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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 4

Arizona reasserts themselves as the best and things get ugly for Cal.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Grab a hanky, because it's about to get sad and dark for Cal fans all up in this Power Ranking.

Usual blurb: tied teams are listed alphabetically and the number of first-place votes earned by each team is listed parenthetically.

The rankings

1. Arizona (5) Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 SBN logos- Arizona

Last week: 2

Ruey Yen: Defeated Utah in convincing manner.

boomtho: Beat the Utes by 18 (!!) at home to regain the #1 spot.

ragnarok: Decisively took down Utah to reclaim the top spot in the West.

Nick Kranz: Wow. Even at home, that win over Utah was the most impressive single-game performance of the year. I know that Arizona is capable of manhandling teams, but I didn't think they would do it to the clear #2 team in the conference.

atomsareenough: I thought the Utes were going to beat them. I was wrong. The Wildcats get the top spot this week, but I still feel like the Utes have a better overall resume.

2. Utah Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Utah

Last week: 1

Ruey Yen: Utah vs. Arizona did take place in Arizona.

boomtho: Not dropping too far from where I had them, but there does look to be a gulf between them and the Wildcats. Not a totally lost week, however, with a resounding win over an ASU team that is showing signs of life.

ragnarok: No shame in losing at Arizona.

Nick Kranz: Even a great outside shooting night wasn't enough to open things up inside against the Wildcats. Poeltl is an excellent player, but might need a year before he can dominate against a team like Arizona.

atomsareenough: Loss to the Wildcats knocks them down, but they are still a high quality, extremely deep team.

3. Stanfurd Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium
Pac-12 logos- Stanfurd

Last week: 3

Ruey Yen: 4-1 conference is a 4-1 record despite few close games. Huge drop off from the top 2.

boomtho: Every week my exasperation grows as they continue to stay in the upper echelon of the conference. Their win against us was probably closer than they thought it would be, and UConn is a nice non-conference win in January.

ragnarok: Feels like a big gap between 2 and 3 in this league, but it's hard to justify putting any of the northwest schools ahead of Stanford.

Nick Kranz: Beating UConn at home is a solid, if expected, win. Clearly behind the first two, clearly ahead of everybody else. Next year can't come soon enough.

atomsareenough: Annoyingly, they keep winning.

4. Oregon State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- OSU

Last week: 4T

Ruey Yen: Does have that win over Arizona.

boomtho: The Beavers are definitely better than I thought! Road wins are always nice, though the Cougars aren't great.

ragnarok: Following a great win over Arizona with a loss at previously conference winless Washington. Not sure what to make of this team.

Nick Kranz: Beating Arizona looks like it wasn't a total fluke, so the Beavers stay strong in the top half.

atomsareenough: This is about as good a start as the Beavers could have hoped for. Are they maybe a tourney team?

5. UCLA Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- UCLA

Last week: 6T

Ruey Yen: On a 3-game win streak.

boomtho: Are the Bruins starting to gel? The Trojans aren't that good, but a win's a win, and they're starting to pick up some momentum.

ragnarok: I'd like to see them do some damage on the road in Oregon before ranking the Bruins any higher.

Nick Kranz: The 4th spot in these rankings will consistently be filled by an underwhelming team, but I'm putting UCLA at four because when in doubt, I bet on talent. Particularly, young talent that will likely get better over the course of the season.

atomsareenough: Quietly managed to win 3 in a row after the disastrous Rocky Mountain trip, but I'm not convinced that all is right in Westwood.

6. Washington Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium
Pac-12 logos- Washington

Last week: 12

Ruey Yen: Sweeping the Oregon schools gives them the biggest boost of the week.

boomtho: Two conference wins, though both were at home. Still don't have a good read on the Huskies, but given their athleticism and interior size, they could make life difficult for other Pac-12 teams.

ragnarok: Gets in the conference win column by sweeping the Oregon schools at home.

Nick Kranz: A home sweep over the Oregons isn't amazing, but it stems the bleeding.

atomsareenough: Having swept the Oregon schools, are the Huskies finally out of their slump?

7. Washington State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- WSU

Last week: 8

Ruey Yen: Ernie Kent doing a great job in Pullman. Cougs have been a surprise.

boomtho: Beat Oregon, lose to Oregon State. Thinking the Cougars will be feisty all year, but won't get to .500 in conference.

ragnarok: Oregon State snaps the Cougs 3-game conference win streak, but still, raise your hand if you thought at the beginning of the year that Wazzu could manage a 3-game conference win streak. Remember, this is a team that won only 3 conference games all last year, and hadn't had a 3-game conference win streak in nearly 6 years (2009, Klay Thompson's freshman year and Tony Bennett's last with the Cougs).

Nick Kranz: Why not? The Cougars almost certainly aren't the #6 team in this conference, but they're no longer a cellar dweller either. Josh Hawkinson is the best player who looks like he should never ever be successful at basketball.

atomsareenough: This Wazzu team, like Oregon State, is way more competitive than expected. Kudos to Ernie Kent.

8T. Colorado Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Colorado

Last week: 6T

Ruey Yen: 3-game losing streak.

boomtho: Played pretty well for much of the game against Arizona, but then followed it up with a loss (albeit close) to the Sun Devils.

