Pac-10 Men's Basketball Power Rankings

Photo: Junior guard Jorge Gutierrez is Cal's leading scorer in its past four games with 21.5 points per game. The Bears have won just one of those four.
Karen Ling/File
Junior guard Jorge Gutierrez is Cal's leading scorer in its past four games with 21.5 points per game. The Bears have won just one of those four.

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No. 1: Arizona

The 'Cats win on Saturday, while convincing and on the home floor of their archrival, was expected. The big game comes on Saturday as coach Sean Miller's squad has an opportunity to beat a Washington team that handled them in Seattle. Arizona has been unbeatable at home this season, but it runs into two very adept teams this weekend. With second-place UCLA traveling to the Bay Area this weekend, the Wildcats could convincingly extend their conference lead if they win both games.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 2: Washington

Seventeen total 3-pointers, 58 points by halftime against Cal ... sounds like Washington was a little ticked off at commentators.

In dismantling the Bears and sweeping the Bay Area schools, the high-powered Huskies showed just how dangerous a team they can be. One caveat, however: Those wins were in Seattle, where the team is always at it's finest.

Going undefeated in Arizona, which means beating the red-hot Wildcats on ESPN, would surely catapult Lorenzo Romar's club back into the national rankings.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 3: UCLA

The Bruins' earlier wins over the Bay Area schools were less of a sweep and more of an escape. Recall that UCLA nearly coughed up an eight-point lead in the final minutes against Cal, and sleepwalked out of the gates before rallying against Stanford.

Ben Howland's club has been a completely different team since, winning nine of its last 10. However, the second-place Bruins can't afford a letdown in their first road trip since January - especially with Washington hot on their tail.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 4: Washington State

A mercurial but tough team all season, the Cougars ran into a white-hot shooting Stanford team on Thursday and held off a short-handed but tenacious Cal squad two days later. Washington State is most certainly a good squad, but they may not possess enough firepower outside of Klay Thompson to make the NCAA Tournament. A big step in that direction would be sweeping the Arizona schools this weekend, something that no team has been able to do this season.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 5: Cal

The good news after a rough Northwest trek? Cal returns to the friendly confines of Haas Pavilion this week, and should also have Allen Crabbe back for its date with USC. The Bears sorely missed his shooting in Pullman, Wash., on Saturday afternoon, especially when Jorge Gutierrez was ice-cold in the first half.

Even with Crabbe returning, don't forget about Jeff Powers. The reserve guard played admirably in emergency minutes in Seattle, and showed nice outside shooting in his first career start against Washington State. With the roster as thin as it is, expect him to step up and get significant playing time down the stretch.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 6: Stanford

Jeremy Green has been the best player in the Pac-10 that nobody is discussing. After scoring 20-plus points just once in his last 13 games, Green has now eclipsed the 20-point mark in four consecutive games and has been nothing short of prolific from the perimeter. In his last three games, the junior guard has shot a blistering 72 percent from 3-point range, including an incredible stretch of 10 in a row against Arizona State and Washington State. While the Cardinal aren't much of a contender in the conference, they sure can shoot the ball from the outside

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 7: Oregon

It's impressive enough that Dana Altman has lifted his team from the Pac-10 cellar. Now, the Ducks have a chance to separate themselves from the conference's mushy middle in the coming weeks. Oregon embarks on a three-game homestand against teams that it either beat (Stanford and Oregon State) or played tough on the road (Cal).

If the Ducks manage a 2-1 or 3-0 home stand, the brand new Matthew Knight Arena - and Altman's contract - would already be worth every penny.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 8: USC

For a team that cultivated a reputation as a strong defensive side, the Trojans' offensive ineptitude has put them into almost complete free fall. Disjointed on offense, USC has lost three of its last four games and hasn't scored more than 51 points in its last two losses. The only win in those four games came at home against Oregon State, a team that is 1-8 on the road this season. Naturally streaky and consistently tough on defense, USC is not a team to take lightly, but the Trojans sure are struggling right now.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 9: Oregon State

For two teams that certainly will not make the NCAA Tournament and are in transitional phases of their respective programs, Saturday's clash between Oregon and Oregon State is the biggest game for both teams this season. The Ducks appear to be improving every week while the Beavers remain their naturally unpredictable selves. Perhaps Jared Cunningham can christen Matthew Knight Arena with its best dunk yet.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 10: Arizona State

Want the Sun Devils' season in a nutshell? They hit their first three shots from downtown against rival Arizona ... and made just one of their next 12. Yikes. Apart from mounting injuries, an anemic offense has been the undoing of Arizona State's campaign - and the team's fortunes likely won't get any easier as the Washington schools come to Tempe.

ASU's 88-75 loss in Seattle was actually one of its more competitive efforts of the season, as the Sun Devils trailed by just one at halftime. Yet even with Washington's penchant for road meltdowns, a Huskies squad that's looking to climb up the conference standings down the stretch should be insurmountable for Herb Sendek and company.

-Ed Yevelev


Gabriel Baumgaertner and Ed Yevelev cover men's basketball. Contact them at [email protected]

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