Pac-12 basketball power rankings: Arizona Wildcats tops, Cal in 2nd, UCLA 3rd

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats are way ahead of the rest of the Pac-12.

1. Arizona

Nick Kranz: Duh. Playing defense that is on a completely different level from the rest of the conference.

atomsareenough: The Wildcats are the clear top dogs here. If Cal can't stop them, nobody can.

Ruey Yen: They are NOT going to go undefeated this year, but may hold on to this top spot for the entire year.

2. California

Nick Kranz: Has the early conference schedule been easier than it first appeared, or did Cal just make it look easy? Regardless, tougher tasks await in the next two weeks.

atomsareenough: After an up-and-down non-conference slate, the Golden Bears are 5-0 and looking like a solid tournament team. Suddenly we have depth!

Ruey Yen: Looking really good in conference play, and Jabari Bird is only going to get stronger and better coming back from that ankle injury. Kreklow's return can also help a lot.

3. UCLA

Nick Kranz: Two losses, but two pretty understandable losses.

Ruey Yen: The only other team that may challenge Arizona for the head of the Pac.

4. Colorado

Nick Kranz: In 4th place out of respect to Boyle and their sizable home court advantage. There's a big gap between 3rd and 4th at the moment.

atomsareenough: It's nice to see them finally bounce back and get a win after the Dinwiddie injury. Alas, the ceiling is much lower for this team without him. They can still be a tourney team though.

Ruey Yen: Without Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado is not nearly as good. Still, they do have a pretty good home court advantage with that altitude to stay in the upper middle of the Pac.

5. Stanford

Nick Kranz: A fatally flawed team, but their upperclassmen talent will keep them in borderline tourney contention all year. Will be fun to watch the bottom fall out next year.

atomsareenough: I'm actually rooting for Dawkins to do just enough to keep his job. So far, so good?

Ruey Yen: Just when you want to write them off, they beat Oregon and Washington.

6. Arizona State

Nick Kranz: Probably the Pac-12's exact average team. Will destroy bad teams, get embarrassed by good teams, finish in 6th or 7th.

atomsareenough: I haven't paid much attention to this team either, but I saw them getting pounded by UCLA and Arizona. It kind of looks like they are Jahii Carson and a bunch of stiffs.

Ruey Yen: Have beaten who they should beaten and lost to who they should lose to, so far.

7. Utah

Nick Kranz: Dangerous at home, significantly less dangerous on the road. They look good at the moment because they've played 4 in Utah and just two away from the Huntsman Center. So thrilled that Cal doesn't have to make the altitude road trip.

atomsareenough: Color me very impressed with Krystkowiak's work in Salt Lake City thus far. If this team figures out how to win on the road, they will be extremely dangerous over the next couple of years. They have a couple of close losses on the road to the Washington schools, but just swept the LA schools at home.

Ruey Yen: So they beat a decent UCLA team at home, but their non-conference is so bad that I need more observation of them in Pac-12 play to move them higher.

T-8. Oregon

Nick Kranz: A rather baffling fall from grace. The defense has been bad, the offense merely mediocre in conference play. Seems sure to turn around, but there aren't many easy wins in the near term.

atomsareenough: The Ducks can still turn their season back around, but things are falling apart quickly for Altman's crew.

Ruey Yen: Somebody should tell the Ducks that conference play has started. They have not shown up.

T-8. Oregon State

Nick Kranz: I don't really think they're better than the Ducks, but they have undeniably performed better against a near identical schedule so far. If Robinson could coach defense, they'd be a tourney team.

atomsareenough: Coach Hope wins the Civil War against the suddenly hapless Ducks! The Beavers seem to have a decent collection of players. Moreland, Nelson, and Brandt have seemingly turned into a solid core, anyway... so will OSU finally start putting things together?

Ruey Yen: You've got to give them credit for beating 'Furd.

10. Washington

Nick Kranz: Exposed for what they are in the Bay Area. Would be 2-4 if Dinwidde were still healthy.

atomsareenough: This is Romar's worst team in a long time, and he can't gameplan well enough to make up for the team's deficiencies. A few recruiting misses, and suddenly you're wondering how it's possible he's the dean of Pac-12 coaches.

Ruey Yen: Continuing the trend of not being good until the second half of conference play? Had a bad Bay Area trip and would drop more if other teams have played better.

11. USC

Nick Kranz: You lose conference every game by 18 points or more, you get last place.

atomsareenough: The Trojans have started out conference play poorly, but they did beat Xavier and Dayton, which is more than the Cougars can say.

Ruey Yen: Did their part in helping the conference by beating Xavier and Dayton and then possibly losing to everybody.

12. Washington State

Nick Kranz: A healthy DaVonte Lacy is the difference between a bad team that can pull upsets at home, and just a plain bad team.

atomsareenough: Ken Bone farewell tour. Losing Lacy may have been the death knell.

Ruey Yen: They did win that first half against the Bears.

atomsareenough: ...we were up 1 at the half. Poor Cougs.

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