Pac-10 Men's Basketball Power Rankings

Photo: Freshman guard Allen Crabbe scored eight points against UCLA on Sunday in his first game back from a concussion. Crabbe is averaging 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game on the season.
Simone Anne Lang/Staff
Freshman guard Allen Crabbe scored eight points against UCLA on Sunday in his first game back from a concussion. Crabbe is averaging 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game on the season.

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No. 1: Arizona

Known best for his absurdly efficient offensive numbers, Derrick Williams came up biggest on the other end of the floor on Saturday. The sophomore forward rose up and swatted away Darnell Gant's attempt at a game-winner in the closing seconds, preserving a thrilling 87-86 win over Washington and bringing the No. 10 Wildcats ever closer to their first conference title in six years.

Thanks to his heroics, and UCLA stubbing its toe in Berkeley, Sean Miller's club is really in the catbird's seat now. We'll see over these final games if this young squad can keep its composure down the final stretch.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 2: Washington

The Huskies' 87-86 loss in Tucson on Saturday was not because of any lacking effort or skill, but just a matter of being on the wrong end of a great game. The likely mental effect of the loss is more potentially devastating than anything regarding Washington's tournament chances. The Huskies were allowed an easy rebound game against Seattle on Tuesday, but they now must avenge their loss to rival Washington State on Saturday.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 3: UCLA

Perhaps we could have seen the Bruins' let-down coming. Despite winning 10 of 11 heading into Haas Pavilion, UCLA was living on the edge with inconsistent play that might have been masked by all those final 'W's. Sunday's 76-72 loss was no different, as the Bruins came out listless in the first half - see 10 turnovers and no second chance points (compared to 11 for Cal).

Though the defeat doesn't completely derail UCLA's NCAA Tournament hopes - those wins over BYU and St. John's just keep on paying dividends - the Bruins need to really finish strong in order to feel more comfortable. Season-ending dates against the Arizona and Washington schools will really test UCLA's mettle.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 4: Cal

It's pretty simple for the Bears. When Allen Crabbe is on the floor, Cal has balance and relative depth. Without him, the cupboard is really bare. Crabbe's presence was felt in the Bears' win over UCLA on Saturday, and now Cal will look to improve upon its newfound momentum after enduring a four-game losing streak.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 5: Oregon

The Ducks just keep flying higher and higher. Dana Altman's squad easily dispatched of rival Oregon State on the road last weekend and now returns home for the first time in three weeks. The Ducks are getting really strong play out of both Jay-R Strowbridge and Joevan Catron, both players that have had especially strong senior campaigns.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 6: Washington State

If Ken Bone's club is stuck with a Pac-10 play-in game, the team could point to a lost iPod.

Okay, it can actually point to a loss at a last-place Arizona State team playing without two starters - but the two events are related.

Leading scorer Klay Thompson was late for a team bus while searching for his elusive gadget, and was forced to miss the opening 5:47 against the Sun Devils, who led by as many as 16. Thompson rallied the Cougars back by scoring 24 of his 28 points after intermission, but it wasn't enough to avoid an upset in Tempe.

Now tied with Cal for sixth place, Washington State must navigate a difficult end-of-season schedule - UCLA, USC, at Washington - to capture decent seeding at Staples.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 7: USC

There's nothing new about Nikola Vucevic racking up double-doubles - he now has a conference-leading 16 after recording two this past weekend. The biggest surprise for USC, now tied for fourth place after a Bay Area sweep, has come from the smallest man on the floor.

Taken out of the starting line-up for the first time this season, Maurice Jones - all 5-foot-7 of him - has blossomed in his new supporting role. After torching Cal with 22 second-half points (including five 3-pointers), the diminutive guard sparked his team in the opening frame against Stanford with three more from beyond the arc.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 8: Stanford

It's been three straight losses for the Cardinal, and its lifeless effort on Saturday night against USC showed that Johnny Dawkins' squad is in a total freefall. Stanford has an opportunity to rebound against the comparably hapless Oregon State in one of the more mundane affairs that the Pac-10 has to offer.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 9: Oregon State

Those wins against Washington and Arizona don't look that good anymore ... because there's not much to surround them. The Beavers, still sitting on a single-digit win total, have won just three games since the New Year.

The team's struggles reached new levels when Oregon State was spanked by 19 in Eugene, Ore. The Beavers' inept shooting continued - 4-for-21 from beyond the arc against Oregon - but an even bigger concern was ball movement. Craig Robinson's club managed just seven assists that game, a testament to how anemic its offense has been at times this year.

If Robinson's seat was warm this season, his floundering team - especially when compared to the suddenly resurgent Ducks - must be really raising the temperature.

-Ed Yevelev

No. 10: Arizona State

A win! The Sun Devils win! Yes, that's right, the hapless Devils knocked off Washington State on Saturday even without top players Rihards Kuksiks and Ty Abbott. It was a well-deserved victory for Herb Sendek's squad after a whole lot of losses. With that said, ASU is still firmly in the basement until it wins another game.

-Gabriel Baumgaertner


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

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