Pac-12 Basketball Notebook: How Long Can Stanford Stay on Top?

Stanford freshman Tyrell Terry (3)Photo by Stan Szeto - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Is Stanford really a Pac-12 title contender? The Cardinal, which was picked to finish 10th in the preseason conference poll, sits alone atop the conference standings. 

Its only two losses were to teams ranked among the top six in this week's AP poll -- No. 5 Butler, which beat the Cardinal by one point on a neutral court, and No. 6 Kansas.

However, Stanford has yet to play a conference road game. Things should start to shake out this weekend.

Top Five Teams (at the Moment)

---1. Oregon (14-3, 3-1) -- The escape in overtime against Arizona keeps the Ducks on top.

---2. Colorado (13-3, 2-1) – A win over Oregon and the rout of Utah are enough for now.

---3. Stanford (14-2, 3-0) – Cardinal is alone in first place, but its trip to Los Angeles will give us a better read.

---4. Arizona (11-5, 1-2) – Losing both games in Oregon doesn’t look good.

---5. Oregon State (12-4, 2-2) – Wins over Arizona and Colorado cannot be ignored.

Pac-12 player-of-the-year standings

Payton Pritchard
Payton Pritchard - Photo by Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports

---1. Payton Pritchard, Oregon (19.2 points, 5.9 assists, 4.5 rebounds) – He averaged 23.5 points and 6.0 assists in the weekend sweep of Arizona and Arizona State.

---2. McKinley Wright IV, Colorado (13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists) – His game in the blowout of Utah was simply superb.

---3. Tres Tinkle, Oregon State (19.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 50.9 FG %, 46.8 3-point %) – We can’t ignore the numbers any longer with wins over Arizona and Colorado.

---4. Remy Martin, Arizona State (19.1 points, 3.9 assists) He had 29 points in the upset of Oregon, and the Sun Devils are 2-1.

---5. Tyrell Terry, Stanford (15.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 41.6 3-point %) – The Cardinal is 3-0 in the conference for a reason.

Pac-12 freshman-of-the-year standings

---1. Tyrell Terry, Stanford (15.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists) – Terry has made 10 of 19 three-point shots in Pac-12 play, but tops this list because the Cardinal tops the standings.

---2. Isaiah Stewart, Washington (18.2 points, 8.6 rebounds) – His first Pac-12 road trip was an eye-opener as he averaged just 8.5 points on 6-for-15 shooting and 5.5 rebounds in two losses.

---3. Zeke Nnaji, Arizona (16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds) – He was the only Arizona player who had a good game against Oregon State.

---4. Onyeka Okongwu, USC (16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks) – He was no help in the win over UCLA.

---5. Jaden McDaniels, Washington (13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds) – He started to show why the NBA is so high on him by averaging 15.0 points and 13.0 rebounds in the weekend losses to Stanford and Cal.

​Pac-12 Player of the Week

McKinley Wright
McKinley Wright IV (25) - Photo by Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports

​--- Winner: McKinley Wright IV, Colorado – His stat line in the 39-point win over Utah: 16 points, 6-for-7 shooting, 3-for-3 on three-pointers, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 0 turnovers.

--Runnerup: Matt Bradley, Cal – He averaged 21.5 points in the sweep of the Washington schools, and he hit the game-winning shot in overtime against the Huskies.

Teams on the Rise

 ---Cal (8-8, 2-1) – Although it’s probably temporary, Bears are tied for third after sweeping the Washington schools. 

---USC (13-3, 2-1) – Trojans responded well to their humiliating loss at Washington by winning at UCLA, and they have yet to play a Pac-12 home game.

Teams on the Skids

---Washington (11-6, 1-3) – The Huskies are 0-2 since point guard Quade Green was ruled academically ineligible.

---Arizona (11-5, 1-2) – The Wildcats have lost four of their last five games, and they missed their chance for a big road win at Oregon.

Team on a Mystery Tour

---Oregon State (12-4, 2-2) – The Beavers have beaten the two best Pac-12 teams they have faced (Arizona and Colorado) but lost their two games against also-ran teams (Arizona State and Utah).

Team Stats of the Week

---13,659 – Attendance for the UCLA-USC game at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins’ first home sellout of the season. Their previous season high in attendance at Pauley was 6,601.

---Stanford shot 61 percent from the field in its 88-62 victory over Washington State and leads the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage at 48.8 percent.

Ugly Team Stats of the Week

---Washington missed its first nine two-point shots in the overtime loss to Cal. The Huskies were 2-for-12 on two-point shots in the first half.

---No Utah player scored more than eight points in its 91-52 loss to Colorado

​Player Stats of the Week

---See McKinley Wright IV’s stat line above.

---Oregon guard Payton Pritchard played all 45 minutes in the overtime win over Arizona. In the overtime he was 0-for-2 from the field and 1-for-2 from the foul line with two turnovers. Tired perhaps?

Ugly Player Stats of the Week

---Utah’s Timmy Allen leads the conference in scoring at 20.2 points per game, but he was limited to seven points on 2-for-11 shooting against Colorado, and has made just 30.4 percent of his field-goal attempts in the Utes’ three Pac-12 games.

---USC freshman Onyeka Okongwu had just four points and two rebounds while picking up four fouls against UCLA, but the Trojans still won.

Quotes of the Week

Larry Krystkowiak
Larry Krystkowiak - Photo by Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports

---“We just got our teeth punched in by a veteran team that’s very physical.” – Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, to the Deseret News, after a 91-52 loss to Colorado.

---"“Yeah, could have been.” – Arizona coach Sean Miller, to the Arizona Daily Star, on whether his technical foul early in the second half was a turning point in the loss to Oregon State. The Wildcats led 41-37 with 16 minutes left when Miller started arguing a call. OSU scored on a layup while he was complaining, then the Beavers made the two free throws to tie the score when Miller, still arguing, was called for the T. Starting with that four-point swing, the Beavers outscored Arizona 45-24 over the rest of the game.

---“Obviously, our defense in the second half is about as bad as it can get.” -- UCLA coach Mick Cronin, to the Los Angeles Times, after USC made eight of its first nine shots after halftime and shot 69.6 percent while scoring 41 points in the second half of the Trojans' 74-63 victory.

Top Upcoming Games This Week

---Wednesday, January 15 – Stanford (14-2, 3-0) at UCLA (8-8, 1-2) – Stanford’s first conference road game might tell us whether the Cardinal is really a title contender. And it may tell us whether the Bruins are a cellar contender.

---Saturday, January 18 – Colorado (13-3, 2-1) at Arizona (11-5, 1-2) – The Buffaloes are No. 20 in the country, but winning at Arizona is a challenge even though the Wildcats have lost four of their last five games.

Cal High Point of the Week

Matt Bradley banked in a three-point shot with seven seconds left in overtime to give Cal a three-point win over Washington and a weekend sweep of the Washington schools.