After yet another undefeated weekend, Washington continues to emerge as the best hope for the Pac-12 Conference to make a dent on the national stage in 2019.

The Huskies’ win at Oregon last week was their first since 2010, and it catapulted UW to a road sweep of the Oregon schools. Perfect in league play through seven games for the first time since 1953, UW became just the second team to sweep the road series in Oregon and the Rocky Mountains (Utah and Colorado) since the league expanded to 12 teams before the 2011-12 season.

Washington is also just the 11th team in Pac-12 history to post multiple road sweeps in one season. According to the league’s sports information staff, only three teams have recorded three road sweeps in a season — Arizona during the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, and UCLA in 2016-17. While the Huskies host the Los Angeles schools this week, they still have two-game trips through Arizona and the Bay Area to try and join that club.

Washington’s surge has paid dividends once again for sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell, who on Monday won the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week award for the third time this season. Nowell went 7-for-12 with 20 points and six rebounds in the win against Oregon, and he followed that performance by going 8-for-10 at the free throw line with 19 points in a win against Oregon State.

In the two wins, Nowell went a combined 11-for-18 overall from the floor, 6-for-8 on 3-pointers, and 11-for-14 on free throws. Nowell scored eight points over the final 2 minutes, 4 seconds against Oregon to help the Huskies complete a late rally. He is the fifth UW player to win the award three times in the same season and the first since Isaiah Thomas in 2011-12.

King emerging

Colorado fans will get a firsthand look at one of the league’s top freshmen on Saturday night when Oregon rookie Louis King makes his first visit to Boulder.

The freshman from Jersey City, N.J., entered the season as the No. 11-ranked overall recruit in the nation by ESPN, but his first year with the Ducks got off to a slow start due to a knee injury that kept him sidelined for Oregon’s first seven games. Since the start of Pac-12 play, however, King has justified all the recruiting hoopla, averaging 17.9 points while shooting 47 percent from the field (47-for-100).

King began his Pac-12 career with consecutive double-doubles against Oregon State and UCLA, and in the Ducks’ split last week against the Washington schools he averaged 20.5 points while shooting .652 overall (15-for-23) and .556 (5-for-9) on 3-pointers.

Ranking review

Washington’s surge didn’t help the Pac-12 to finally break back into the weekly AP top 25.

This week’s poll doesn’t include a Pac-12 squad for the fifth week in a row, though the Huskies inched closer as the third team among others receiving votes. No other Pac-12 team received even a single vote.

In the latest NET rankings, the NCAA’s new power-ranking system, Washington led all Pac-12 schools at No. 32 going into Monday’s games around the nation. Another Pac-12 squad doesn’t check in until Arizona State at No. 61. Colorado has dropped to No. 105.


Utah improved to 5-2 in the league by posting a sweep on the Bay Area trip for the first time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011-12…Washington begins the week with a two-game lead atop the Pac-12 over USC and Utah. The Huskies will have a chance to extend that lead on Wednesday night when they host USC (9 p.m. MT, FS1)…CU will host the league’s leading scorer Thursday night in Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle (20.4 ppg).

Pat Rooney: or