Yes, it seems even the Cougars are eager to cash in on a Pac-12 Conference bereft of elite teams. Among a weekend full of unexpected results, nothing was a bigger surprise than the Cougars going into the state of Arizona and returning home with road wins against Arizona State as well as Arizona.
The victories ended a number of droughts for WSU. It was the Cougars’ first Pac-12 sweep of any sort since the 2011-12 season and their first on the road since their Oregon trip in the 2008-09 season. It was WSU’s first weekend sweep of the Arizona schools since the 2008-09 season and their its first on the road in Arizona since the 2006-07 season.
The Cougars also broke a 14-game losing streak against Arizona.
The big weekend led the Pac-12 Conference’s Player of the Week honor for WSU senior Robert Franks.
Franks topped 30 points in both victories, matching a career-high with 34 points in the win at UA. Franks also recorded 13 rebounds, four blocked shots, and a career-best four steals against the Wildcats.
Franks also scored 31 points with eight rebounds against Arizona State. He shot 11-for-17 from the floor in both games with a combined 12-for-18 mark on 3-pointers. Franks also went 9-for-9 on free throws and currently has made 22 in a row.
Franks is the first Washington State player to win the Pac-12’s weekly honor since Josh Hawkinson in December 2015.
With Washington’s loss Saturday at Arizona State, the Pac-12 no longer has an unbeaten squad in league play. It also means the Pac-12 is a little further from sporting a ranked team once again.
This week marked the seventh consecutive week the national AP top 25 poll failed to include a Pac-12 team. Washington was knocking on the door last week, unofficially coming in at No. 26 as the top team among others receiving votes and finishing just seven points behind the No. 25 spot. But the Huskies’ first league loss cost them 118 points in this week’s poll, leaving it highly unlikely UW will recover enough luster to reach next week’s poll before a visit from the Colorado Buffaloes (UW’s lone game this week is a visit to suddenly resurgent Washington State).
If that occurs, and no Pac-12 team reaches the poll by next month’s league tournament for any possible rematch against the Buffs, it will mark the first time since the 1980-81 season CU will go an entire year without facing a single ranked foe.
UW still is setting the pace, such as it is, for the Pac-12 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, beginning this week at No. 31. The next Pac-12 team doesn’t check in until Oregon at No. 70, followed by Arizona State (72) and Colorado (80).
With its two wins over the weekend in Los Angeles, Utah became just the second Pac-12 team to defeat all four California schools on the road in the same season. Arizona pulled off the same feat in the 2016-17 season…Arizona, which visits the CU Events Center Sunday (6 p.m., ESPNU), will take a five-game losing streak into its game at Utah on Thursday. It is the first time the Wildcats have lost five consecutive games since the 1983-84 season, which was legendary coach Lute Olson’s first year at the helm.