird and strange twist of fate, Oregon is actually getting the benefit of the doubt on our list, where they’ll sit right above Washington for at least two more weeks, pending they can find their way back into the win column. The Ducks have been the victims of back-to-back eye-opening losses, that began with falling to Oklahoma in a game where freshman Trae Young hung 43 points on Oregon and then losing at the buzzer on a half-court shot against Boise State.

9. Washington Huskies (6-2)

Last Game: (W) 86-73 v. Omaha | Streak: 4W

Washington fans will not be happy with the number nine spot on this list for their team, especially after considering that the team has won their last four games since a tough loss to Virginia Tech. However, it’s the Huskies’ cupcake schedule that’s to blame for their low spot in the power rankings more than anything, as a season-opening victory over Belmont may actually be their best win at this point. Mad or not, we’ll know more about this team after this week’s meetings with #2 Kansas and #15 Gonzaga.

10. Oregon State Beavers (4-3)

Last Game: (W) 78-74 v. Loyola Marymount | Streak: 2W

The Beavers sit one win away from matching last season’s win total already, a cautiously optimistic sign that head coach Wayne Tinkle may chalk last year up to one of the weirder flukes in Pac-12 basketball history. Oregon State still will need to prove their meddle against better competition, a chance they won’t really have until the end of December. Continuing to find positive results and avoiding slip-ups are the two keys for the Beavers right now.

11. Stanford Cardinal (4-6)

Last Game: (L) 76-68 at Long Beach State | Streak: 1L

The letdown of the Pac-12 through the early season has been Stanford, who was projected as potential NCAA Tournament contenders before the season and at this point, are looking more like National Invitation Tournament pretenders. Offensively, the Cardinal have been doing well enough to win, as they’ve scored under 70 points just twice all-season. It’s defensively where they need to improve, as they’ve allowed 85.5 points per contest to opponents in their six defeats this season.

12. California Golden Bears (3-5)

Last Game: (L) 74-63 v. Saint Mary’s | Streak: 1L

The Golden Bears have dropped four of their last five contests overall, which included a defeat at the hands Division II Chaminade at the Maui Invitational, a game in which head coach Wyking Jones was disgusted with the team’s “lack of effort”. There’s been times when California hasn’t looked too bad, in competitive losses to Wichita State and Saint Mary’s, but moral victories mean nothing. The Golden Bears have to do better.