Skip to main content

Pac-12 Basketball Power Rankings: Are the Arizona Wildcats Legit?

In the latest edition of Pac-12 basketball power rankings, the Arizona Wildcats are close to owning the top spot in the conference.

Don't look now, but the Arizona Wildcats might just be the top team in the Pac-12 conference. 

Although those words will simply not be repeated anywhere around Tempe, many of Sports Illustrated's Pac-12 publishers would agree. 

The Wildcats are currently 9-0 with key wins over Michigan and Illinois, as the entire Pac-12 will have eyes on the the Arizona-UCLA matchup on Thursday, Dec. 30. 

While the top team will likely be temporarily crowned then, the Bruins still remain atop Sports Illustrated's power rankings for another week:


1. UCLA Bruins (8-1, 2-0), 59 points (4 first-place votes)

2. Arizona Wildcats (9-0, 1-0), 55 (1 first-place vote)

3. USC Trojans (10-0, 2-0), 50

4 (Tie). Colorado Buffaloes (8-3, 1-1), 41

4 (Tie). Washington State Cougars (7-3, 1-1), 41

6. Utah Utes (7-3, 1-1), 38

7. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-6, 1-1), 26

8. Oregon Ducks (5-5, 0-2), 23

9. Stanford Cardinal (5-3, 1-1), 22

10. Washington Huskies (4-4, 1-1), 20

11. Cal Golden Bears (6-5, 1-1), 10

12. Oregon State Beavers (1-8, 0-2), 5


1. UCLA; 2. USC; 3. Arizona; 4. Washington State; 5. Utah; 6. Colorado; 7. Arizona State; 8. Oregon; 9. Washington; 10. Stanford; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State

Comment: Don't look now, but the Sun Devils are on a three-game winning streak. Ready for the banner to be hung yet? In all seriousness, the Sun Devils' early schedule that provided tough tests for them looks to pay off now that they have their feet settled in conference play. Ending the month of December will be crucial for their ability to get momentum going into the final months of the season.


1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Colorado; 5. Washington State; 6. Utah; 7. Arizona State; 8. Washington; 9. Stanford; 10. Oregon; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State

Comment: Arizona is looking like a legitimate threat to win the Pac-12. But if the Wildcats are the league’s biggest surprise, Oregon continues to be the biggest disappointment. Right now, the Pac-12 is shaping up as a three-bid league to the NCAA tournament, which would be a bigger disappointment still.


1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Utah; 5. Colorado; 6. Washington State; 7. Stanford; 8. Oregon; 9. Arizona State; 10. Washington; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State

Comment: Arizona has a great case of being the top team in the Pac-12 in Tommy Lloyd's first year, and a three-game stretch against Tennessee, UCLA, and USC will prove what the Wildcats are really made of. You know who doesn't have a case for being the top team? Oregon, in Dana Altman's 12th year. The Ducks already have five losses in their first 10 games after losing just seven in each of the past two seasons total. A buzzer-beating three to lose to Stanford just adds salt to the open wound for the Oregon Ducks, who need a turnaround badly.


1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Colorado; 5. Utah; 6. Washington State; 7. Arizona State; 8. Washington; 9. Stanford; 10. Oregon; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State

Comment: It won’t take much for Arizona to unseat the Bruins at the top, and that could be coming up depending on what happens in UCLA-North Carolina on Saturday. The Wildcats are handling business and look as good as they have in years with Tommy Lloyd not even 10 games into his tenure, so the Bruins are going to make a statement this week in order to hold them off a little longer. That late December matchup at Pauley Pavilion between the two heavyweights is going to be a great one.


1. Arizona; 2. UCLA; 3. Washington State; 4. USC; 5. Colorado; 6. Oregon; 7. Utah; 8. Stanford; 9. Arizona State; 10. Washington; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State

Comment: The Huskies will go three weeks without playing, missing three games against top 10 teams because of COVID. They might not recover from this intrusion on their season. They were on shaky ground when they were healthy.