The Pac-12 Conference continues to be well-represented in the national top 25.
The latest AP poll released Monday featured four Pac-12 programs for the third consecutive week, with the Colorado Buffaloes moving up two spots to No. 21.
Washington also moved forward two spots to No. 23, while No. 11 Oregon and No. 14 Arizona held steady. No other power conference has more than four schools represented, though the 15-team ACC and the 14-team SEC also boast four ranked teams. All four of the ACC teams are in the top seven in No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Louisville, No. 6 North Carolina and No. 7 Virginia.
The Pac-12’s hot start cooled somewhat last week with a number of unexpected losses, highlighted perhaps by UCLA losing at home to Hofstra and USC dropping a home decision against Temple.
The league will have ample opportunity to get back on track and pick up significant wins once again this week, beginning late Monday night with Stanford battling Oklahoma and UCLA taking on BYU in Hawaii. The highlight of the week likely will be the 11th-ranked Ducks taking on No. 13 Seton Hall in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Wednesday, though Oregon could face No. 8 Gonzaga in the tournament on Thursday as well. Depending on the results in the Bahamas, the Ducks also could pair up against the sixth-ranked Tar Heels on Friday.
The UCLA-BYU matchup is in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, and the Bruins might have an opportunity to take on No. 4 Kansas on Tuesday, followed by a final-day matchup against a team from a pool of squads that includes Georgia, Dayton, Virginia Tech, and No. 3 Michigan State.
In the third week of the new Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor, Monday marked the first time the same player landed the freshman award as well as the overall Player of the Week award.
That nod went to USC rookie Onyeka Okongwu, who averaged 25 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks as the Trojans defeated Pepperdine and lost to Temple. Okongwu shot a stellar .583 in the two games (14-for-24), and his week included a monster 33-point game against Pepperdine in which Okongwu went 17-for-21 at the free throw line. It was the most made free throws ever at USC’s Galen Center, and it was the third-most ever by a Trojans player.
Okongwu’s 33 points against Pepperdine was the most by a USC player since OJ Mayo scored 37 points against Arizona State on March 1, 2008. It is the second straight week a USC player was named the overall Player of the Week, as senior Nick Rakocevic nabbed the honor last week.
Oregon’s win against Houston on Friday was the 650th for Dana Altman as a Division I coach. He is the 37th coach to reach that mark…Last week, Arizona coach Sean Miller announced that Devonaire Doutrive was dismissed from the program due to a violation of team rules. Doutrive averaged 3.5 points in 24 games off the bench last year as a freshman and announced he was transferring out of the program last spring before reversing course and returning to Tucson.