Ranking the Pac-10: Basketball Edition


With Selection Sunday just a few weeks away, the anticipation mounts as to how many teams the Pac-10 will have in the tournament. The bubble is full of mediocre teams, but Arizona is really the only team in the conference taking advantage of the situation. Many teams have had openings to secure a bid, but there situations remain shaky after not winning certain games. To the rankings…

1. Arizona (23-4, 12-2)

The Wildcats have established themselves as the alpha male in the conference with athletic play and good shooting. With four games left to play, Arizona holds a 2.5 game lead and will likely hold the number one seed for the Pac-10 tournament in Los Angeles. Sean Miller has done a fantastic job in just his second year bringing Arizona back to national relevance as if Lute Olson were the coach.

2. Washington (18-8, 10-5)

Huskies began as the favorite in the conference and appeared poised to roll through conference early on. Then, rape allegations concerning an anonymous player started hovering over the program and things began to fall apart. The Huskies are still a respectable 18-8, but the off court issues appear to have derailed their conference championship hopes.

3. UCLA (19-8, 10-4)

The Bruins were the second hottest team in the conference behind Arizona, but their loss at Cal shows they are not invincible. Nevertheless, UCLA is playing very solid basketball and peaking at the right time. Their guard play has improved drastically and their big men are becoming more physical.

4. Oregon (14-12, 7-7)

Dana Altman’s squad has won 6 of their last 8 and is obliterating the low expectations set for them. Much of the success is due to the solid play of Joevan Catron.

5. USC (15-12, 7-7)

The Trojans seemed irrelevant to the Pac-10 race as they headed up to the Bay Area. For the first time in 19 years, they swept Stanford and Cal in northern California and return home in a tie for fourth place in the conference. USC shot the ball uncharacteristically well and may have hit a turning point in their season.

6. Washington State (17-10, 7-8)

There is no excuse for the Cougars losing to Arizona State. Washington State was in good shape for an NCAA bid, but losing to the last place team in a conference that isn’t well respected won’t look good on the resume. Their out of conference resume is good, but a losing record in conference would mean they would spend selection Sunday sweating it out.

7. California (14-13, 7-8)

After losing to USC, the Bears dug in and beat UCLA to keep a respectable record and try to build momentum heading into March. Jorge Gutierrez put on a show, but the Cal students should be ashamed they stormed the court after beating an unranked opponent.

8. Stanford (13-13, 6-9)

Stanford had a disappointing weekend as they got swept and Jeremy Green was frustrated by USC once again. The Cardinal showed promise early on, but they are sliding with a three game losing streak and have lost 8 of their last 11.

9. Oregon State (9-16, 4-10)

The Beavers are a very weird team. Craig Robinson’s squad has beaten Arizona and Washington, but they haven’t fared particularly well in their other contests. The team is young, and it will be interesting to see if they emerge next year.

10. Arizona State (10-16, 2-12)

The Sun Devils get credit for catching Washington State sleeping in Tempe and picking up their second conference win, but it has been a rather disappointing season for Herb Sendek’s squad.