While some schools found a rhythm, ASU basketball is still searching for reliability after the first week of Pac-12 action.
Here’s the beautiful thing about conference play – each team starts anew, excused of potential mishaps in the previous 12-to-13 games. No matter where you stand, the thrill of punching a ticket to “The Big Dance” merely lies within out-playing teams positioned in your geographic region.
But in cases like this year’s Pac-12, it can also deny a group festivity.
Arizona State caught wind of that Thursday night. The Sun Devils fell to Utah, their second straight disappointing defeat, falling further away from potential at-large leniency given in victories over Mississippi State and Kansas.
ASU maneuvered a temporary fix on Saturday, but like six weekends last season, it was only enough to manage a 1-1 split. That won’t be enough to guarantee an NCAA Tournament bid.
On the contrary, many teams took advantage of the clean slate. Losers of its final four non-conference matchups, UCLA opened with two victories over Stanford and Cal, as did USC, who achieved a 2-0 start for the first time since 2010.
A victory in the Civil War also proved Oregon State, not Oregon, may be the league’s biggest threat in the region. Granted, the loss of Bol Bol and an injury to Kenny Wooten have something to do with that, but Tres Tinkle’s play continues to be prolific.
Arizona and Washington also won each of its contests in the opening week. The Wildcats, who aren’t laden with their usual talent, proved they could be a top contender in both a defensive battle and a shootout. And while the Huskies didn’t pick up a signature win before the new year, their 2-3 zone continues to keep the league on edge.
There’s a long way to go before teams provide separation. But based on what we know, here’s how the first week of Pac-12 play shaped our Power Rankings: