A glance at the top third of the Pac-12 Conference men's basketball standings through three weekends of league play is, despite a few eyebrow-raising scores along the way, mostly predictable.
Arizona, USC, and UCLA are in that top grouping, as expected. But Stanford has turned heads with its 4-1 start, with the Cardinal showing signs of finally living up to its preseason billing as a darkhorse candidate to crack the Pac-12's top four going into the league tournament (the top four regular-season finishers receive byes in the first round of the tournament).
After a nonconference slate that included losses against a handful of marquee opponents (North Carolina, Florida, and Kansas, all top-15 teams at the time) in addition to some wholly unexpected setbacks (Eastern Washington at home, at Long Beach State), Stanford has put it together so far in league play.
It didn't begin that way, as the Cardinal opened the Pac-12 schedule with a three-point home loss against crosstown rival Cal, which has lost four straight games since. Stanford has gone the other direction, rebounding to defeat UCLA in double overtime and USC at the buzzer before travelling to Washington to post the program's first road sweep within the Pac-12 in almost eight years.
Stanford's fast start will be put to the test this week with home dates against No. 16 Arizona State on Wednesday and No. 14 Arizona on Saturday.
Daejon Davis honored
A week after stunning USC with a half-court, game-winning heave at the buzzer, Stanford freshman Daejon Davis kept the momentum going through wins this past weekend against the Washington schools to capture the Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.
A native of Seattle, Davis posted the first double-double of his career against his hometown team on Saturday, recording 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Cardinal's nine-point win at Washington. Two nights earlier, Davis went 6-for-7 from the field while scoring 15 points in a win at Washington State. Davis went 12-for-20 in the two games while dishing out nine assists.
Davis originally was a Washington recruit but de-committed and eventually landed at Stanford when Lorenzo Romar was fired as UW's coach following last season.
Chris Hill fined
The Pac-12 issued a public reprimand of Utah athletic director Chris Hill and fined Hill $10,000 for an expletive-filled tirade directed at the league's coordinator of men's basketball officiating, Bobby Dibler. Hill's outburst was picked up during Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak's postgame press conference on Jan. 7 following a three-point loss against then-No. 4 Arizona State. Utah shot 36 free throws in that game and was called for 12 fewer fouls than ASU.
With seven assists in Sunday's win against Utah, USC senior guard Jordan McLaughlin moved into elite company as just the 11th Pac-12 player to record at least 1,400 points and 600 assists in his career...Washington State guard Robert Franks set a program record and tied a Pac-12 record with 10 3-pointers in Saturday's win against Cal...The Colorado Buffaloes were off Monday and will resume workouts on Tuesday to begin preparations for Thursday's home date against Washington State.