Arizona: The Wildcats bounced back after a tough three point loss at the hands of St. Johns, routing in-state rival, Arizona St. 75-47 at home to open Pac-12 play. Sean Miller’s team has slid back to being ranked 25th in the country, after three losses but look to rectify that behind freshmen Zeke Nnaji who leads the team in points, rebounds and blocks. Arizona will hit the road this week playing a huge matchup at Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday to play the Ducks before heading to Corvallis on Sunday for a matchup with the Beavers.
Arizona State: It has been a rough start to the season for Bobby Hurley’s squad. After opening the season losing to a conference opponent in China, they picked up their first true conference loss against the Wildcats of Arizona. Led by junior guard Remy Martin, who has played excellent this season averaging over 18 points per game, the Sun Devils will now head to Gill Colosseum to play the Beavers before playing the 9th ranked Ducks team on Saturday.
California: After losing six of their last eight games, the Bears went to Maples Pavilion and took a loss in their conference opener versus Stanford 62-58. This team will look to improve on finishing last in the Pac 12 a season ago. Sophomore Matt Bradley has been a stand out using his 6-4 frame to get to the rim. Cal will host Washington State Thursday and Washington Saturday.
Colorado: The Buffaloes have been the surprise team of the year to most of the country, but to Pac-12 fans it comes as no surprise that Colorado is finding success. After shocking Dayton earlier in the year, the Buffaloes upended the fourth-ranked Ducks to remain undefeated at home versus the University of Oregon, only to fall to Oregon State four days later. Now ranked 25th in the country, this group of experienced players will look to continue their stout defensive play as they aim for a Pac-12 title. Next up they will be facing rival Utah at home on Sunday.
Oregon: Dana Altman’s Ducks were firing on all cylinders before heading into the high elevation to face the Colorado Buffaloes last week where they failed to come away with a victory yet again. They bounced back well to get their first conference win on the road against Utah. Payton Pritchard has continued excellent play as this new look team attempts to gel on the fly with the addition on N’Faly Dante. After falling five spots in the polls, Oregon will have a big test in their home opener in conference play against the Arizona Wildcats Thursday before hosting Arizona St. Saturday.
Oregon State: Expectations were low in Corvallis entering the season, but the Beavers have silenced the doubters early. Led by fifth-year senior Tres Tinkle, the Beavs are off to an 11-3 start. After losing on the road in Utah they bounced back for a surprise win against a red hot Colorado team. Thursday they will have the Sun Devils at home before playing Arizona in the Gill Colosseum on Sunday. Eyes around the Pac-12 will look to see if the surprise Beavers can continue momentum moving forward.
Stanford: The Cardinal have looked impressive early this year with their only non-conference losses coming to Kansas and Butler. Carrying that momentum into the gauntlet that is Pac-12 play will be key for this year’s Stanford team. They handled the Cal Bears in their conference opener but will face a true test at home against the Washington Huskies on Thursday and the Washington State Cougars on Saturday afternoon.
UCLA: The Bruins have had a disappointing season thus far going 8-7 overall, but opening conference play with a big win in Seattle versus a very talented Huskies team. That excitement went out the window when the Bruins laid an egg in Pullman with an overtime loss two days later. Coach Mick Cronin would love to see his team pick up a statement win this Saturday as they host USC.
USC: The Trojans opened the season with a huge win against Jay Wright’s Villanova team and continued their winning ways through most of non-conference play with losses only coming to Temple and Marquette. Conference play however, is a whole different monster and this Trojan team learned that as they were ran out of the gym against Washington 72-40 just three days after defeating Washington State in Pullman. Next up they head to UCLA on Saturday as they look to bounce back against a struggling team.
Utah: The Utes opened up conference play with a win against Oregon State and a narrow defeat at the hands of the Oregon Ducks days later. With nine players leaving after last season, Utah has done a good job putting the pieces back together and look to finish in contention for a Pac-12 title like they were a season ago. They will travel to the Rockies to play Colorado on Sunday.
Washington: Freshmen Isaiah Stewart has been a standout for this year’s Husky team. A team that is long and athletic, they have proven they can play with any team in the country, but inexperience has proven to be a major issue. After a surprise loss to UCLA they came back to crush USC at home, they hit the road to face Stanford on Thursday and the Cal Bears on Saturday.
Washington State: The Cougars finished non-conference play winning six straight. A program that is in a rebuild is looking to stay competitive in Pac-12 play, and they did just that pulling off a rare win versus UCLA to finish off the weekend after falling to USC days prior. The Cougs head to Northern California to play the Cal Bears on Thursday and Stanford Saturday.
~ Shane Potter