Pac-12 basketball power ratings: USC on top, followed by Arizona and Colorado

The conference only lost one season opener, and it came to a Power Six opponent

The Pac-12 power ratings will appear weekly on the Hotline until the conference tournament, although the publication day will change once football season ends.

Pac-12 teams posted an 11-1 record in season openers, an encouraging start that nonetheless requires a morsel of context.

Last year, the conference was 10-2 in openers, but the initial success quickly gave way to a gruesome overall showing in non-conference games that impacted its NCAA Tournament bids and seeds.

November and March are deeply interconnected through the multiplier effect in the NET rankings.

We’ll track the Pac-12 non-conference performance each week in this space.

1. USC (1-0)

Result: beat Kansas State 82-69

Next up: vs. Cal State Bakersfield (Thursday)


The Trojans couldn’t have scripted a better debut for heralded freshman Isaiah Collier, who scored 18 points (on nine attempts) and dished out six assists. Check that — they could have written fewer lines.Collier had six turnovers and five fouls. Nonetheless, an impressive performance.

2. Arizona (1-0)

Result: beat Morgan State 122-59

Next up: at Duke (Friday)

Comment: Caleb Love was 5-of-15 from the field in a six-point loss to his former team, North Carolina, the last time he played in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

3. Colorado (1-0)

Result: beat Towson 75-57

Next up: vs. Grambling (Friday)

Comment: If the Buffaloes aren’t undefeated as they prepare to face Miami in early December, something has gone wrong. Until that point, the schedule is simply not demanding.

4. UCLA (1-0)

Result: beat St. Francis 75-44

Next up: vs. Lafayette (Friday)

Comment: This season, we expect several UCLA opponents to score in the 40s. The question is whether the Bruins will succeed.

5. Oregon (1-0)

Result: beat Georgia 82-71

Next up: vs. Montana (Friday)

Comment: The desired result in the season opener against Georgia.

6. Arizona State (0-1)

Result: lost to Mississippi State 71-56

Next up: vs. Texas Southern (Saturday)

Comment: The conference’s lone defeat came on a neutral court (in Chicago) against a power conference opponent picked by the media to finish in the middle of the SEC standings and projected by ESPN to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

7. Stanford (1-0)

Result: beat Cal State Northridge 88-79

Next up: vs. Sacramento State (Friday)

Comment: If the Cardinal also loses on the hardwood to Sacramento State, it may be time to consider moving the athletic department to Division III.

8. Washington (1-0)

Result: beat Bellarmine 91-57

Next up: vs. Northern Kentucky (Thursday)

Comment: If Koren Johnson and Keion Brooks combine for 47 points 18 or 20 more times this season, the Huskies could outperform expectations.

9. Utah (1-0)

Result: beat Eastern Washington 101-66

Next up: vs. UC Riverside (Friday)

Comment: Even in the transfer portal era, seeing wing Cole Bajema in a color other than purple was jarring.

10. Washington State (1-0)

Result: beat Idaho 84-59

Next up: vs. Prairie View A&M (Friday)

Comment: WSU may have the Pac-12’s softest non-conference schedule, which carries significant risk: Any loss is a bad loss, unless it comes next week to Mississippi State.

11. Cal (1-0)

Result: beat St. Thomas (Minn.) 71-66

Next up: vs. Pacific (Friday)

Comment: The Bears fared better in the first game of Mark Madsen’s first season than they did in the first game of Mark Fox’s final season (a loss to UC Davis). We anticipate that this trend will continue throughout the non-conference portion of the schedule.

12. Oregon State

Result: beat Linfield 82-46

Next up: vs. Troy (Friday)

Comment: Linfield should be blasted if you’re playing them, and that’s exactly what the Beavers did.

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