Dvieira over at Addicted To Quack coordinates a conference basketball power poll with the Pac-10 bloggers at SBN, and I'm a voter. Here's my ballot with my thoughts on each team's weekend; I'll post a link to the full power rankings when they're up at ATQ.
Seriously, this conference is so bleeped up. Last week's rank listed after team name.
1. Washington (2)
The Huskies are now 17-3 in their past 20 games. Their three losses? Twice to Cal (ranked 30th by Pomeroy) and once at Arizona (perhaps the best team in the Pac-10 right now, and certainly the hottest). Remember how many times over the past three or so years we all said, "Boy the Huskies might actually be pretty good if they played any defense?" Turns out we were all correct -- Washington has the No. 3 adjusted defensive efficiency in the Pac-10.
2. Arizona (6)
Mostly, this has to do with the fact that Arizona has won
seven six in a row -- something unheard of in this conference this year. I'm still a tad bit skeptical, given that Arizona still only has two road wins (at the Oregons), but that offense is starting to look unstoppable. The Wildcats are shredding good defenses, posting offensive efficiency ratings of 133.2 and 117.8 against USC and UCLA this weekend. The defense is still a little suspect, though, and one has to wonder if Arizona can continue to rely on outscoring people.
3. ASU (3)
Combining with Arizona to send USC and UCLA back to Los Angeles 0-for-4 is pretty impressive. Even more impressive? Posting a 122.1 and 124.8 efficiencies in the two wins despite James Harden only scoring 28 combined points. That's what the Sun Devils need. How did they do it? How about 39 assists on their 46 baskets against over the weekend? "Wow" is the only word that comes to mind there.
4. UCLA (1)
How not to stay in this blogger's good graces: Bomb out and get swept the weekend after he effusively sings your praises. That defense I said was so awesome? It just gave up 122.1 and 117.8 efficiencies to ASU and Arizona. Screw you, UCLA.
5. Cal (4)
The Bears continue to walk the tightrope. They're
5-2 4-3 over their last seven games, yet their efficiency margin -- the difference between their offensive and defensive efficiencies -- is just +1.9 over that time. The reason is that their defense continues to be suspect (they haven't held an opponent under 100 efficiency in a month), even as their shooting allows them to stay in just about any game -- or even come back from huge deficits, as they did this weekend. This has the look of a team that could either go Sweet 16 ... or flame out in the first round.
6. USC (5)
Three consecutive losses to three of the top four teams in the league -- all on the road. No wonder Tim Floyd melted down the way he did at the end of last night's game. Although, to be fair, it was a typical overzealous Pac-10 official call -- no way that was a charge on Hackett, and the official at halfcourt was going to call it a block until the guy on the baseline took over. But such is life in this conference, which has allowed itself to become the butt of so many avoidable jokes. More troubling than the losses is the lackluster defense (average 120.3 efficiency allowed in those losses) from a team that relies on preventing points as much as any other team in the conference.
7. Stanford (7)
There continues to be a pretty clear divide between the top six and the next three in the conference. (Oregon is in a class by itself.) The Cardinal are still scratching their collective head, wondering how they shot 61.5 eFG% and still blew a 25-point lead to Cal to lose their fifth Pac-10 game in six tries.
8. Oregon State (9)
Did you know that OSU coach Craig Robinson is the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama?
9. WSU (8)
Do I really think Oregon State is a better team than WSU? Not in a million years. But facts are facts: The Cougs are now 2-6 in their last eight Pac-10 games. We keep clinging to the near misses against UCLA, USC and Oregon State, but let's look at the flip side: One of those two wins was against Oregon; the other was over ASU, which required a freakishly superlative shooting performance from Klay Thompson. This team could be 1-7 over its past eight as easily as it could be 5-3 or 4-4.
10. Oregon (10)
Yup, the Ducks are still bad. Said
Phil Knight's hand-picked shill Oregon AD Patrick Kilkenny:
“To make a change with our men’s basketball program would almost make me want to throw up. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not paying attention.”
Read into that what you will, because I have no idea what that actually means. If you want to be confused further, read the full interview.