1. Colorado Buffaloes (19-5, 8-3)
With Oregon dropping two games, Colorado easily moves into the top spot in the league. The Buffs had an impressive win over Stanford, their third straight victory, which was overshadowed by a terrifying injury in the contest to the Cardinal’s Oscar da Silva. Hopefully, da Silva is fine in time and the Buffs can stay afloat atop the conference. They may be the league’s best shot in March.
2. Oregon Ducks (18-6, 7-4)
A game back in the league standings of Colorado, the Ducks are far from out of it, but they definitely have not looked themselves as of late. Oregon is averaging 56.5 points per game in their last two outings, an almost twenty-point drop from their 75.8 points per game scoring average on the year. A Thursday, pre-Valentine’s Day battle with Colorado may decide the league title race.
3. Arizona Wildcats (16-7, 6-4)
Don’t look now but here come the Wildcats. Of course, Arizona ruined their three-game winning streak with a letdown loss to UCLA, yet I still think this group is finally hitting their stride and understanding what Sean Miller wants them to do out there. Are they a finished product? Far from it. So they’ll need to refocus quick for a key string of road games at California and Stanford.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (15-8, 6-4)
If you spend any time in your day trying to comprehend what goes on in the Pac-12, then I suggest you get some new hobbies before you absolutely lose your mind from the league’s volatile nature. Arizona State has been quietly improving for a while now and have cemented their growth with five victories in their last six contests. Remy Martin is also securing his spot in Sun Devils’ history.
5. USC Trojans (17-7, 6-5)
USC is currently on a three-game losing skid, which featured an overwhelming defeat at the hands of Colorado and two incredibly tough and morale challenging losses on the road at Arizona and Arizona State. Prior to that fallout, the Trojans looked to be possibly the league’s most consistent outfit so here you go, this is their Pac-12 moment of chaos. Andy Enfield’s boys haven’t sunk yet.
6. Utah Utes (14-9, 5-6)
The Utes are the team who is probably most comfortable playing at different tempos and styles in the Conference of Champions, as they’ve sometimes looked like an offensive juggernaut and at other times, a pure defensive fortress. Timmy Allen just continues to produce for this group at a special level, which gives them a shot on any given night against any given opponent.
7. UCLA Bruins (13-11, 6-5)
Mick Cronin’s ability to get this Bruins roster to keep working, keep developing and keep finding ways to win really shows how much he can do for a program at UCLA that’s lacked stability since the Ben Howland era. It’s amazing to think that with all that’s gone on this season for UCLA, they’re wins over Washington and Washington State away from being right back in the title hunt.
8. Stanford Cardinal (16-7, 5-5)
Obviously, Stanford is focusing their thoughts right now around big man Oscar da Silva’s injury and expecting that da Silva probably won’t be back for a while definitely has to severely change this Cardinal group operates. They’ve lost five of their last six overall anyway and things don’t get easier from here. Home meetings with the Arizona schools are upcoming this week.
9. Washington State Cougars (14-10, 5-6)
Most Pac-12 fans probably haven’t seen Washington State too much this season so the first thing to know about this squad is that they are definitely not the Cougars teams of seasons past. The new culture instilled under Kyle Smith has changed the approach and the belief in this program that they can actually go out and take down teams. The force is strong in Pullman right now.
10. California Golden Bears (10-13, 4-6)
Man, the job Mark Fox has done with a depth chart at California that looked bleak has really been something to behold. First of all, the Golden Bears ability to force their slower, drag-it-out style on opponents has been there most nights and California just continues to hang around with teams longer than they should. The wins aren’t there yet, but the fighting spirit definitely is.
11. Oregon State Beavers (14-9, 4-7)
The Beavers win at Stanford and rivalry victory over Oregon proved that there’s something in this group that when the light goes on, somebody is really home. However, the consistency that just eludes them becomes frustrating and tiresome after a while. If they can regroup with a split of their Utah and Colorado match-ups this week, they may find some wind in their sails going forward.
12. Washington Huskies (12-12, 2-9)
To be honest, rarely do I just have no clue what to say about a team but in the curious case of Washington, I’m as close to speechless as I can possibly be. The Huskies are in an all-out free-fall, as they’ve lost six straight games and eight of their last nine overall. Isaiah Stewart keeps producing on the interior, but the pieces just aren’t clicking. It’s a mess right now for Mike Hopkins.