Start of #Pac12Hoops play showcases league's depth

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The opening weekend of #Pac12Hoops play, which saw the teams picked Nos. 9-12 in the preseason media poll go 5-3, further reinforced that there is Strength in the Pac this winter. Coupled with its non-conference success, the data continues to position the Pac-12 among the deepest and strongest in 2015-16:

#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE

117-33 - The combined record of all Pac-12 programs in non-conference play. The .780 win percentage was the second-best nationally, behind the Big 12, and 33 losses were the third-fewest, trailing the Big 12 and Big East.

2 - The Pac-12’s ranking in the CBSSports.com Conference RPI compiled by Jerry Palm at the conclusion of non-conference play, behind only the Big 12. The last time the Pac-12 ranked second in the official NCAA Conference RPI at the conclusion of non-conference play was during the 2004-05 campaign.

8 - The Pac-12’s eight teams in the NCAA RPI Top 50 as of Jan. 5 are the most in the nation. Eleven Pac-12 teams are currently in the top 100, the second-most nationally behind only the ACC.

9 - Pac-12 teams in the latest NCAA Tournament bracket projection by CBSSports.com and Jerry Palm on Jan. 4, the most of any conference in the country. Nine bids would set a record for the Pac-12 and match the second-most by a conference in tournament history.

12 - Every Pac-12 program has a winning record through games of Jan. 4, a feat matched only by the Big 12.

STRENGTH IN THE PAC: #Pac12Hoops 2015-16 Non-Conference Success
- NO. 2 CBSSports.com NON-CONFERENCE RPI
- NCAA SECOND-BEST .780 WIN PCT.
- 9.8 AVG. WINS PER TEAM, TIED MOST IN NCAA
- SEVEN AP TOP 25 VICTORIES (7-12)
- 11-7 IN TRUE ROAD GAMES, 92-8 AT HOME
- 13-11 VS. POWER 5 OPPONENTS
- 14-11 VS. PRESEASON LEAGUE FAVORITES
- 31-24 VS. 2015 NCAA/NIT TOURNEY TEAMS

Larry Krystkowiak, UTAH
“I talked to some folks from out east - [ESPN’s] Jeff Goodman and some guys that are involved with college basketball - and they all thought from top-to-bottom it was as strong a league as there was in the country.”

Ernie Kent, WASHINGTON STATE
“I think the Pac-12 has shown that it’s one of, if not the, premier conference out there. When you look at the upsets, the consistency of play in the conference, it’s going to be an incredible conference. It hasn’t been like this in a long time where game-in-game-out, night-in-night-out the games are going to be extremely competitive.”

Lorenzo Romar, WASHINGTON
“As a result [of several marquee wins], the Pac-12 on a national scale has gotten a lot of recognition. Our depth is very strong right now, our strength of schedule as a conference has been great in the non-conference, we’ve had some notable wins, and I think that lends itself to show that there is not just depth, but quality depth in the conference this year.”

Sean Miller, ARIZONA
“From top to bottom, the depth and quality of teams - so many of them having improved from a year or two ago - it’s the deepest conference we have competed in as a coaching staff. I think we have a strong top, an equally strong middle, and whoever finishes at the bottom will be among the better bottom teams in the Pac-12 in recent seasons.”

PAC-12 QUICK HITS

CONFERENCE OF REBOUNDS: Through games of Jan. 4, Pac-12 programs have a combined average rebound total of 40.5, the highest of any conference.

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT: The Pac-12 is second nationally in scoring at 78.6 points per game. League-wide scoring is +6.9 points compared through the first weekend of Pac-12 play last season (78.6 to 71.7) with 10 teams averaging at least 75.0 ppg so far in 2015-16 versus just three in 2014-15.

HOME SWEET HOME: ARIZONA owns NCAA Division I’s longest active home win streak at 47 consecutive games. OREGON has won 16 in a row at home, tied for the 15th longest streak in the nation.

TOP 100 CHARTS: Through Jan. 4, the Pac-12 has 46 wins against NCAA RPI Top 100 teams, led by ARIZONA (6-1), ARIZONA STATE (5-2), CALIFORNIA (5-1), COLORADO (4-3), OREGON (5-3), UCLA (4-5), USC (4-3) and UTAH (5-4). CALIFORNIA leads the nation with five RPI Top 50 wins (5-1), while the Pac-12 has 22 Top 50 victories overall.

POLLING WELL: At least one Pac-12 program has been in the AP Top 25 for 68 consecutive weeks, including 48 straight with a Top 15 team. ARIZONA climbed to No. 7 on Monday, while six other teams are receiving votes in a Top 25 poll.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?: In four of the past nine seasons, the Pac-12 has sent six teams into the NCAA Tournament. In each of those four instances, the league won more than 75 percent of its non-conference games. In 2015-16, the Pac-12 posted a .780 non-league win percentage.

TOPPLING THE TOP 25: Pac-12 teams posted a combined seven wins against Top 25 teams in non-conference play, tied for the second-most in the nation behind the ACC. Five of those upsets came in a span of 20 days (11/30-12/19). In total, Pac-12 teams have combined for 11 Top 25 wins with road sweeps of UCLA and UTAH in the opening weekend of league play.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The Pac-12 plays 10 games over five days this week including four Pac-12 Networks contests on Saturday, Jan. 9. Other games of highlight are CALIFORNIA at OREGON (6 p.m. PT, ESPN2) and STANFORD at OREGON STATE (8 p.m. PT, ESPNU) on Wednesday, Jan. 6, ARIZONA at UCLA (6 p.m. PT, ESPN2) on Thursday, Jan. 7, UTAH at COLORADO (7 p.m. PT, FS1) on Friday, Jan. 8, and STANFORD at OREGON (7 p.m. PT, ESPNU) on Sunday, Jan. 10.

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