Power rankings: Pac-12, WCC, MWC men's basketball, Version 3 (12 items)
Colorado is the big winner in Version 3 of the power rankings, moving from No. 8 to No. 3 with its win over then No. 6 Kansas (as predicted here last week). Every person who loves to play basketball should get the chance to feel what it must have felt like to be Askia Booker when he hit that 35-footer at the buzzer to beat the Jayhawks.
Others that impressed included Pacific of the West Coast Conference in beating Utah State comfortably in Logan, and UNLV of the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels nearly beat Arizona, the top-ranked team in the country, on the road.
Those that dropped in the rankings include BYU, UCLA, San Diego State, Utah State and Utah.
The best upcoming games to watch:
1. Saturday: BYU at Utah (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
2. Saturday: No. 1 Arizona at Michigan (10 a.m., CBS)
3. Saturday: New Mexico vs. No. 13 Kansas (5 p.m., ESPN2)
4. Saturday: Saint Mary’s at Boise State (4 p.m., Root Sports)
5. Saturday: Illinois at No. 15 Oregon (7 p.m., ESPN2)
6. Dec 18: Stanford at No. 9 UConn (7 p.m., ESPN2)
Here is the third edition of the Pac-12/MWC/WCC power rankings (games through Dec. 10):
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1 of 12. 1. Arizona Wildcats (Pac-12)
Arizona is ranked No. 1 in both major polls despite a close call against UNLV at home last Saturday. The Rebels actually led the Wildcats, 57-56, with 3:31 left and trailed by just two until the last 30 seconds. Projected lottery pick, freshman Aaron Gordon, struggled in his 31 minutes, making just 2-of-10 shots for four points.
Although the Wildcats are 9-0, they have certainly looked vulnerable at times. They could quite easily have three or four losses. It’s a credit to them, however, for playing a challenging non-conference schedule and finding a way to win each game.
The Michigan game on Saturday will be the last real test for Arizona before conference play starts on Jan. 2.
2 of 12. 2. Oregon Ducks (Pac-12)
Oregon narrowly retains its spot at No. 2 this week after beating Ole Miss in overtime Sunday, despite giving up 39 points to former Ute Marshall Henderson, who shot an astounding 23 3-pointers in the game. Johnathan Loyd, the brother of former Cougar Mike Loyd, saved Oregon in the game by scoring 23 points on just seven field-goal attempts while dishing 15 assists.
Oregon (8-0) is ranked No. 15 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the Coaches Poll.
The Ducks have tests against Illinois and BYU before beginning conference play on Jan. 2 when they visit the Utes at the Huntsman Center.
3 of 12. 3. Colorado Buffaloes (Pac-12)
Colorado pulled off the upset over Kansas in dramatic fashion with four players scoring 14 or 15 points each. The Buffs never trailed in the second half. Kansas may not be quite as good as expected early in the season, but it is still a monster victory for Colorado.
With the victory, the Buffaloes (9-1) moved into the AP Top 25 at No. 21. They would be ranked No. 27 in the Coaches Poll, if it extended that far.
Colorado finishes its non-conference slate with games against No. 7 Oklahoma State and Georgia later this month.
4 of 12. 4. Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCC)
Gonzaga (8-1) is ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll.
After cruising to a victory over New Mexico State last Saturday, the Bulldogs had to rally on the road to beat West Virginia Tuesday night. Trailing by five with six minutes left, Kevin Pangos went into beast mode, scoring 11 points in about three minutes and hitting three straight from long distance.
5 of 12. 5. San Diego State Aztecs (MWC)
The Aztecs were passed in the power rankings by Colorado not only because the Buffs beat Kansas, but also because the Aztecs very nearly lost to crosstown rival San Diego last Thursday. San Diego’s shot to win at the buzzer just missed, allowing the Aztecs to escape with a 65-64 win. While San Diego is not a bad team, the Toreros did lose to Illinois-Chicago earlier this season, a 3-6 Horizon League team.
The Aztecs (7-1), ranked No. 25/24 in the two major polls, also struggled somewhat to beat a bad Washington team at home Sunday. They won’t have another chance to really impress until they take on Kansas in January.