Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: January 5, 2017 5:06 a.m.
NEW YORK — A look at things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Utah (10-3, 1-0 Pac-12) at No. 17 Arizona (13-2, 2-0), tonight. The Wildcats have been short-handed all season, yet keep finding ways to win. Arizona has played all season without Allonzo Trier (unspecified) and Ray Smith (knee), and point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright missed six games. Jackson-Cartwright returned last week for wins over California and Stanford, giving Arizona another scoring option. The Utes have bounced back from a loss to San Francisco at the Diamondhead Classic, playing one of their best games of the season the last time out, a 16-point victory over Colorado.
UCLA (14-1, 1-1) lost its first game of the season last week, a thrilling 89-87 road loss to No. 15 Oregon. The Bruins bounced back by knocking off Oregon State, but it dropped them two spots to No. 4 in the AP Top 25. UCLA plays at home this week, against California tonight and Stanford on Sunday. Southern California gets the opposite Northern California teams this week after losing its first game of the season, 84-61 to Oregon.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Oregon’s 11-game winning streak is the fifth-longest in the nation. ... Four Pac-12 teams are among the top 10 nationally in blocked shots: 1. Oregon (7.7 per game); 4. Washington (6.9); T7. USC and UCLA (6.5). ... Arizona’s 87 straight weeks in the AP Top 25 is the second-longest streak in the nation behind Kansas at 151. ... The 48 career double-doubles by Stanford’s Josh Hawkinson is the highest active total in the country.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Dillon Brooks, Oregon. The junior missed the first three games of the season due to offseason foot surgery and took a few games to get back into the groove. He’s sure in one now. Brooks was named the NCAA and conference player of the week after averaging 25.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in victories over previously-unbeaten No. 4 UCLA and No. 25 USC. He also hit the game-winning 3-pointer against the Bruins.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
The Pac-12 currently has six teams ranked in the AP Top 25, led by UCLA at No. 9. The Bruins are followed by 10th-ranked Stanford, 12th-ranked Washington, 16th-ranked Oregon State, 19th-ranked Arizona State and 20th-ranked California. Two teams could likely see a change in the rankings next week; Oregon State plays at Cal on Friday.