The final weeks in Pac-12 play are starting to heat up as a few teams have caught fire. The Utes and Golden Bears have won four and five games straight respectively and are charging hard towards the top of the conference standings. We also finally saw road teams find success this past weekend for what feels like the first time all season. It speaks to the depth of the Pac-12 that it took Cal nearly the entire season to win a single road game. Now that they have two, they carry a ton of momentum to their home court where they try and cap off a perfect record. Let's take a deeper look at the conference standings, highlight the Pac-12 game of the week and showcase a few top performances.
Conference Standings (2/22):
The top four teams in the conference look vaguely familiar. If you look back to the first week of Pac-12 play, many predicted these teams to be sitting at the top. Yet, their paths to these positions were incredibly unpredictable. Utah came into Pac-12 play rolling and immediately struggled. Cal came into Pac-12 play and was unable to win a road game until last Thursday. Oregon started off Pac-12 play slow and was near the bottom of the division until Dillon Brooks decided to takeover the conference. Arizona has been battling injuries all year long and their vaunted home winning streak came to an end. The league has been unbelievably competitive and it's an awesome time to be a Pac-12 basketball fan. Regardless of how the last two weeks play out, the Pac-12 tournament will be a blast to watch and we all might as well head to Vegas to enjoy the show.
Pac-12 Game of the Week: USC over Colorado
Colorado started the game well and played strong throughout almost the entire contest. Outside of a couple highlight worthy dunks (one of which made Sportscenter), USC was badly outplayed throughout the game. The Trojans were down twelve points with just about five minutes remaining and then things started turning their way. Julian Jacobs, the man responsible for the #sctop10 dunk earlier in the evening, forced a turnover with the Trojans up three and drove the floor to put the game seemingly out of reach. Colorado faced the fate that many Pac-12 teams have been dealt this year where they couldn't finish the game late.
Pac-12 Standout Performances:
Another week of conference play in the books and another mention in the all important Pac-12 standout performances for Jaylen Brown. What can be said that hasn't been said already? Jaylen had his best game of the season against Washington and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Bears. Jaylen paced the Bears with 23 points as well as a couple of free throws down the stretch to hold off a near comeback by the Huskies and the Pac-12 refs. You can always tell someone has a elite athletic ability when they jump in the air and seem to fly higher than the actual basketball. It's what I saw watching LeBron play in high school and it's what we see night in and night out with Jaylen Brown. If you weren't ready for the LeBron--Jaylen Brown comparison I apologize, but let's just agree that the guy has arrived.
Oh hello Jakob, sure nice of you to catch fire during the most important stretch of the season (said no other Pac-12 team fans ever). The second coming of Pau Gasol is playing his best basketball of late and it is downright scary for the rest of the conference. Poetl capped off a road win for the Utes against USC with an awesome performance totaling 29 points, 13 rebounds and four steals. The scarier part of that was he was eleven of thirteen from the field which is damn near about as efficient as you can be. He can pass the ball from the block, he can take anyone in the conference 1:1 down low and he is becoming an even bigger threat off the glass. There are few people surprised that Utah is playing it's best basketball simultaneously as Poetl has taking his play to the next level. Utah is one game out of first place heading into the final two weeks of conference play and if Poetl keeps this pace up, they might be the favorites to unseat Arizona.