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Pac-12 Men's Basketball Power Rankings: Week 9

The Ducks are so excited, you'd think they just met Li'l Sebastian! But was it enough to unseat the Utes or even the Wildcats?

Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

I imagine you know the drill by now. Either by reading this with some regularity or based on the name. But the basic concept is that the CGB writers have ranked the Pac-12 teams, with the criteria for most being some combination of projected skill, record, and the most recent week of games. The teams that are closest to being beautiful tropical fishes get placed closest to the top. Teams that are the woooooorst are ranked at the bottom of the list. The number of first-place votes that each team earned is listed parenthetically. In the event of a tie, teams are listed alphabetically (e.g., an alphabetized naming system would result in "the Eagleton-Pawnee merger" rather than "Pawnee-Eagleton").

The rankings

1. Arizona (3) Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 SBN logos- Arizona

Last week: 1

boomtho: Hadn't quite done enough for me the last 2 weeks to be #1 on my ballot... and then they swept the LA schools at home while Utah lost to Oregon. If Utah loses again (and I'm reading the remaining schedule right), the much anticipated Wildcats-Utes showdown might not mean very much.

Nick Kranz: I am anticipating keeping Arizona in this spot even if Utah beats them on Saturday (assuming a win over Colorado) because I just think they're the best team in this league regardless.

Ruey Yen: Took care of the LA schools, even if it came at home.

2. Utah Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Utah

Last week: 2

boomtho: Tempted to bump Oregon up here, but Oregon still has a worse conference record by a few games.

Nick Kranz: Amazingly, has won or lost every single conference game by double digits, which really highlights the absurd home/road division with this team. You get the sense that their March pod placement will be critical.

Ruey Yen: Loss to Oregon hurts their conference chance, but probably help the Pac as a whole.

3. Oregon Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Oregon

Last week: 4

boomtho: Strong move by the Ducks to stake their claim to #3 the conference. Sure, the Pac-12 is down, but what Altman has done with a pretty ragtag group of players + Joseph Young is pretty impressive. If he can get the Nike recruiting machine going...

Nick Kranz: Probably needs at least two wins out of final three on the road to keep tournament chances aliveor another upset over Utah/Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament.

Ruey Yen: Big win over Utah puts them in solid position to go dancing in March.

4. Stanfurd Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium
Pac-12 logos- Stanfurd

Last week: 5T

boomtho: Only 1 game, but a win against their rivals (blargh!) and they're currently alone in 4th place in the standings.

Nick Kranz: If Dawkins can't make the tournament with Randle, Nastic and Brown as seniors, it's hard to see him doing it next year either.

Ruey Yen: Able to fend off the Bears to stay on the NCAA bubble.

5. Arizona State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- ASU

Last week: 5T

boomtho: Came this close to moving them up to #4, but a home sweep against the LA schools is a very successful week. Just when you thought Sendek was on the hot seat (or even as good as gone), he makes a run like this.

Nick Kranz: Home win over UCLA earns ASU their first sweep of the season, and I bet they'd take another split on the mountain trip.

Ruey Yen: Barely able to beat the LA schools this week to keep very slim March Madness hope sort of alive.

6T. Oregon State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- OSU

Last week: 8

boomtho: Despite setting the game of basketball back 30 years with a pound the rock, 4737 snoozefest, they came back with a solid win over Colorado at home

Nick Kranz: Will the winner get to 50 when Cal and OSU play in Haas?!

Ruey Yen: Had their conference season high in scoring of 72 (in Win over Colorado) and low of 37 (in Loss to Utah) this week.

6T. UC Los Angeles Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- UCLA

Last week: 3

boomtho: Faceplant in a crucial week and ceded control of 3rd in the process.

Nick Kranz: Played both Arizona schools reasonably well, still got swept. Will be in 4th place in this conference next week after sweeping the Washington schools at home.

Ruey Yen: It's a simplified narrative, but they went on the road for the week and got two more road losses.

8. California Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Cal

Last week: 7

boomtho: One loss is better than two!

Nick Kranz: 8th place a very likely landing spot for the Bears considering their final 4 games, but a home sweep could change that.

Ruey Yen: Opportunity missed to move up on this ranking.

9. Colorado Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Colorado

Last week: 9

boomtho: Two losses is worse than one!

Nick Kranz: Another predictable road sweep for a team playing out the string.

Ruey Yen: Bad Oregon trip means that they have now lost 5 of the last 6.

10. Washington State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- WSU

Last week: 10

boomtho: Think I had them in the basement last week, but only lost to the Huskies by 3

Nick Kranz: Split with UW on the season, but has clearly been superior over the course of the entire conference schedule, particularly since Upshaw's dismissal.

