The first fortnight of the 2021-22 season is complete. For the Pac-12, it was neither a rousing success or abject failure.
There were two first-class wins (UCLA over Villanova and Arizona over Michigan) and a few pleasant surprises — for instance, the overall success of Utah and Washington State.
But the conference also suffered a slew of third-class losses: Washington to Northern Illinois and Colorado to Southern Illinois; Cal to UC-San Diego and Arizona State to UC-Riverside; and Oregon State to just about everyone.
Overall, the Pac-12’s non-conference record stands at 45-17. The winning percentage (72.5%) is a tick below the threshold (75%) that history suggests will optimize the number of NCAA tournament bids.
It does not get easier from here, with a slew of high-profile opponents lined up in holiday tournaments (more Baylor!) and several single-game showdowns in early December (more Gonzaga!).
And take note:
The early round of conference play begins this weekend, with Stanford visiting Colorado, followed by a full load of league games next week.
Those games matter, of course. But what matters more for the Pac-12 at this point is avoiding additional losses to lowly non-conference opponents — losses that will drag down power ratings and potentially squeeze the league on Selection Sunday.
The framework for March is set in November and December.
Based on the results to date, the Pac-12 has some repair work to do.
1. UCLA (5-1)
Last week: 1
Result: Lost to Gonzaga 83-63
Next up: at UNLV (Saturday)
Comment: Despite the lopsided loss to Gonzaga, the Bruins remain an easy call for No. 1. Until they lose again, it will stay that way.
2. Arizona (5-0)
Last week: 3
Result: beat Wichita State 82-78 and Michigan 80-62
Next up: vs. Sacramento State (Saturday)
Comment: Impressive start for Tommy Lloyd, but the Wildcats need Michigan to find its form before Big Ten play begins to give that result as much Selection Sunday fuel as possible.
3. USC (4-0)
Last week: 2
Result: beat Dixie State 98-71
Next up: vs. St. Joe’s (Thursday)
Comment: So far, Memphis transfer Rejean ‘Boogie’ Ellis has been as good as his nickname (17 points per game, 47.1% from 3-point range). If that keeps up, the Trojans are a lock for the top half of the conference.
4. Washington State (5-0)
Last week: 5
Result: won at Idaho 109-61, beat Winthrop 92-86
Next up: vs. Eastern Washington (Saturday)
Comment: The soft competition makes it difficult to properly evaluate WSU. But a double-shot of clarity arrives next week with conference games against Arizona State and USC.
5. Utah (5-0)
Last week: 8
Result: beat Boston College 68-61 and Tulsa 72-58
Next up: vs. Brigham Young (Saturday)
Comment: The Pac-12 takes its final shots at BYU this weekend. In addition to the basketball version of the Holy War, USC plays the Cougars in the Coliseum. As of this moment, BYU is 4-0 head-to-head on the field and 1-0 on the court.
6 Oregon (3-2)
Last week: 4
Result: beat Chaminade 73-49, lost to Saint Mary’s 62-50
Next up: vs. Houston (Wednesday)
Comment: The Ducks are doing their best to make the West Coast Conference look good, losing to BYU by 32 and to Saint Mary’s …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
Celebrities React To Kanye West - Donda (Official Album)
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