1. Oregon Ducks (6-1)
Dana Altman’s team will be hurt by the loss of N’Faly Dante for the season to a torn ACL and how they operate without their center now becomes the focus of their season. Former transfers Eugene Omoruyi and Eric Williams Jr. have become the legitimate stars on this group’s depth chart.
2. UCLA Bruins (5-2)
There’s no need to jump off the Bruins bandwagon because of a defeat at the hands of a ranked Ohio State team because outside of that defeat, UCLA has looked like a team finding it’s way little by little. Mick Cronin’s guys really would’ve benefited from a preseason. Too bad. It’s go time now.
3. Washington State Cougars (6-0)
Washington State may have the only flawless record in the league, but the Cougars haven’t exactly been battle-tested by the toughest group of foes. Washington State is a likeable squad, a hard-nosed team, a smart group, they check a lot of boxes across the board. Consistency is key.
4. USC Trojans (4-1)
The Trojans’ hiatus has taken them out of the national spotlight quite a bit, yet USC will be just fine if they return to their previous form against their conference opponents. Freshman phenom Evan Mobley gets so much love from this roster that the other pieces can’t go missing for Andy Enfield.
5. Colorado Buffaloes (5-1)
Don’t sleep on Tad Boyle and the Buffs now. They may have gotten clipped by Tennessee on short notice, but they’ve been on an absolute offensive tear since, averaging 88.0 points per game over their last three contests. Colorado can be the surprise of the league before the end of the year.
6. Stanford Cardinal (4-2)
I believe that Stanford’s time to make-or-break their campaign will come during Pac-12 play, as this Cardinal unit needs to rise up the conference ladder. Jerod Haase’s boys lost to North Carolina and Indiana in their non-league schedule leaving their victory over Arizona as vital.
7. Arizona Wildcats (5-1)
Arizona and Colorado probably would’ve flip-flopped spots had the Wildcats found a way to hold off Stanford. It’s been a quiet go of things for Sean Miller down in the desert, mostly because his team is an unheralded cast of developing talent, instead of a who’s who of potential pro prospects.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-3)
Bobby Hurley’s crew will likely rise in time, which leaves their defeat at the hands of UTEP as a really puzzling mark on their resume. In a few months time, will we look back on the Miners’ shocking upset as a true “wake up call” or just the “sign of things to come” for the Sun Devils?
9. Utah Utes (4-1)
The Utes only big test thus far has been a rivalry clash at BYU, where Utah was vastly over-matched on the glass by the Cougars and couldn’t compete across the board with their opponent’s balance. Alfonso Plummer has made the senior jump, but Timmy Allen needs a lot more help.
10. Oregon State Beavers (3-3)
The Beavers campaign has been a very sordid tale and proof that winning is a trait that must be learned and can’t simply be discovered overnight. The quality of wins compared to the value of losses for this team simply isn’t good right now. An exciting 2-0 start has gone by the wayside.
11. California Golden Bears (4-4)
Mark Fox and company needed a buzzer-beater to get by giant-killer San Francisco and another win over Cal State-Northridge brought this group back to the .500 mark. The Golden Bears aren’t going to turn heads and are way too top-heavy with their big three right now.
12. Washington Huskies (1-6)
Despite being led by the 2018 and 2019 Pac-12 Coach of the Year in Mike Hopkins, the Huskies can’t seem to get things right this season. Last year ended a mess in the Evergreen State and 2020 hasn’t been much better for Washington. What a mess it’s getting to be in Seattle.