As the 2021 calendar year reaches its conclusion, it is time to rank the Pac-12 basketball teams once again.
Although COVID-19 derailed quite a few big games — including Colorado’s much-anticipated matchup against No. 7 Kansas — the conference still has quite a few stellar teams.
So far so good for the conference, except for the shocking disappearing act from the Oregon Ducks. Oregon State has also been a massive disappointment, and the verdict is still out on Arizona State.
At the moment, it looks like either a four or five-bid conference, with Colorado right on the cusp of snagging a spot.
Now, there is a ton of time left, and with Pac-12 Conference play about to kick off, it is time to rank all of the teams once again.
Here we go.
OREGON STATE (2-10)
(AP Photo/Amanda Loman)
Nobody can believe how bad the Oregon State Beavers are.
A 2-10 record is bad as is, but losses against UC Davis, Princeton and Samford make this even worse. How this team made the Sweet 16 no more than nine months ago is shocking.
Things are ugly in Corvallis.
Dec 18, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. (0) shoots a layup against the Seattle Redhawks during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Washington’s loss to Utah Valley actually isn’t that bad. But, the Huskies haven’t really beaten anybody this season.
Now, there wasn’t much excitement about this team going into the season, so that helps a bit. But so far, not much to be excited about at all.
ARIZONA STATE (5-7)
Nov 26, 2021; Nassau, BHS; Arizona State Sun Devils guard Jay Heath (5) dribbles as Loyola Ramblers guard Keith Clemons (5) defends during the second half in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Look, I really, really don’t know what to make of this Sun Devils team.
The opening week loss to UC Riverside still stings, but somehow this group won three straight against Oregon, Grand Canyon and Creighton.
Are they good or are they bad? Who knows, but Pac-12 play will be indicative of the true state of this team.
WASHINGTON STATE (8-5)
Dec 11, 2021; Spokane, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars guard T.J. Bamba (5) reaches for the ball against South Dakota State Jackrabbits guard Zeke Mayo (2) in the second half at Spokane Arena. Jackrabbits won 77-74. James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Things get so muddled from here on up.
Why can’t there be any clarity?
The Cougars have an 8-5 record, but two of the last three losses came against South Dakota State and New Mexico State, both at home.
Yikes, That doesn’t bode well for them, and perhaps Washington’s only hope in the state is Gonzaga this season.
Nov 24, 2021; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; California Golden Bears forward Grant Anticevich (15) celebrates after a three point basket against the Seton Hall Pirates during the second half at Suncoast Credit Union Arena. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Another eight-win team and another team that has been a mixed bag.
The Bears’ best victory is against Fresno State, but besides that, there isn’t anything to hang their hat on.
They do have a four-game winning streak, albeit against Idaho State, Santa Clara, Dartmouth and Pacific.
Let’s not forget this team lost to USD on opening night.
Nov 29, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Rivaldo Soares (11) dribbles the ball while defended by Montana Grizzlies forward Kyle Owens (0) during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena. Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
I know, Oregon this high?
Yes. It is so hard to believe that this Ducks team is as bad as they look. They can’t be. No way.
The Ducks are bound to hit their stride at some point, and when they do, watch out.
Let’s not forget that three of the six losses came against BYU, Houston and Baylor.
Nov 20, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard Dale Bonner (3) chases down a loose ball against Stanford Cardinal guard Noah Taitz (20) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
You could rank this group of teams in any order and you wouldn’t be wrong. That’s how weird it has been so far.
The Cardinal have eight wins as well (see the trend?). What helps Stanford is the fact that they beat Oregon and defeated a 10-win Wyoming squad while also playing Texas pretty close.
They could make some noise in Pac-12 play for all we know.
Nov 27, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes guard Rollie Worster (25) reacts after a basket by guard Lazar Stefanovic (20) (not pictured) after a basket in the first half against the Brigham Young Cougars at Jon M. Huntsman Center. Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Somebody has to emerge from this group of teams and make the NCAA Tournament. Utah is a pretty good guess at the moment.
Again, eight wins. The Utes defeated Fresno State, Cal and Tulsa while losing to USC and BYU, so that isn’t an awful set of losses by any means.
The New Year’s Day game against Oregon will be an interesting one to watch to see how good the Utes really are.
Dec 4, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes forward Evan Battey (21) and guard Julian Hammond III (1) and forward Tristan da Silva (23) during the first half at CU Events Center. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
It’s too bad we couldn’t see Colorado face the Jayhawks in Boulder. Would the Buffs have won? Probably not, but it might have been a pretty close game.
The three losses were to UCLA, Tennessee and a very forgetful loss to Southern Illinois.
Besides that, they have done their job, and the Buffs look like the best of the second tier of Pac-12 teams.
Mar 12, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USC Trojans forward Isaiah Mobley (3) fends off Colorado Buffaloes forward Evan Battey (21) during the first half at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
The Trojans also were impacted by COVID-19 when their game against Oklahoma State was canceled.
But, Andy Enfield’s team looks really good once again, even without Evan Mobley on the court. USC is 12-0 and in the top-10 with impressive wins over San Diego State, Utah and Georgia Tech.
Now, we all sit back and anxiously await the Jan. 2 game against Arizona.
Nov 21, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Dalen Terry (4) celebrates with his team mates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 80-62 to win the Roman Main Event Championship game at T-Mobile Arena. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
The Wildcats are still behind UCLA in these rankings, but it keeps getting closer and closer.
Arizona looks really good, and victories over Michigan, Wichita State, Wyoming and Illinois are impressive.
The only loss? On the road against Tennessee.
Next up? UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Oh boy.
Nov 15, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Johnny Juzang (3) is greeted after drawing the foul against the Long Beach State 49ers during the first half at Pauley Pavilion. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Bruins are good, obviously. The only loss came against Gonzaga on the road by 20 in a weird night for UCLA.
Due to some COVID-19 issues as well, they haven’t played since December 11 and won’t play until Dec. 30 when they face Arizona.
When 2022 hits, we could have a new team atop these power rankings, although UCLA is a dangerous team with another trip to the Final Four on their mind.