The Pac-12 power ratings will appear weekly on the Hotline until the conference tournament, although the publication day will change once football season ends.
Pac-12 teams posted an 11-1 record in season openers, an encouraging start that nonetheless requires a morsel of context.
Last year, the conference was 10-2 in openers, but the initial success quickly gave way to a gruesome overall showing in non-conference games that impacted its NCAA Tournament bids and seeds.
November and March are deeply interconnected through the multiplier effect in the NET rankings.
We’ll track the Pac-12 non-conference performance each week in this space.
Result: beat Kansas State 82-69Next up: vs. Cal State Bakersfield (Thursday)Comment: The Trojans couldn’t have scripted a better debut for heralded freshman Isaiah Collier, who had 18 points (on nine shots) and six assists. Check that — they could have scripted fewer than six turnovers and five fouls for Collier. But still, an impressive performance.
Result: beat Morgan State 122-59Next up: at Duke (Friday)Comment: The last time guard Caleb Love took the court in Cameron Indoor Stadium, he was 5-of-15 from the field in a six-point loss with his former team, North Carolina.
Result: beat Towson 75-57Next up: vs. Grambling (Friday)Comment: If the Buffaloes aren’t undefeated headed into an early-December duel with Miami, something has gone sideways. The schedule simply isn’t challenging until that point.
Result: beat St. Francis 75-44Next up: vs. Lafayette (Friday)Comment: We expect several UCLA opponents to score in the 40s this season. The question is, will the Bruins?
Result: beat Georgia 82-71Next up: vs. Montana (Friday)Comment: The preferred outcome in a season opener against Georgia.
Result: lost to Mississippi State 71-56Next up: vs. Texas Southern (Saturday)Comment: The only loss for the conference came on a neutral court (in Chicago) against a power conference opponent picked (by the media) to finish in the middle of the SEC standings and projected (by ESPN) to qualify for the NCAAs.
Result: beat Cal State Northridge 88-79Next up: vs. Sacramento State (Friday)Comment: If the Cardinal also loses to Sacramento State on the hardwood, it might be time to consider moving the athletic department to Division III.
Result: beat Bellarmine 91-57Next up: vs. Northern Kentucky (Thursday)Comment: If Koren Johnson and Keion Brooks combine for 47 points another 18 or 20 times this season, the Huskies might blow past expectations.
Result: beat Eastern Washington 101-66Next up: vs. UC Riverside (Friday)Comment: Even in the transfer portal era, it was a tad jarring to see wing Cole Bajema in a color other than purple.
Result: beat Idaho 84-59Next up: vs. Prairie View A&M (Friday)Comment: WSU might have the softest non-conference schedule in the Pac-12, a state of affairs that carries significant risk: Any loss is a bad loss, unless it comes next week to Mississippi State.
Result: beat St. Thomas (Minn.) 71-66Next up: vs. Pacific (Friday)Comment: The first game of Mark Madsen’s first season worked out better for the Bears than the first game of Mark Fox’s final season (a loss to UC Davis). We expect that trend to continue through the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Result: beat Linfield 82-46Next up: vs. Troy (Friday)Comment: If you’re playing Linfield, you had best blast Linfield — and that’s exactly what the Beavers did.
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