In a wide-open Pac-12 conference bereft of a powerhouse or even a consensus favorite, why not Oregon State?
The Beavers certainly are doing their part to state their case.
OSU posted a home sweep of the Los Angeles schools over the weekend, improving to 3-0 in the Pac-12 for the first time since the 1992-93 season with a 79-66 win Sunday night against UCLA.
The Beavers already were going to boast a solid duo in senior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. and junior forward Tres Tinkle. But while OSU rarely has featured depth as a team strength, that has changed at least slightly this season with the addition of 7-footer Kylor Kelley, an Oregon native who joined OSU from Lane Community College. An early-season injury to senior Gligorije Rakocevic thrust Kelley into a larger role, and Kelley has emerged as a force for the Beavers even with Rakocevic working his way back into the rotation. Kelley went 6-for-6 with 14 points and five blocked shots in Sunday's win against UCLA.
OSU's big week led to the first career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor for Thompson. The senior posted a double-double in an overtime win against USC, finishing with a career-high 34 points along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Thompson went 11-for-19 from the field (5-for-11 on 3-pointers) and also was 7-for-8 at the free throw line.
Thompson's shooting touch cooled somewhat against UCLA (6-for-15 overall, 1-for-7 3-pointers) but he went 4-for-4 at the free throw line and still finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
OSU will have to try and maintain its momentum on the road this week with games Thursday at Arizona State (8 p.m. MT, FS1) and Saturday at Arizona (5 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network).
An eventful season at USC continued over the weekend. Not only did the Trojans suffer losses at Oregon State and Oregon, but before Sunday's loss against the Ducks head coach Andy Enfield announced the suspension of freshman Kevin Porter Jr. due to unspecified conduct issues.
Porter played in last week's overtime loss at Oregon State after missing nine of the previous 10 games due to a thigh injury but returned to the bench Sunday due to the suspension. It is the second high-profile suspension for Enfield's program in the past month, as sophomore Jordan Usher was issued a similar indefinite suspension in December. Usher almost immediately transferred to Georgia Tech, though Porter took to his Twitter account Monday to reiterate he would remain with USC for the remainder of the season.
Washington senior guard David Crisp made a little history during the Huskies' road wins against Utah and Colorado. Crisp became the first UW player to collect at least 1,000 points, 300 assists, 200 made 3-pointers, and 100 steals in his career...Once again no Pac-12 team reached this week's AP top 25 poll. Arizona and Washington finished with eight points apiece...Washington again leads the Pac-12 schools in the NCAA's NET ranking, moving up to No. 38 after sweeping Utah and Colorado on the road. Arizona is next at No. 51.