Welcome to CougCenter's newest Monday feature, the Pac-10 Weekend Wrap. Dvieira over at Addicted To Quack is coordinating a conference basketball power poll with the Pac-10 bloggers at SBN. Since I'm going to be voting each week, I decided to create a post based around my ballot with my thoughts on each team's weekend. I'll post the link to the full rankings when they're up at ATQ.
[EDIT: Here's the full power poll.]
1. Arizona State (3-1)
Yes, the Devils have one loss to the Bruins' zero, but you can chalk up that loss to Cal to a fluky shooting night -- both poor on their own part (50.9 eFG%) and exceptional on Cal's part (67.0 eFG%, including 9-of-17 from 3-point range). I still think ASU is the better team, as no one has been as dominant in their other games as the Devils, who are ranked No. 5 by Pomeroy. They took care of business the way they were supposed to at home by dismantling the Beavers (68-39 in a 52 possession game) and Ducks (76-58) this weekend.
Honestly, I think this has the makings of a Final Four-type team. The Devils have a transcendent player (James Harden), multiple scoring options, and an elite defense. We'll find out more about how right I am this weekend when the Devils visit USC and UCLA.
2. UCLA (3-0)
Oh, those pesky rivalry games. The Bruins narrowly escaped USC last night, and I'm becoming more and more skeptical that these Bruins are in the same mold as recent editions. They weren't exactly dominant against the Ducks last weekend, and their defense has looked mortal against anything other than cupcake competition. Methinks their first Pac-10 loss is right around the corner this weekend, either to Arizona or ASU.
3. Cal (4-0)
If you go back and look at my Pac-10 preview, I had a feeling this might happen. The Bears are good, although I'm still not sure how good. The win over ASU is a major feather in their cap, but they weren't totally impressive in beating the Cougs and needed a little good fortune to beat the Huskies. This doesn't strike me as a team that can win the conference, but the Bears are still very good -- and might be better than the Bruins.
4. Washington (2-1)
The Huskies are better than I thought -- and getting better. They really should have beaten Cal, if not for some mental errors and defensive breakdowns in the second half and overtime, and they really could have lost to Stanford. But the potential here is scary for the rest of the conference, and if the Huskies learn and grow from those mistakes -- no small task, since they haven't seemed to in the last two years -- they'll be sticking around up here.
5. USC (1-2)
Some people might quibble with having the Trojans this high after losing to Oregon State, but they took UCLA to the brink and they certainly won't be the last team to lose to the Beavers, who are much improved. There's still a lot of inconsistency here, though -- more than I like. But I ask you one question: Who below them would you rank ahead of them? That's what I thought.
6. Arizona (2-2)
It's disturbing how bad the Wildcats' offense is when Chase Budinger is off, especially considering how enigmatic he's been in his college career. Again, consistency is a problem here. Arizona looked positively terrible in getting swept by the Bay Area schools the first weekend, but looked better this weekend. Of course, that was against the Terrible Two. Again, I ask you: Who below them would you rank ahead of them? Again, that's what I thought.
7. WSU (1-2)
As Cougfan.com put it, what a difference just one point can make. To be honest, there were strides being made against Cal -- there was no major second-half meltdown to speak of -- but the resiliency the Cougs showed on Saturday demonstrated to me what this team can still be. Yes, the shooters are still struggling to a degree, but I truly believe it can't continue forever, especially if we start to get some easier buckets as we did in that second half. I think that second half is much closer to what this team is capable of than what we've seen so far.
8. Stanford (1-3)
I struggled putting the Cardinal this far down after losing a pair of games by a combined pair of points. That's rough. But losses are losses, and it's pretty clear the Cardinal have some major flaws. It showed in how they lost both games: A need to rely on smallish players in crunch time. They lost to UW on a putback of a rebound by Jon Brockman, and lost to the Cougs when they couldn't get anywhere near the rim as the Cougs packed it in. That's a problem. Ask Duke of the last two years.
9. Oregon State (1-3)
The strides the Beavers made in the first weekend, picking up their first Pac-10 win since 2007, seemed gone this weekend as they were stomped on their way through Arizona. They did battle back late against the Wildcats, but it wasn't quite enough, as Craig Robinson earned his first ejection as their coach. But -- and we'll sound like a broken record here -- they're better. The Beavers probably were a little bit of a victim of their own success, as teams now know they overlook them at their own peril.
10. Oregon (0-4)
I think everyone thought the Ducks would be weaker this year, but I don't think anyone anticipated this. They were more or less whipped by both Arizona schools, culminating with Tajuan Porter's second-half benching against the Sun Devils on Saturday. Things are a mess.