We are just three weeks in to conference play, but the Arizona Wildcats and Cal Golden Bears have already jumped out to a two-game lead on the rest of the conference.
|Team||Conference Record||Overall Record|
|California Golden Bears||5-0||14-4|
|Arizona St. Sun Devils||2-3||13-5|
|Oregon St. Beavers||2-3||10-7|
|Washington St. Cougars||1-5||8-10|
Struggles from the likes of UCLA, Oregon and Colorado have left Arizona as the only Pac-12 team ranked in both the AP and USA Today Coaches' Polls.
Cal is the obvious positive surprise so far in conference play. Sean Miller said today that Cal is playing the best basketball of anyone, including Arizona
Sean Miller says Cal may be playing the best basketball in the conference and that includes Arizona— Jason Scheer (@JasonScheer) January 20, 2014
Cal has won their first five conference games by an average of 14.4 points per game, while Arizona is downing opponents by 18.2 points per game. The Bears head to SoCal this week to take on USC Wednesday and UCLA Sunday.
The telling stat about Cal right now is assists per game. They are ranked above Arizona, and everyone thinks of the Wildcats as the unselfish team. The Bears are averaging 16.2 assists/game compared to Zona's 15.9.
The negative surprise? Oregon, no doubt. They've lost their last four games, and their only conference win is an overtime win at Utah. They've fallen off the face of the Earth here the last couple weeks. Obviously, there's still time for the Ducks to turn it around, but they better get it going quick. Oregon plays at Washington Thursday and Washington State Sunday.
Colorado hanging on at 4-2 is a testament to how resilient Tad Boyle's team is. The Buffs' road trip to Arizona this week will show if this team can survive without Spencer Dinwiddie. They're not as dangerous as they were a couple weeks ago, so I don't expect them to be the first team to knock off Arizona this year. But they'll be ready, especially after how they got robbed of a win in Tucson last year by the refs.
One team to watch for: Oregon State. The Beavs have had close battles in all five of their conference games this year; their biggest loss coming at Utah by 11. They lost at Colorado by six, and at home to Cal by five. Taking down Oregon in Eugene on Sunday could be a huge confidence-booster as the middle of the pack will start clearing itself out. But OSU is definitely my team to watch from that huge group of teams with 2 or 3 wins. Saturday at Washington will show if this team is a legitimate top-four team in the conference.
Which team in the conference has been the biggest surprise to you both positive and negative?
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