Redwood Times (http://www.redwoodtimes.com)

Basketball power ratings: Washington stuns Kansas, Cal stunningly bad, and the conference plods along


By Jon Wilner, Bay Area News Group

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The morning after, I remain in disbelief.
Central Arkansas 96, Cal 69?
Nope, that I can absolutely believe.
But Washington 74, Kansas 65 … that’s a shocker.
It wasn’t in Lawrence, but close enough: Kansas City.
Heck, it could have been in Mike Hopkins’ living room, and it would classify as a stunner.
Washington 74, Kansas 65: Signature win for Hopkins, breakthrough win for the floundering Pac-12, and the most surprising score of the season thus far, anywhere.
Pair it with Arizona’s victory Tuesday night over No. 7 Texas A&M, and the Pac-12 suddenly has two high-caliber victories. Things are looking up for the conference after that rough start.
Err, check that.
Reality on Line 1:
Central Arkansas 96, Cal 69Idaho 91, Washington State 64
That’s right: The Pac-12 took on 25+ point losses to Central Arkansas and Idaho on the same night … the same night Washington beat Kansas.
The clear outlier, based on what we’ve seen over the past month, is Washington’s victory.
To the power ratings, which were delayed by a day because I was swamped with football matters:
1. Arizona State (7-0)Last week: 1Results: Beat USF 75-57Next up: vs. St. John’s (Friday)Comment: As of last weekend, bracketmatrix.com projected the Sun Devils as a No. 7 seed. Quite certain they would take anything up to 16.
2. UCLA (7-1)Last week: 5Results: Beat Cal State-Bakersfield 75-66 and Detroit 106-73; Montana: cancelledNext up: at Michigan (Saturday)Comment: The Hotline passes along thoughts and prayers to everyone at UCLA and all those in the paths of the Southern California infernos. Please be safe.
3. Arizona (6-3)Last week: 6Results: Won at UNLV 91-88, beat Tex A&M 67-64Next up: vs. Alabama (Saturday)Comment: Two gigantic victories for the Wildcats given where things stood and the limited remaining opportunities to collect quality non-conference wins.
4. Washington (7-2)Last week: 10Results: Beat Omaha 86-73 and Kansas 74-65Next up: vs. Gonzaga (Sunday)Comment: They can’t do it again, can they? Sunday’s duel just became infinitely more interesting.
5. Colorado (7-1)Last week: 4Results: Lost at Colorado State 72-63, beat New Mexico 75-57Next up: at Xavier (Saturday)Comment: For the moment, the Hotline is more interested in the Buffaloes’ SOS ranking (No. 305, per Sagarin) than their winning percentage.
6. USC (4-2)Last week: 2Results: Lost at SMU 72-55Next up: vs. Oklahoma (Friday)Comment: De’Anthony Melton making his case, in absentia, for conference MVP.
7. Washington State (6-2)Last week: 3Results: Lost to UC Davis 81-67 and Idaho 91-64Next up: at UTEP (Saturday)Comment: Cougars come crashing back to reality, and they’re bringing Saint Mary’s resume down with them.
8. Oregon (5-3)Last week: 7Results: Lost to Boise State 73-70Next up: vs. Colorado State (Friday)Comment: Profile ticked up a bit Tuesday when Ball State upset Notre Dame, but the Ducks could very well end the month with little to show for their non-conference performance.
9. Utah (6-2)Last week: 8Results: Beat Hawaii 80-60, lost at Butler 81-69Next up: vs. Utah State (Saturday)Comment: Overlay Utah’s results thus far with the early weeks of the conference schedule, and it’s difficult to find the January wins.
10. Oregon State (5-3)Last week: 9Results: Beat LMU 78-74 and Eastern Kentucky 74-62Next up: vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Saturday)Comment: Barring a collapse, Beavers will be over .500 when the conference season arrives. Last year, they were 4-9 at that point. Progress!
11. Stanford (4-6)Last week: 11Results: Beat Montana 70-54, lost at Long Beach State 76-68Next up: vs. Denver (Dec. 15)Comment: How might this all unfold for Jerod Haase? Forgettable 2017-18 season is followed by another in 2018-19 without Reid Travis, and everything hinges on Year Four.
12. VacantComment: Have you seen the Cal scores?
13. Cal (3-6)Last week: 12Results: Lost to Saint Mary’s 74-63 and Central Arkansas 96-69Next up: at San Diego State (Saturday)Comment: The Bears will be as contagious as Bubonic plague once conference play begins, with every game a stain on that team’s postseason profile.
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