If there is anything we can learn from the past two weeks in the Pac-12, it is to expect the unexpected. At this point in the season, it has been hard to gauge whether all of these close games are good for the conference or ultimately hurting everyone's tournament portfolio. Cal and UCLA suffered defeats which moves them to the bottom four teams in the conference along with Washington State and Arizona State. Meanwhile, Utah who looked dominant in non-conference play, barely escaped Oregon State on Saturday night. Let's take a look at the current standings, announce our game of the week and focus on some outstanding individual player performances.
Pac-12 Standings (1/18)
(Photo Cred: Pac-12 Networks)
Washington lost for the first time in conference play against Arizona and quickly rebounded to beat ASU Saturday to maintain their position at the top of the conference. USC traveled to Pauley Pavilion and upset the Bruins as they look better and better each week. Arizona rebounded nicely from a rough week that included a few significant injuries to sweep the Washington schools. Finally, Colorado upset Oregon at home to launch themselves into the top four teams in the conference standings.
Pac-12 Game of the Week: Oregon at Colorado
This game was close from beginning to end. Dillon Brooks led the Ducks throughout the entire game. However, the post presence of Josh Scott proved to be too much for Oregon to overcome. Oregon used their perimeter shooting effectively, but was off-set by Colorado's ability to rebound inside and utilize Scott down low. Oregon's best shot blocker, Chris Boucher fouled out late in the game and Colorado exploited Scott's matchup for the rest of the evening. An interesting stat to note, this was only the second night all season long that Boucher didn't record a block.
Pac-12 Stars of the Week
Three stars: Arizona Wildcats
Fresh off of two devastating losses against UCLA and USC, Arizona recovered to beat both Washington and Washington State this weekend. These wins are even more impressive as the Wildcats lost star freshman Allonzo Trier for the next six weeks. Credit should go to Sean Miller for building a deep and talented roster which gives him the luxury of relying on his bench players to step up and fill big holes. Arizona is still looking very strong considering they have spent most of the year without one of their best players and they just lost their top scorer for potentially the rest of Pac-12 play.
Two stars: Andrew Andrews
At this point in the year, it is hard to make a case for anyone but Andrews as the Pac-12 player of the year. Washington lost for the first time in Pac-12 play at Arizona and bounced back on the road against Arizona State. Andrews along with Dejounte Murray are leading the Huskies as Lorenzo Romar's team has positioned itself at the peak of the conference. Andrews finished this game with 30 points and 12 assists, and don't be surprised if Andrews takes home another Pac-12 player of the week award.
One star: Dillon Brooks
The Ducks might have come away from their road trip with two wins if it wasn't for Colorado's Josh Scott's play down low last Saturday. The main reason for the Ducks success and ability to play so well away from Eugene is Dillon Brooks. Brooks led the Ducks to an easy victory over the talented Utah Aggies and nearly led them to another victory in Colorado. Brooks had 21 points and 8 rebounds against Utah and another 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists against Colorado. He is emerging as another star in the Pac-12 and is someone to keep your eye on as conference play pushes forward.
Cal fans, what teams do you rank as the elite teams this year in the Pac-12? Which standout players have caught your eye thus far in conference play?