If you’re like me, you struggle to properly keep track of college basketball until after the football season is fully over. So, let’s play a little catch up and see how the conference stacks up about halfway through the conference season.
Let’s start with a power ranking:
- Arizona - No question here. The Wildcats are the class of the conference and the only team that is really on the map as a national contender right now. Freshman Deandre Ayton is one of the best players in the country.
- USC - The Trojans are red hot and loaded with top end talent. Andy Enfield has a team that is putting it all together and look like the team with the best shot at making a run at the Wildcats, if anyone can.
- Washington - Mike Hopkins turned the Huskies around overnight. They announced themselves by winning at Kansas and have been very strong in-conference with big wins over USC and Arizona State.
- Arizona State - The Sun Devils are neck and neck with the Huskies and have an outstanding non-conference resume that will really help them get into the NCAA Tournament.
- UCLA - The Bruins are ultra-talented again and experienced, but they just aren’t quite elite right now. They’re trying to recover from a three-game losing streak against teams in the bottom half of the conference.
- Oregon - The Ducks definitely don’t look like a team that can make a repeat trip to the Final Four, or even maybe the NCAA Tournament, but they are in the hunt. They have nice wins at Arizona State and against UCLA.
- Utah - The Utes are bouncing back from a rough four-game losing streak against the best teams in the conference. They are a team to watch as they enter the softer portion of their schedule down the stretch.
- Stanford - The Cardinal are much better than their overall 12-11 record because a lot of those loses are against elite teams in non-conference play. They have been excellent in-conference with wins over the LA schools, Arizona State and at Washington.
- Colorado - The Buffs have three huge wins over the Arizona schools and at UCLA, but otherwise have been below-average.
- Oregon State - The Beavers are a solid team struggling and a Pac-12 that is really deep in the middle. They have nice wins at home against Colorado, Oregon and UCLA.
- Washington State - The Cougars have some good players, but simply can’t keep up in a deep Pac-12 this year.
- Cal - The Bears were a disaster out-of-conference. Any win they can get this year would be huge.
Here’s how the teams stack up in regards to getting into the NCAA Tournament or falling into the NIT - teams listed in order of standing.
Now some awards.
MVP/Freshman of the Year - Deandre Ayton Fr. C Arizona
Ayton is one of the best freshman to ever play in the conference. He’s already an NBA player taking care of business in college and could be the first player taken in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Coach of the Year - Mike Hopkins Washington
I don’t think anyone could have imagined how quickly and how well Hopkins could turn around a Husky program that bottomed out in a big way last year. Sean Miller makes a great case, but Washington’s turnaround under Hopkins can’t be beat.
Defensive Player of the Year - Matisse Thybulle Jr. F Washington
Thybulle is breaking steals records halfway through the season. You just don’t see players that often with his ability to take the ball away from opponents.
Mid-Season All-Pac-12 Teams
C Deandre Ayton Fr. Arizona
F Reid Travis Jr. Stanford
G Allonzo Trier Jr. Arizona
G Jordan McLaughlin Sr. USC
G Tra Holder Sr. Arizona State
C Thomas Welsh Sr. UCLA
F Tres Tinkle So. Oregon State
G Aaron Holiday Jr. UCLA
G George King Sr. Colorado
G Jaylon Nowell Fr. Washington
F Chimezie Metu Jr. USC
F Matisse Thybulle Jr. Washington
F Robert Franks Jr. Washington State
G Payton Pritchard So. Oregon
G Shannon Evans II Sr. Arizona State
F Bennie Boatright Jr. USC
G Don Coleman Jr. Cal
G Justin Bibbins Sr. Utah
G McKinley Wright IV Fr. Colorado
G Stephen Thompson Jr. Jr. Oregon State