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Pac-10 Weekend Wrap

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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.

Abbreviated thoughts since it's kinda late.

1. Washington (1)

Just a quick followup to last week's note on the Huskies' defense. The Huskies are just 2-4 when allowing above 54 eFG%, but 18-3 when holding teams under that. Now, it's not like 54 percent is stellar -- the national average is 49.1 -- but it just shows that Washington simply needs its defense to be good enough because the offense is generally very good. If the Huskies are serious about not just returning to the NCAA Tournament but making some noise once they get there, they'll take their defense seriously -- or, at least, seriously enough.

2. ASU (3)

Once again, the Sun Devils get contributions from everyone to knock off a strong conference foe. A lot of people have been reluctant to fully embrace ASU this year, but they still only have five losses -- four in the second-best conference in the country -- and they haven't lost to a team rated lower than 53 by kenpom.com.

There's a reason why they're ranked No. 11 by kenpom.com, and I hope the actual Tournament committee is smarter than this collaboration between the NCAA and ESPN, which has the Sun Devils as a No. 5 seed. The second place team in the second best conference not earning a protected seed? That seems a tad ridiculous.

3. Arizona (2)

No shame in losing that great game at Arizona State. The Wildcats had a chance to win it at the end, and if not for a bad outlet pass, might very well have won that game. The best part for Arizona fans? The Wildcats were in great position to win this game despite posting just a 48.4 eFG% -- their second lowest in the previous eight games. That's a good sign, people.

4. UCLA (4)

Where in the heck is the Bruins' defense? The inconsistency has got to be killing Ben Howland. Until they figure out how to bring a strong defensive performance every night, you can count on UCLA being out of the NCAA Tournament no later than the Sweet 16.

5. Cal (5)

Don't read too much into getting swept by Oregon State. The first time around, it was because of bad defense. The second time? Just some unlucky shooting -- only 35.6 eFG%, by far the Bears' lowest of the season. It's not often the top 3-point shooting team in the country is going to shoot 3-of-20 against a team that's merely average defending the 3. No, Cal shouldn't be losing to the Beavers -- twice -- and I don't want to take anything away from OSU, but I'll chalk up Saturday's loss as a bit of a fluke.

6. USC (6)

Chemistry is a funny thing, and while I think it can be vastly overrated in other sports, I think it definitely is important in basketball -- especially college basketball, where emotion tends to play a stronger role. I say that because as USC lost for the fourth time in five games and watched itself land squarely on the bubble, this can't be a good sign:

About 20 minutes after the game ended, witnesses said USC guards Daniel Hackett and Dwight Lewis got into a shoving match on the court and arena security needed to break up the altercation. According to witnesses, Hackett originally became agitated toward a group of college-age students. Lewis then appeared on the court and appeared to defend the students. That led to words between Lewis and Hackett, and the pair began shoving each other.

Two of your three best players shoving each other after a critical loss? Yeah, that's bad.

7. Oregon State (8)

Just as the Trojans seem to be melting down, the Beavers are heading in the opposite direction, seemingly propelled by an unwavering confidence. No way in a million years would I have believed this kind of a turnaround was possible, and if Craig Robinson didn't have the Pac-10 coach of the year locked up before last weekend, he certainly does now after completing a season sweep of the Bay Area schools. Spectacular.

8. WSU (9)

Oh, what could have been. Let's just enjoy these last few games and hope that the seniors get the proper sendoff.

9. Stanford (7)

The Cardinal ought to feel darn lucky I didn't drop them down to the bottom. They've lost seven of eight Pac-10 games, and gave up Oregon's first win of the year. If the Ducks hadn't been so absurdly terrible for their first 14 games, Stanford would be No. 10. But the fact that they're the first Pac-10 team to not exceed 100 offensive efficiency against Oregon ought to tell you just how bad Stanford is playing right now.

10. Oregon (10)

This ought to pacify the Ernie Kent haters! Just kidding. But in all seriousness, nobody wants to go 0-18, and the Ducks now have that off their back.