Nick Kranz: 7 feels too high, but everybody else is awful. Colorado can't win road games, but I don't want to push them too far down in the rankings because they will undoubtedly rise when they get a home sweep. They should just permanetly be glued into the 6/7 slots.

atomsareenough: The Buffs are 9-8 and have lost 3 in a row since sweeping the LA schools. On the other hand, 2 of those were against Arizona and Utah.

8T. Oregon Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Oregon

Last week: 4T

Ruey Yen: Swept by the Washington schools.

boomtho: Haven't seen them play this year, but Joseph Young can score with the best of them.

Nick Kranz: A home win over OSU and a home win over ASU isn't exactly a great way to impress.

atomsareenough: Conference play has been tough on the Ducks so far, but they're still competitive with a pretty bare cupboard.

10. Arizona State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- ASU

Last week: 11

Ruey Yen: Battle to avoid the cellar in Berkeley on Thursday.

boomtho: Sun Devils get a win against Colorado! Think they'll still be bottom 3 by the end of the year.

ragnarok: Five games into conference play, and now that ASU beat Colorado, every team has won a conference game, and every team has lost one. Parity?

Nick Kranz: I actually watched them play for once, and Shaq McKissic was reasonably entertaining. I know something about this otherwise anonymous team now!

atomsareenough: Blown out by the league's two elite teams, but competitive against the others they've played. Nice win against Colorado.

11. USC Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- USC

Last week: 9

Ruey Yen: Still ahead of the Bears due to the h2h win.

boomtho: Not much to write about.

ragnarok: Well, they did beat the Bears last week, so there is that.

Nick Kranz: Got trucked by UCLA, to go along with truckings from Colorado and Utah. Getting blown out by this team sure would be embarrassing.

atomsareenough: Played well against Cal and Stanford, at least.

12. California Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Cal

Last week: 10

Ruey Yen: 4-game losing streak but I still believe (we can go on a win streak).

boomtho: Definitely nothing to write about.

ragnarok: Showed more fight against Stanford, and getting Bird back sure helps, but it's now a 4-game losing streak to mostly middling conference competition. Is Arizona State a must-win for this team to avoid a long, death spiral-like losing streak?

Nick Kranz: Another home loss, plus wins from UW and ASU, consign the Bears to the basement. I did not forsee this.

atomsareenough: Jabari Bird is back, which I guess is something.

The data

Here are the depressing votes that pushed Cal to the bottom.

Rk atoms boomtho Nick ragnarok Ruey
1 Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
2 Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah
3 Stanfurd Stanfurd Stanfurd Stanfurd Stanfurd
4 OSU Washington UCLA OSU OSU
5 Washington UCLA OSU WSU UCLA
6 WSU OSU WSU UCLA Washington
7 UCLA WSU Colorado Washington WSU
8 Oregon Colorado Washington Oregon Oregon
9 ASU ASU Oregon Colorado Colorado
10 Colorado Oregon ASU ASU USC
12 Cal Cal Cal Cal ASU

Table 1. The votes voted by our CGB voters. Four out of five CGB writers think Cal is the worst of the conference!

These ballots are averaged out to create the ordering used above. The precise ordering from these averages and the standard deviations are shown in Figure 1; the standard deviations are shown as error bars and tell you how varied the responses for each team were.

MBB Power Rankings- 0401

Figure 1. This week's Power Rankings with standard deviation denoted by the error bar.

Let's follow these precise rankings over time to look for any trends.

MBB Power Rankings- 0402

Figure 2. The precise Power Rankings over the course of the season.

As you saw up above in the rankings, Colorado and Oregon are tied this week. Incidentally, each of these teams was tied with another team the week before (UCLA and Oregon State, respectively). Do I think we can glean some greater meaning out of that? Absolutely not. It's probably just a coincidence. But, I can't remember that happening in the past for either Men's Basketball or Football. We also have a near-tie between the Washington schools and UCLA is just a hair above that.

I round these rankings to whole numbers to make everything nice and pretty and presentable so they'll find someone who finds them attractive and not die alone.

MBB Power Rankings- 0403

Figure 3. The rounded Power Rankings over time.

Ooooh, what a pretty little gap that distances Colorado and Oregon from the three-team basement. WSU and OSU are making our pre-conference assessments look silly by being so improved. On the other side of the spectrum, Cal is making them look terrible by having plummeted so far.

I've also been keeping a track of these up-and-down movements with a value called the Madness. It covers how many spots each team moved (up or down) each week as well as the total movement made every week and made by each team over the course of the season.

Change on week
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Team's Madness
Arizona 0 -1 1 2
ASU -1 -2 1 4
Cal 0 -4 -2 6
Colorado 4 -1 -2 7
Oregon 1 0 -4 5
OSU 1 6 0 7
Stanfurd 0 0 0 0
UCLA -4 5 1 10
USC -2 3 -2 7
Utah 0 1 -1 2
Washington -3 -5 6 14
WSU 4 0 1 5
Total Madness 20 28 21

Table 2. Covering the Madness the season has unleashed upon us.

It's early in conference play, but Stanfurd is the steady bridesmaid, unwavering from that third position. Arizona and Utah have also been pretty consistent, swapping the top spot just once.