Ruey Yen: A flawed team lost to a worse team (Washington).

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

Last week: 12

boomtho: Beat the Cougs, jump to 10th place.

Nick Kranz: Bad, but can occasionally beat another team that doesn't play defense in an entertainingly silly barnburner.

Ruey Yen: Edged Wazzu, but there is no late season magic for the Huskies this year.

12. USC Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- USC

Last week: 11

boomtho: I haven't caught a game of theirs since they beat us, but it seems like they're continuing to battle at least. Blown out by the Wildcats but then a close-ish loss to the Sun Devils.

Nick Kranz: Will be thrilling to see UW, WSU and USC compete to avoid last place this week in L.A.

Ruey Yen: I didn't bother moving them out of the cellar last week.

The data

Let's peel back ye ole curtain and take a look at how everyone voted. We've got a smaller panel this week than usual; our other writers have been locked in an office space to sort out their issues as workplace proximity associates and, as such, unable to vote.

Rk boomtho Nick Ruey
1 Arizona Arizona Arizona
2 Utah Utah Utah
3 Oregon Oregon Oregon
4 Stanfurd UC L.A. Stanfurd
5 ASU Stanfurd OSU
8 Cal Cal Cal
9 Colorado Colorado Colorado
10 Washington WSU WSU
11 WSU Washington Washington

Table 1. With the CGB Power Rankings, we actually vote for things rather than just say it's Councilman Jamm's turn to mandate the outcome.

As always, Arizona's on top. With this kind of stranglehold, I imagine Sean Miller and Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat went to the voters and said, "Just give me all the first-place votes you have;" they didn't mean "give me a lot of first-place votes," but instead wanted them all and got them all. That's shown when you peek at the individual votes (Table 1) and also when the results are graphed with the standard deviation to show you how varied the responses for each team were (Figure 1).

MBB Power Rankings- 0901

Figure 1. The precisely averaged rankings for each team, where the error bars denote the standard deviation.

As alluded to earlier, Arizona's been perched up in first as successfully as Oregon did it in football this year. We can visualize that by charting these precise rankings every week.

MBB Power Rankings- 0902

Figure 2. The precise rankings graphed over time.

In addition to seeing Arizona's lead grow incrementally over the past three weeks, this method also shows us how close we were to a three-way tie between Arizona State, Oregon State, and UC Los Angeleskinda like a drinking contest between a man's first wife, his mother, and his subordinate. This degree of resolution is lost with the more standard method of placing teams into discrete rankings; nonetheless, I've included a similar graph in that style (Figure 3).

MBB Power Rankings- 0903

Figure 3. The standard method of power rankings over time.

Those poor Trojans; they're back in the basement andat this ratethey might as well relocate to Eagleton. In other news, Cal took a nosedive after Week 2, but has been on a great upswing since Week 5. As an aside, our trend resembles a tremendous pit; it would be a shame if you lived right next to such a pit or something. Anyway, after a couple weeks of positive growth, we're trending down again. Has Cal peaked? Are we about to crash faster than Entertainment 720?

I quantify these ups-and-downs and gave it a fancy name: TDazzle Madness.

Change on week
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Team's Madness
Arizona 0 -1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
ASU -1 -2 1 1 0 3 1 0 9
Cal 0 -4 -2 0 2 2 1 -1 12
Colorado 4 -1 -2 1 0 -2 0 0 10
Oregon 1 0 -4 3 0 2 -1 1 12
OSU 1 6 0 0 -2 3 -5 2 19
Stanfurd 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0 1 3
UC L.A. -4 5 1 -2 3 -3 4 -3 25
USC -2 3 -2 0 -1 0 1 -1 10
Utah 0 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Washington -3 -5 6 0 -5 0 -1 1 21
WSU 4 0 1 -3 2 -2 0 0 12
Total Madness 20 28 21 10 15 19 14 10

Table 2. Quantifying the rises and falls of each team this season.

The Madness score shows us how frequently UC Los Angeles has been yo-yo'ing in our rankings. I considered using their downfall as the cover image for this post, but they've held that honorable and prestigious honor in three of the past four weeks. Giving them another seems a bit like overkill; I wouldn't want all those wins to get to their heads and have them think they're Trisha Ianetta or something.

Let me know in the comments if you think we're accurate with our rankings and if you think Cal can get back to a positive trajectory. Don't forget to vote in the poll or hit me up on my GryzzlBook page to share your thoughts on this week's rankings!