Pac-12 men’s basketball teams are unlikely to reach the goal of winning 75 percent of their non-conference games, and they might not come close.
The current win rate is 66 percent with just one week remaining before league play ramps up.
Arizona, UCLA and USC are 26-1, with the lone loss against Gonzaga.
Everyone else is 48-37, with a pile of unseemly losses in tow.
There are two opportunities remaining for the Pac-12 to collect marquee non-conference wins: Colorado hosts No. 7 Kansas today, and Arizona visits No. 19 Tennessee on Wednesday.
The Wildcats are essentially a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but the Buffaloes are not — they aren’t even on the bubble at this point.
A victory over the Jayhawks would do wonders for CU’s resume and, by extension, serve to strengthen the league’s super soft middle.
It’s not the most important game of the non-conference season for the Pac-12. But it’s on the short list given how the past six weeks have unfolded for the masses.
To the power ratings …
(NET ranking: The NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings are used by the selection committee to determine the seeds and at-large bids.)
1. UCLA (8-1/2-0)
Last week: 1
Result: vs. Alcorn State and North Carolina: canceled
Next up: vs. Cal Poly (Wednesday, canceled)
NET ranking: 23 (change from last week: -1)
2. Arizona (11-0/1-0)
Last week: 2
Result: beat Northern Colorado 101-76 and Cal Baptist 84-60
Next up: at Tennessee (Wednesday)
NET ranking: 1 (change: +2)
Comment: There was a stretch, years ago, when Arizona always lost the final game before Christmas break. This team feels different in so many ways.
3. USC (12-0/2-0)
Last week: 3
Result: beat UC Irvine 66-61 and Georgia Tech 67-53
Next up: vs. Oklahoma State (Tuesday, canceled)
NET ranking: 12 (change: +2)
Comment: We don’t have any details on the COVID pause announced Sunday (duration, number of players involved, etc), but we can count. If today happens to be Day Three, then anyone requiring 10-day isolation could return Dec. 29, the day before ASU’s arrival.
4. Colorado (9-3/1-1)
Last week: 4
Result: beat Cal State-Bakersfield 60-46
Next up: vs. Kansas (Tuesday)
NET ranking: 110 (change: +10)
Comment: How’s the best recruiting class in school history faring in its first season? Solid, not spectacular. The true revelation in Boulder has been sophomore guard Keeshawn Barthelemy.
5. Washington State (8-4/1-1)
Last week: 5
Result: lost to New Mexico State 64-61, beat Northern Colorado 82-56
Next up: vs. Boise State (Wednesday)
NET ranking: 49 (change: -6)
Comment: In three of their four losses, the Cougars have shot 30 percent or less from 3-point range. Given their reliance on long-range marksmanship, the 3-point percentage and winning percentage will continue to move in lockstep.
6. Utah (7-4/1-1)
Last week: 6
Result: lost at Missouri 83-75
Next up: vs. Fresno State (Tuesday)
NET ranking: 85 (change: -22)
Comment: The loss at Mizzou was worse than you might think: The Tigers are No. 240 in the NET rankings, between Penn and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
7. Stanford (6-4/1-1)
Last week: 7
Result: beat Dartmouth 89-78, lost to Texas 60-53
Next up: vs. Wyoming (Wednesday)
NET ranking: 127 (change: +25)
Comment: The mighty Dartmouth Big Green came out to the Bay Area for a few days, took Stanford to overtime and lost to Cal by six. That’s the same Big Green that hasn’t won a game since Nov. 28.
8. Arizona State (5-7/1-1)
Last week: 8
Result: won at Creighton 58-57, lost to USF 66-65
Next up: vs. Florida A&M (Tuesday)
NET ranking: 132 (change: +47)
Comment: Each of the past four games has been decided by five points or less. We expect that trend to continue once conference play ramps up.
9. Oregon (6-6/0-2)
Last week: 9
Result: beat Portland 96-71, lost to Baylor 78-70
Next up: vs. Pepperdine (Tuesday)
NET ranking: 97 (change: +26)
Comment: The Ducks’ strength of schedule is keeping them afloat in the metrics. They don’t have any bad losses (unless you count Arizona State and Stanford).
10. Cal (7-5/1-1)
Last week: 10
Result: beat Dartmouth 61-55
Next up: vs. Pacific (Wednesday)
NET ranking: 136 (change: -8)
Comment: The Bears are beating the teams they’re supposed to beat thanks to big man Andre Kelly, who’s playing at an all-conference level.
11. Washington (5-4/0-1)
Last week: 11
Result: beat Seattle 64-56
Next up: vs. Utah Valley (Tuesday)
NET ranking: 208 (change: +14)
Comment: Because of the three games lost to COVID, the Huskies are guaranteed to enter conference play with no worse than a .500 record. Utah Valley is the last game outside of the league.
12. Oregon State (1-10/0-2)
Last week: 12
Result: lost to UC Davis 71-64 and Texas A&M 83-73
Next up: vs. Nicholls State (Tuesday)
NET ranking: 278 (change: -15)
Comment: Remove three games in the Pac-12 tournament and four in the NCAAs, and the Beavers are 15-22 since the start of last season. Which is better than we figured before looking it up.
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