It was one step forward, one step back last week for Cal basketball, which played its best game of the season — maybe in a couple years — to beat Oregon State, then struggled in a loss at Utah.
So the Bears (4-5, 1-1 Pac-12) remain No. 11 in our SI Pac-12 Basketball Power Rankings, ahead of only the aforementioned Beavers.
The top three in our ratings — UCLA, Arizona and USC — remain the same and it’s unclear whether anyone else in the Pac-12 will challenge them.
Oregon was thought to be a contender in the preseason — and may still wind up as a legit challenge. But the Ducks have lost four times already, including last week at home to Arizona State.
The NCAA released its first NET computer rankings this week, and No. 3 Arizona and No. 7 USC have separated themselves even from UCLA, which checks in at No. 32.
Here’s how Pac-12 teams stack up in the NET rankings:
61. Washington State
220. Arizona State
264. Oregon State
Stay tuned. The season’s young and there is a lot still to sort out.
SI PAC-12 MEN’S BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS
1. UCLA (7-1, 2-0) . . . 60 points (5 first-place votes)
2. Arizona (7-0, 1-0) . . . 55
3. USC (8-0, 2-0) . . . 50
4. Washington State (6-2, 1-1) . . . 45
5. Colorado (6-3) . . . 37
6. Oregon (5-4, 0-1) . . . 35
7. Utah (6-2, 1-1) . . . 29
8. Arizona State (3-6, 1-1) . . . 25
9. Washington (4-4, 1-1) . . . 22
10. Stanford (4-3, 0-1) . . . 16
11. Cal (4-5, 1-1) . . . 11
12. Oregon State (1-8, 0-2) . . . 5
DONNIE DRUIN, ALL SUN DEVILS
1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Washington State; 5. Arizona State; 6. Oregon; 7. Colorado; 8. Utah; 9. Washington; 10. Cal; 11. Stanford; 12. Oregon State
Comment: The Arizona State Sun Devils saw two drastically different games, scoring only 29 points against Washington State before going on the road to Oregon and getting their first win against the Ducks (with them playing at home, of course) in ten years. Which ASU team will show up on a weekly basis? Who knows, but without Marcus Bagley, perhaps I'm drinking the ASU kool-aid too much.
JEFF FARAUDO, CAL SPORTS REPORT
1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Washington State; 5. Colorado; 6. Oregon; 7. Utah; 8. Arizona State; 9. Washington; 10. Stanford; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State
Comment: Arizona is the most intriguing team in the Pac-12 so far. Undefeated, including an 18-point win over Michigan. Curious to see how the Cats do this week: Wednesday vs. unbeaten Wyoming and Saturday at an Illinois team that has wofive straight. Cal is improved but you couldn’t tell by its performance Sunday in a road loss to Utah.
DYLAN REUBENKING, DUCKS DIGEST
1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Washington State; 5. Oregon; 6. Colorado; 7. Utah; 8. Stanford; 9. Arizona State; 10. Washington; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State
Comment: Oregon looks as beatable as any team in the Dana Altman era. It will be a daunting process for him to turn this team into a team that can win multiple NCAA Tournament games, but it's difficult to imagine that we won't be talking about Oregon as a dangerous team in February as long as Altman is in charge. An overtime home loss to a struggling ASU team certainly won't kickstart the turnaround, though.
SAM CONNON, ALL BRUINS
1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Washington State; 5. Colorado; 6. Utah; 7. Oregon; 8. Washington; 9. Arizona State; 10. Stanford; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State
Comment: The top tier teams remain in the top tier, taking care of business and beating the teams they should. Washington State managed to stand out the most in a wishy washy second tier, though, and Oregon probably would have slid further after losing to an Arizona State team that scored 29 points in its previous game if not for a truly awful bottom tier. That’s four losses in the last six Division I games for the Ducks, and one of the wins was a near upset by UC Riverside, so clearly they are far from the UCLA-Arizona-USC trio everyone thought they were part of in the offseason.
DAN RALEY, HUSKY MAVEN
1. UCLA; 2. Arizona; 3. USC; 4. Washington State; 5. Colorado; 6. Oregon; 7. Washington; 8. Utah; 9. Arizona State; 10. Stanford; 11. Cal; 12. Oregon State
Comment: COVID made the Huskies a no-show against the league's top two teams in UCLA and Arizona. Not sure how long it will take for this group to bounce back health-wise to its average self. Note to Mike Hopkins: Play your McDonald's All-American. Suffer with him. Season him. It might save your job.
Cover photo of Arizona center Christian Koloko (35) by Stephen R. Sylvannie, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo