UCLA, USC, Arizona dominate top of AP poll

We’d encourage Pac-12 fans to take a screenshot of the current AP top-25 rankings and consider saving it for posterity — or for March, if the end comes early.

The top of the survey looks like this:

1. Baylor
2. Gonzaga
3. UCLA
4. Auburn
5. USC
6. Arizona

Three Pac-12 teams in the top six isn’t something that could have been seen when the season began, but the Trojans and Wildcats have dashed hopes so far.

This is the first time the Pac-12 has placed three of the top six AP spots down since voting week of February 20, 2017, when Arizona, UCLA and Oregon were among the best teams in the country.

And according to the convention office, it’s reasonable Second time in AP election history – out of a total of 1,231 weeks – that the conference has occupied three of the top six spots.

For USC, the No. 5 ranking represents its highest voting placement since December ’74.

And judging by the upcoming schedule, with no games between the ranked teams, they could all finish in the top five by this time next week.

For power rating…

1. UCLA (10-1/2-0)
Last week: 1
result: Long Beach State 96-78 and Cal 60-52. Defeated
next: vs. Oregon (Thursday)
Net Ranking: No. 20 (change from last week: +3)
Comment: If they handle Oregon, the Bruins should go undefeated in conference play when they move to Tucson in the first week of February.

2. Arizona (12-1/2-0)
Last week: 2
result: DNP
next: vs. Colorado (Thursday)
Net Ranking: No. 2 (No change from last week)
Comment: If they handle Colorado, the Wildcats should go undefeated in conference play when they host UCLA the first week in February.

3. USC (13-0/3-0)
Last week: 3
result: Cal 77-63. won on
next: Stanford (Tuesday)
Net Ranking: No. 12 (Change: -2)
Comment: Tipoff at Maple Pavilion is today at 2 p.m. By the time you read this the Trojans may have their first loss – or another big win in their pocket.

4. Colorado (11-3/3-1)
Last week: 4
result: beat WSU 83-78 and Washington 78-64
next: in Arizona (Thursday)
Net Ranking: Number 97 (Variation: +13)
Comment: If the Buffaloes only win the games they have to win, a coveted opening-round by will be within reach in the Pac-12 tournament.

5. Oregon (9-6/2-2)
Last week: 5
result: Oregon State 78-76 . won in
next: UCLA (Thursday)
Net Ranking: 90 (change: -3)
Comment: If you tuned in to football on Monday night, know that Eric Williams’ 3-pointer saved the Duck with 13 seconds left in what could have been a nasty defeat at the Corvallis.

6. Washington State (9-6/2-2)
Last week: 6
result: Colorado lost 83-78, Utah won 77-61
next: vs Stanford (Thursday)
Net Ranking: Number 49 (Variations: +14)
Comment: The victory in Salt Lake City was WSU’s first since 1946 and, more importantly, ended a 13-game losing streak for Utah. We didn’t realize the cougar’s mastery of former coach Larry Kristkowiak.

7. Cal (9-7/2-3)
Last week: 7
result: Lost to USC 77-63 and UCLA 60-52
next: in Washington (Tuesday)
Net Ranking: No. 119 (Change: -5)
Comment: This week’s visit to Seattle and Pullman will provide more insight into Cal’s prospects for mediocrity than the two games against the top LA schools.

8. Stanford (8-4/1-1)
Last week: 8
result: DNP
next: vs USC (Tuesday)
Net Ranking: Number 101 (Change: +1)
Comment: The Trojans would be an uphill task for Stanford under normal circumstances, much less the Cardinal’s first opponent in three weeks.