Sorry for the slow day here at CougCenter, and welcome to the Pac-10 Weekend Wrap. 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.
My thoughts are again a bit abbreviated so that I can get back to writing about the Cougs.
Last week's rank listed after team name.
1. UCLA (2)
Typical Ben Howland coaching job -- the Bruins just keep getting better as the season goes along. I was critical earlier of not only their perimeter-oriented offense, but also their defense, which had not resembled earlier editions. No more. Since losing to Washington, UCLA has allowed defensive efficiencies of 92.0 (Cal), 87.8 (Stanford), 81.2 (USC) and 93.8 (Notre Dame). This is the sort of development that leads you to believe the Bruins can go deep into the Tournament once again, because if they can win games on defense when their shooting is off ... watch out.
2. Washington (1)
There was no shame in losing on the road to Arizona, but after losing at Cal, the Huskies are 2-2 in their last four. While the Huskies have been better on the road this year, they're still a little iffy in that department. It makes me wonder what's going to happen come Tournament time.
3. ASU (4)
The Sun Devils benefited from USC getting slapped around by UCLA, but they seem to have righted the ship somewhat. Traveling to the state of Oregon will do that to a team, but as we all know, OSU's not the gimme it once was. Holding anyone to 77.1 efficiency is impressive, and the Devils did that to the Beavers. We'll find out on Thursday just how much ASU has recovered from that crazy sweep at home.
4. Cal (6)
I was this close to moving the Bears up to No. 3, but I'm just not sure how to value the wins over the Washington schools. On the one hand, the offense was very good, but it had a lot to do with hot shooting. And they haven't played great defense in about a month. So while I want to believe Cal really is back, I'm just not sure I'm convinced yet.
5. USC (3)
Will the Trojans please freaking figure out if they're any freaking good or not? These up and down performances are wearing me the heck out. I can only imagine what it's doing to Tim Floyd, who watched his team put up an abysmal 81.2 offensive efficiency against UCLA despite 20 points from Dwight Lewis.
6. Arizona (7)
Congratulations to the Wildcats, who pick up their first two road wins of the year ... at Oregon and Oregon State. Oh well. For a team that was 0-6 on the road, they'll take it. You know what else they'll take? The 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds Chase Budinger has averaged over the last three games. If he decides that he wants to play like that for the rest of the season, this is a scary, scary team.
7. Stanford (9)
I really had no choice but to move the Cardinal up here. However, the win over the Cougs had a little bit of a fluky feel to it (thanks to the absurdly hot shooting) and they couldn't quite get over the hump against Washington. The distance from 6 to 7 in these rankings is the largest gap between any two spots -- 7-9 really is a tossup.
8. WSU (5)
Largest move of the week, as I probably overvalued the previous near misses. The Cougs were competitive, but not enough -- it felt like they were a little outclassed in both contests. That's a frustrating place to be.
9. Oregon State (8)
For a team that loves to jack up 3-balls, the Beavers sure struggled against a pair of zones this weekend, posting efficiencies of just 92.1 and 77.1 with eFG% of 47.1 and a crazy low 37.0. Surprising, but it appears to be more than a fluke: The Sun Devils held the Beavers to 73.0/40.9 the first time around, too.
10. Oregon (10)
Will the Ducks become the second Pac-10 team to lose every conference game? It's hard to fathom, but then again, so is the Ducks' atrocious defense. When your offensive efficiency in a game is 122.2 and you still lose by 10 -- because your defense gave up 138.0 -- you've got to wonder if you can beat anyone. The Ducks are running out of chances.