NCAA Basketball

Conference Play Has Begun For The Pac-12: The Early Surprises.

Pac 12 Standings

  1. UCLA                5-0 (1.000)        15-3 (.833)
  2. Oregon             4-0 (1.000)        15-2 (.882)
  3. Washington    4-0 (1.000)        12-5 (.705)
  4. Arizona            3-1 (.750)           15-1 (.937)
  5. Arizona St.      3-1 (.750)          14-3 (.823)
  6. California        2-2 (.500)          10-6 (.625)
  7. USC                    2-3 (.400)          7-11 (.388)
  8. Stanford           1-3 (.250)          10-7 (.588)
  9. Washington St. 1-3 (.250)       10-7 (.588)
  10. Colorado         1-4 (.200)          11-6 (.647)
  11. Oregon St.      0-4 (.000)         10-7 (.588)
  12. Utah                 0-5 (.000)          8-9 (.470)

After two of the weakest Basketball seasons in recent memory, the Pac-12 is finally looking like it’s on the rebound. UCLA landed a huge upset over Missouri at the end of the non-conference slate and as a result they found themselves back in the top-25; they joined the Wildcats and the Ducks. That’s the first time the Pac-12/10 has had a three teams in the top-25 in forever. As you’ve probably noticed, the Pac-12 standings are definitely some surprises looking at that list. So let’s dive into them;

The Good Surprises:

  • ASU: The Sun Devils have been the laughing Stock of the Pac-12 for the last few years. It looked like Herb Sendeck’s seat was going to get hot. Instead the Sun Devils came out and went 11-2 in non-conference play. Even better yet, the Devils have managed to go 3-1 in their first four games in the Pac-12.
  • Washington: After a couple of head scratching losses (including becoming Albany’s first Division 1 win), the Huskies seemed to figure things out. Their four-game winning streak includes an “upset” of cross-state rival Washington State, California, Stanford, and Colorado. Lorenzo Romar’s squad is young, and still in contention for a conference crown.
  • UCLA: After stumbling against the likes of Cal Poly (L), Texas (W), Cal State San Marcos (W), UC Irvine (W), and San Diego State; (L); the Bruins have ripped off nine-straight wins. This team finally looks to be gelling, and it makes it harder for embattled Athletic Director Dan Guerrero to make the decision to fire Head Coach Ben Howland.

The Meh Surprises:

  •  Washington State: The Cougs have struggled to score all season long. In Conference play, their inability to score has cost them dearly. That being said, this team has shown decent amount of improvement on the defensive end of the court. Their struggles early on in conference play are, but aren’t, surprising.
  • Utah: Outside of their double-digit loss to Washington State, the Utes have been close in all of their Pac-12 games. They almost upset Arizona (in Arizona!) and are showing signs of improvement across the board. Unfortunately for Utes fans, they are still win less in conference play.
  • The Firing of Kevin O’Neil: The decision to fire Kevin O’Neil is not a surprise, the timing is. After coming from behind to upset Stanford in their Conference opener, the Trojans have almost looked competent in conference play. I would have thought that after going to the NCAA tournament in his first season O’Neil would have had more time. That being said, clearly I was wrong.

The Bad Surprises:

  •  Colorado: The Buffalo won the Conference Tournament last season, and after a strong non-conference season it was expected that they would be near the top of the conference. Well, the Buffs still have plenty of time to climb back into the conference race. No one wants to start out the conference season 0-4, but somehow the Buffs have managed to do that. It might end up being a rough season in Boulder.
  • Oregon State: The Beavers had a decent season last year and looked to be on the rise. Instead the Beavers slogged through an easy non-conference schedule and start conference play 0-4. There are visible holes in the way this roster was constructed, and it has shown on the court this season. Craig Robinson’s seat is getting very warm indeed.