Last week ended with a touch of optimism for the Pac-12. It didn't last long. This was supposed to be a warm-up week, with the majority of the action coming against victory fodder. Instead, the Pac-12 managed to go 1-4 against legitimate competition while also dropping three other games against RPI 100+ teams - or worse.
To make matters more painful, three conference teams with previously solid resumes took hits. Arizona's surprise loss to UNLV is eminently forgivable considering what they have already accomplished, but it just adds to the pain when Cal, Washington, UCLA and Colorado are all doing their best to live down to conference expectations for 2014-15.
At the moment, four Pac-12 teams are in the RPI top 50, but Stanford is in the 40s and could easily fall out (and probably will once they add Arkansas Pine-Bluff to their resume). Worse, the other 8 teams are all either in the 100s or creeping nearer. If things fall in a certain way, the Pac-12 could end up being a 3, or even 2 bid league.
Stanford 74, Texas 71, OT
You know it's been a bad week when Stanford is the team that records the only impressive win of the week. They earned it because Anthony Brown had perhaps the best offensive game of his career, and because Reid Travis single-handedly earned Stanford rebounding equity. I don't want to talk about it any more than that. Sigh.
Wisconsin 68, Cal 56
UNLV 71, Arizona 67
George Washington 53, Colorado 50
Alabama 56, UCLA 50
Bryce Alford is still UCLA's best offensive player.
Arizona's loss to UNLV, who had already been beaten badly by Utah, Stanford and Arizona State(!!) is shocking, both because it happened, and because it didn't require some kind of insane shooting discrepancy. UNLV controlled the glass, made a ton of 2 pointers, and stayed even with turnovers and free throws. Sometimes basketball is weird.
Hawaii 69, Colorado 66
CSU Bakersfield 55, California 52
Stony Brook 62, Washington 57
Speaking of weird basketball: Cal fell behind by 17 to CSUB, and Washington blew a 16 point 2nd half lead to Stony Brook. I wonder if, in the Kenpom era, Pac-12 teams have ever lost two games in the same day in which both entered with better than 85% chances of victory.
Meanwhile, Colorado is 7-5, and their best win is still over USF.
Colorado 82, DePaul 68
Oregon 82, UCSB 78, OT
Washington 66, Tulane 57
Arizona State 93, Detroit 54
Utah 80, South Dakota St. 66
Arizona State 56, Harvard 46
Washington State 90, UC Davis 83
Wazzu's win over UC Davis might end up being a decent win, although I'm withholding for now.
All games on the Pac-12 network unless otherwise noted.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Stanford
UC Irvine at Oregon
Carroll at Utah
UCSB at Oregon State
Vermont at USC
Washington State at Stanford, Noon
Washington at California, 7:00
USC at Utah, ESPNU, 7:00
UCLA at Colorado, Fox Sports 1, 7:00
Oregon State at Oregon, ESPNU, 5:00
USC at Colorado, 11:00
UCLA at Utah, 1:00
Washington State at California, 3:00
Arizona St. at Arizona, Fox Sports 1, 4:00
Washington at Stanford, ESPNU, 7:00
The early week action should be mostly forgettable, although Oregon State and USC are both at risk of losing to decent mid-majors. The focus is obviously on the beginning of conference play.
It's something of a light week, with just 10 games. We've got two of the least interesting rivalry games this year to start things off. Oregon/Oregon State isn't very interesting because neither team is very good. Arizona/Arizona St. isn't very interesting because the Wildcats will do very evil things to the Sun Devils.
Thus, the focus will be on how two teams handle tough road trips. Washington is heading to the Bay Area, and UCLA is heading to the mountains. Taking into account local conditions and team quality, those are probably the two toughest trips the Pac-12 has to offer. Will Washington prove themselves after a stumble gave credence to skeptics? Will UCLA continue to flop in the thin air at altitude? We'll see.