Pac-12 Power Rankings: Men’s basketball after two weeks

No. 23 Arizona State leads way in Pac-12 MBB power rankings after two weeks into season

Sophmore+guard+Noah+Williams+looks+right+in+front+of+Oregon+State+defender.

OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Sophmore guard Noah Williams looks right in front of Oregon State defender.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen columnist

The Pac-12 men’s basketball season kicked off for most teams Nov. 25, and every team in the conference has played at least one game over the two weeks of the season.

Not all the teams in the conference have played against each other, but by the way they look against their non-conference opponents, it’s safe to say who looks like the favorites at this point in the season.

1. No. 23 Arizona State (3-1, 1-0)

Being the only ranked team in this conference, the Sun Devils look like a heavy favorite to win the Pac-12 as of now. They dropped a close game against No. 9 Villanova at a neutral site, but still have an impressive victory against Rhode Island in the process. Led by senior guard Remy Martin, this team could make some noise throughout the season heading into the tournament.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Thursday vs. No. 24 San Diego State at 7 p.m., Sunday at Grand Canyon at 4 p.m.

2. USC (3-1)

The Trojans are trying to make some noise in the Pac-12, and this impressive 3-1 start definitely is bringing some attention. USC defeated Brigham Young University at a neutral site by 26 points but lost a close game to UConn by three. After losing Onyeka Okongwu to the NBA Draft, the Trojans seem to have the right pieces to still make a tournament run, especially with freshman forward Evan Mobley.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Tuesday vs. UC Irvine at 7 p.m., Sunday vs. Stanford at 6:30 p.m.

3. Oregon (1-1)

Even though Oregon has only played two games on the season, the Ducks were still picked to win this conference and have an impressive season, after losing Payton Pritchard to the NBA Draft. The Ducks lost badly to Missouri but bounced back against Seton Hall. I would have Oregon at the top if they didn’t lose, but head coach Dana Altman can still make this team a contender.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Monday vs. Eastern Washington at 4 p.m., Saturday at Washington at 5 p.m.

4. UCLA (3-1, 1-0)

The Bruins started ranked in the top 25 before losing to San Diego State and having a close game with Pepperdine. UCLA didn’t look like any contender in the first two games of the season, but having back-to-back dominant wins against Seattle University and California moved them back into talks of contention. Under head coach Mick Cronin, the Bruins look to make it back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Wednesday vs. University of San Diego at 6 p.m., Friday vs. Marquette at 6:30 p.m.

5. Colorado (2-0)

The Buffaloes looked impressive in both games they’ve played this season, even though it is somewhat easy competition. Led by senior guard McKinley Wright IV, Colorado seems to have things clicking on the offensive side of the ball, averaging 80 points a game and only giving up about 60 points on the defensive side of the ball. The Buffaloes could sneak into the tournament if they play consistently well throughout the season.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Tuesday at No. 12 Tennessee at 3 p.m.

6. Arizona (2-0)

It really was a toss-up for me between Arizona and Colorado, when making these rankings, but the only major difference I see between these two teams is the level of competition they’ve faced. You can argue it either way, but Arizona barely defeating Eastern Washington at home is not equivalent to Colorado’s big wins against Kansas State and South Dakota. The Wildcats are still a good team, nonetheless, coached by Sean Miller.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Monday vs. Northern Arizona at 6 p.m., Wednesday vs. Cal State-Bakersfield at 4 p.m., Saturday vs. University of Texas-El Paso at 3 p.m.

7. Stanford (2-2)

The Cardinal have a lot of talent still on their team, and even though the losses don’t show for it, this team is still very talented and capable of being in the tournament. Stanford’s two losses come in the Maui Invitational to No. 16 North Carolina and Indiana, both great teams this year and tournament teams. Stanford still has senior forward Oscar da Silva while bringing in freshman forward Ziaire Williams from Sierra Canyon High School. Watch out for Stanford in the long run.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Sunday at USC at 6:30 p.m.

8. Washington State (3-0, 1-0)

I know, I know, you’re definitely asking why I have the best team in the conference, in terms of record, all the way down at No. 8. Here’s why. Because they got lucky. In all three games for the Cougars this year, they’ve failed to score more than 75 points, and continue to have some major shooting struggles. The Cougars have failed to shoot more than 40 percent from the field in each game and 39 percent from behind the three-point range. I got to say, even though WSU is 3-0 on the season, it definitely does not feel like it.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Wednesday vs. Idaho at 6 p.m., Sunday vs. Portland State at 2 p.m.

9. Utah (1-0, 1-0)

The Utes have only played one game on the season, and it was against Washington. Utah did look impressive, but, it’s still only one game on the season, so it’s too early to call whether or not Utah is a real contender. They shot about 44 percent from the field and almost 32 percent from the three-point range. The Utes even had a 23-point lead at one point in the game. Utah just needs to play more games, and we’ll really evaluate them.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Tuesday vs. Idaho State at 5:30 p.m., Saturday at BYU at 3 p.m.

10. Oregon State (2-2, 0-1)

The Beavers started off to a 2-0 start, and then back-to-back losses against WSU and Wyoming really changed the outlook on Oregon State’s season. Even though both losses were close, the Beavers still seem to have some problems shooting from the field and scoring. With the loss of Tres Tinkle, the Beavers need a new scorer on the offense and it seems they haven’t found it yet. A loss to Wyoming at home really set this team back and hopefully they can find a way to win.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Thursday vs. University of Portland at 5 p.m.

11. California (2-3, 0-2)

The Golden Bears have won against a NAIA school and Nicholls State, and all three losses have been at the hand of conference opponents. California lost to Oregon State earlier in the season, and in the two conference matchups that count, they lost against Arizona State and UCLA. The Golden Bears shooting as well, as they have only scored more than 65 once on the season, which was against Northwest College. California needs to fix their scoring issues if they want any success this year.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Wednesday at Pepperdine at 6 p.m., Sunday vs. San Francisco at 12 p.m.

12. Washington (0-3. 0-1)

The Huskies are the only team in the conference that has not won a game this season so far, so putting them in the last place seems reasonable to me. Washington lost to No. 2 Baylor by 34 points at a neutral site, along with University of California-Riverside by 15 points. The Huskies also lost to Utah in their only conference game so far by 14 points on the road. Washington has failed to score more than 65 points on the season and after all the talent left for the NBA draft, head coach Mike Hopkins will have to scramble to find some talent to have any success this season.

Games this week (12/7-12/13): Wednesday vs. Seattle University at 8 p.m., Saturday vs. Oregon at 5 p.m.