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The Oregon Ducks, Washington Huskies, Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils are the most impressive Pac-12 basketball teams so far, while the Stanford Cardinal and Washington State Cougars struggle.
Which basketball team has impressed you the most so far? Which team has been the most disappointing? Explain.
Jack Blanchat - Rule of Tree: Arizona has to be the most impressive team. Although UCLA is making a strong push in conference and the Wildcats lost to Oregon last week, the overall picture that they've put together so far is pretty impressive. The most disappointing for me is definitely Stanford. It looked like this might be the year that everything came together for Johnny Dawkins, but they've lost all of their important non-conference matchups and are off to a bad start in conference.
Scott Allen - Rule of Tree: Oregon, by virtue of their win over Arizona, has been the most impressive team. The Wildcats were expected to be good, and while Sean Miller's squad has exceeded expectations in the desert, the Ducks are a triple-overtime loss at UTEP from flirting with a Top 10 ranking. I thought USC would be better than they've been, but Stanford has been the most disappointing. Johnny Dawkins' heralded recruiting class is all grown up and the Cardinal still doesn't look like an NCAA Tournament team.
Andy Wooldridge - Building The Dam: Arizona St. I expected Arizona to be at or near the top, and UCLA has the talent to be there. Oregon has exceeded my expectations, but only slightly. But the Sun Devils were so far down, and lost some key contributors, that I thought around .500 was their high end potential this year. The Sun Devils deserve credit for a turnaround that's been great so far.
Jack Follman - Pacific Takes: Oregon has been just a little bit more impressive than Arizona, especially since they just knocked off the Wildcats. The Ducks have been great in-conference so far and got good non-conference wins against UNLV and Vanderbilt. I have been most disappointed with Oregon State thus far. I thought they had a good mix of experienced talent but have dropped their first three conference games all at home.
Michael Preston - CougCenter: Most impressive has to go to Oregon. I thought they'd be decent this year but beating a very good Arizona team bumps them up a few notches in my book. In terms of a disappointment, Washington State tops my list. This was supposed to be a transition year for Ken Bone's team but starting winless in conference play and some bad non-conference losses (Pepperdine sticks at the front of my mind) is making this season more painful than we thought it would be.
Sean Reynolds - Block U: Oregon. Dana Altman is one helluva coach and they're a fun team to watch. It just goes to show you how good coaching can radically improve a team in such a short period of time (take note, Utah).
Adam Butler, PacHoops: Those Huskies have been damn impressive. I mean, they lost to Albany and sure it's the state capital but by way of hoops, the state capital is in Syracuse. You don't lose to Albany and so when the Huskies did, things looked bleak. And when their Pac schedule was set to start with three straight roadies? See ya Dawgs. But NIET they screamed, We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We are going to live on! We are going to survive! Today is our... Shoot, I got carried away with speech from Independence Day. Alas, the thought stands. UW has been impressive and in a manner that would suggest they're here to play.
Parker Baruh, Ralphie Report: No one has been more impressive than the Oregon Ducks. Freshmen Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis have made Dana Altman and Oregon fans easily forget about the departures of Garrett Sim and Devoe Joseph. Dotson leads the Ducks in scoring at 11.8 points per game while Artis is adding 10.1 points per game. Transfer Arsalan Kazemi has been outstanding as well doing all the little things averaging 9.4 rebounds per game, 2.4 steals per game and 8.4 points per game. The Ducks were impressive in the non-conference part of the season winning on the road against UNLV and have been impressive in conference upsetting Arizona, the favorite for the Pac-12 title. They've been so great that they are finally back to national relevance and ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2007. Forget about making the tournament, that looks like an automatic right now for Oregon. If the Ducks keep this up, there's a chance they could be Pac-12 regular season champions at season's end.
On the other end of the spectrum has been the Cal Bears. They have certainly been the most disappointing team thus far and have had some unexpected losses both at home, with one coming to Harvard and the other coming against Washington. Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs have been producing as expected, combining for 35 points per game, but there hasn't been much from anyone else. No other starter is close to averaging double digits and the bench has been unspectacular as well with little production coming from anyone. Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp are both gone from this team, but Cal still can't pick up any notable wins and is reeling as we head into the third week in conference play. Something has to change for Mike Montgomery and company going forward or Cal could end up vying for a spot in the NIT rather than the NCAA Tournament.