Pac-12 men’s basketball power rankings: week 16

Oregon rises back to top of list after sweeping Colorado, Utah; Trojans get back on track

The+Cougars+lost+both+games+this+weekend+after+beating+their+rival+Washington+last+weekend.++Senior+forward+Jeff+Pollard+helped+out+in+the+game+against+UCLA+by+scoring+a+season-high+20+points.+

OLIVER MCKENNA

The Cougars lost both games this weekend after beating their rival Washington last weekend. Senior forward Jeff Pollard helped out in the game against UCLA by scoring a season-high 20 points.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen columnist

  1. No. 14 Oregon

The Ducks returned to the top spot in the conference after sweeping Colorado and Utah. Despite coming off of two straight losses, they were able to take down the Buffaloes in one of the biggest Pac-12 matchups of the year. They previously lost to Colorado in their first conference game of the season in January. The Ducks avenged their loss this time around behind 21 points from sophomore guard Will Richardson. They kept their momentum rolling with a blowout win over the Utes. Richardson scored another 18 points but was outscored by senior guard Payton Pritchard who led the team with 25 points.

2. No. 18 Colorado

A streak of three straight wins came to end for the Buffaloes as they lost to the Ducks to bring the season series to one apiece. Colorado held the lead for most of the game but let Oregon take the lead with under three and a half minutes to go and was never able to get it back. No Buffalo scored more than 14 points, a mark both sophomore forward Evan Battey and junior guard D’Shawn Schwartz hit. The Buffaloes played much better against Oregon State in their second game of the weekend. Junior guard Tyler Bey led the way in the 22-point win, leading the team in both points and rebounds with 21 and 15 respectively.

3. Arizona State

The Sun Devils continued their run as the hottest team in the Pac-12 with another weekend sweep. They beat both Stanford and California by five points and never found themselves behind in the second half in either game. They were led by junior guards Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr. with 46 and 41 points respectively across both games. Martin led the team in scoring against Stanford with 24 points while Verge had 19 points off the bench. The duo led the team again in their win over the Golden Bears; both players had 22 points.

4. USC

The Trojans got themselves back on the right track with a weekend sweep after losing three straight games. They started out with a narrow win over a floundering Washington team. They beat the Huskies 62-56 in a game where they never led by more than 10 points. Senior forward Nick Rakocevic led the way for Trojans with 19 points against the Huskies. He was not able to repeat his performance in their next game against the Cougars; he scored six points. Senior guard Daniel Utomi picked up the slack for USC and scored a game-high 23 points; his best scoring output of the season.

5. No. 24 Arizona

The Wildcats suffered a loss last week to the surging UCLA Bruins but recovered this week with a sweep of Stanford and California. Arizona put on a dominant display over the weekend. They only trailed for one and a half minutes over the course of the weekend series, and it was only a one-point deficit early in the first half against California. Freshman forward Zeke Nnaji was the leading scorer in both games for the Wildcats. He scored 21 points in both games, continuing his run as one of the best first-year scorers in the Pac-12. Senior guard Dylan Smith was the second leading scorer over the weekend scoring 25 points over the two-game span.

6. UCLA

The Bruins continued kept their hot streak rolling by sweeping the Washington schools, making it wins in five of their last six games. They extended their winning streak to three games; the second longest active streak in the conference. They nearly lost their first game of the weekend against the Cougars in an overtime thriller. Junior guard Chris Smith was the Bruins’ leading scorer with 23 points. His most important basket came with under 20 seconds left when he hit a jumper to tie it up and force overtime. Redshirt sophomore forward Cody Riley took over in overtime scoring 11 of the team’s 17 points, giving him 19 points on the day. That duo led the way again as UCLA beat Washington. Smith led the way with 20 points while Riley chipped in 15 points in the 10-point win over the Huskies.

7. Oregon State

The Beavers played two lopsided games over the weekend, escaping with different outcomes in each game. They started out their weekend with a 19-point win over Utah, continuing their momentum from their rivalry win over Oregon. Senior forward Kylor Kelly was the leading scorer in their win with 16 points as well as grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. The Beavers could not get their win streak to three as they got blown out by Colorado. Only two players reached double-digits for Oregon State as junior guard Ethan Thompson and senior forward Tres Tinkle combined for 27 of the teams 47 points.

8. Utah

The Utes came away last week with a sweep but could not repeat that feat this weekend. They lost both games on their road trip to the Oregon schools. They started out with a loss to Oregon State in a game where only one player scored in double-figures. Freshman center Branden Carlson led the team with 13 points. He scored another 10 points against Oregon in their second loss of the weekend, but freshman guard Rylan Jones was the leading scorer for the Utes with 18 points.

9. Washington State

The Cougars lost both games this weekend after beating their rival Washington last weekend. They started out with an overtime loss to UCLA where they were led by junior guard Isaac Bonton with 23 points. Senior forward Jeff Pollard also helped out by scoring a season-high 20 points. Their next game was not as close as the Trojans beat them by 19 points. The Cougars largest lead was eight points, but it came in the first 10 minutes of the game. They did not gain another lead in the final 30 minutes even though sophomore forward CJ Elleby had 22 points.

10. Stanford

The Cardinal extended its losing streak to four games as they dropped both of their games over the weekend. Despite not leading in the second half, Stanford kept the game close and only lost to Arizona State by five points. Freshman guard Tyrell Terry led the Cardinal with 24 points and was the only starter to hit double-digits. Their other loss came against Arizona in a game where they never held a lead. Terry only had three points in this game, but sophomore guard Bryce Wills led the way in this game with 25 points.

11. California

The Golden Bears also continued their losing streak this weekend by losing both of their games. They matched the Cardinal with a four-game losing skid with losses to Arizona and Arizona State. Sophomore guard Matt Bradley was the leading scorer for the weekend, scoring 19 points against the Wildcats and 22 points against the Sun Devils. California was not competitive against the Wildcats; they lost by 16 points, never led by more than a point and Bradley was the only player to hit double-digits. They had three players hit that mark against the Sun Devils in a more competitive five-point loss. Bradley again led the team with 22 points. Junior forward Grant Anticevich had 18 points and senior guard Paris Austin had 17 points.

12. Washington

We get it; the Huskies still suck.