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Pac-12 Teams Dominate in New NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

After taking the NCAA tournament by storm in 2021, the Pac-12 conference is off to another hot start as 2022 approaches.

Power Rankings are like podcasts and opinions: Everybody has one. 

Take ours here at Sports Illustrated, for example, where we weekly rank the Pac-12's basketball schools. 

Thoughts and takes are common everywhere, especially with basketball season still in it's somewhat early stages. 

However, there's no denying that the Pac-12 conference (the top three teams, at least) have shot out of the gates with superb play. 

Currently, three teams from the Pac-12 are ranked in the AP Top 25: UCLA (5), Arizona (6) and USC (8). The aforementioned teams are a combined 31-2, with the Bruins losing to No. 1 Gonzaga and Arizona most recently dropping a road game at No. 19 Tennessee. 

Rankings will come and go, but power rankings are forever. Throw the record books out, at least that's what The Athletic's Eamonn Brennan says after still having the Wildcats in his top five after losing to the Volunteers on Wednesday evening.

Pac-12 Teams Dominate NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

No. 5: Arizona Wildcats

"So here’s a thing that tends to lead to unsuccessful basketball: nine turnovers in 10 minutes. That’s what Arizona put up in the first quarter of its game at Tennessee Wednesday night and, no surprise, the Vols led big early. Arizona spent the rest of the game trying to overcome that early deficit, trying to get right with it, trying to redeem the sins of their progenitors, make shots, get stops, etc., and guess what: It didn’t work out," said Brennan.

"It happens. It was a tough game on the road, one that began with the worst start possible. If we’re too high on Arizona, so be it. We’re not climbing down off this hill just yet."

No. 6: UCLA Bruins

"We waxed reasonably lyrical about UCLA’s dominance at Marquette in last week’s power rankings, and it was a pretty solid win. Unfortunately, thanks to a certain ongoing viral situation you may or may not be familiar with (if not, check your local news) the Bruins missed their chance to play North Carolina last weekend, haven’t played since, and won’t get back on the court until Dec. 30 . . .  when Arizona comes to Pauley Pavilion," said Brennan. 

"UCLA has already played Colorado, because conference schedules are all incredibly leaky and gross these days, but come on: That feels like the proper tip-off of Pac-12 play to us. The two teams won’t play again until early February. Let’s get this thing off to the start it deserves, shall we? (And also: Get well soon, everyone.)"

No. 10: USC Trojans

"Washington State remains the best road win here, and Temple and Florida Gulf Coast are now the only true road games in the non-conference, which is not exactly beefy by the NCAA Tournament committee’s standards," said Brennan.

"Fortunately for the Trojans, the Pac-12, at least at the top, has marquee wins to go get this season, above and beyond what it had last year (recall the Pac-12 was merely OK before it took the 2021 tourney by storm) in the form of both Arizona and UCLA, who are as good as either program have been in the past half-decade, if not a smidge more. Indeed, USC gets Arizona at home Jan. 2. Massive game."