Star power shining national light on #Pac12Hoops

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The play of Pac-12 men's basketball stars has garnered national attention in recent weeks, shining more light on a league among the deepest, most competitive and most exciting in college basketball in 2015-16. A league that is celebrating its centennial in 2015-16 continues to be on the verge of its most successful season in terms of postseason bids in its long and storied basketball history. 

#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE

1 - Via the NCAA Statistics conference trends rankings, the Pac-12 is first nationally in scoring average (77.4 ppg), rebound average (38.7 rpg) and block average (4.7 bpg) through Feb. 8 games.

3 - Consecutive weeks with a Pac-12 standout earning the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week award (Ryan Anderson, ARIZ; Dillon Brooks, ORE; Jakob Poeltl, UTAH). It is the first time in the seven-year history of the award that a conference has earned three straight selections.

7 - Pac-12 standouts named Top 10 Finalists for ESPN/Naismith Hall of Fame positional Players of the Year, tying the second-most of any conference:
>> Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year: Gary Payton II, OREGON STATE
>> Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year: Julian Jacobs, USC
>> Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year: Dillon Brooks, OREGON
>> Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year: Ryan Anderson, ARIZONA
>> Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year: Jakob Poeltl, UTAH; Josh Scott, COLO; Josh Hawkinson, WSU (three center finalists is most of any conference)

10 - Ten Pac-12 teams have an NCAA Strength of Schedule in the top 50, the most in the nation, with another (USC) at 51. OREGON and STANFORD rank first and third, respectively, in the category.

11 - The Pac-12’s 11 teams in the NCAA RPI Top 75 as of Feb. 9 are the most in the nation. Seven Pac-12 teams are in the top 50, tied for second-most nationally, and four are in the top 25.

PAC-12 QUICK HITS

BRACKETOLOGY: The Pac-12 is currently projected to earn a league record 7-to-8 NCAA Tournament bids according to various major sports news bracketology posts:

CBSSports.com - 8
USA Today - 8
FOXSports.com - 8 (+1 First Four Out) 
ESPN.com - 7 (+2 Next Four Out)
NBCSports.com - 7 (+2 First Four Out) 
Sporting News - 7 (+1 Bubble)
Sports Illustrated - 7 (+2 First Four Out)

HOME SWEET HOME: OREGON now owns the Pac-12’s longest and nation’s ninth-best home court win streak at 22 straight games after the Ducks ended ARIZONA’s national-best 49-game streak on Jan. 28. CALIFORNIA (15) and USC (15) are also enjoying lengthy home streaks, both tied for the 15th longest in the nation.

ROAD TO VEGAS: Only three teams have completed a road sweep in 28 attempts so far in league play:

UTAH at WSU/WASH
ORE at ARIZ/ASU
ARIZ at WSU/WASH

For the first time in Pac-12 history (2012), every team has at least two road losses.

OSCAR TRIO FOR PAC-12: After only three recipients in the award’s first six years, Pac-12 players have earned three straight selections for the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week:

Ryan Anderson, ARIZONA - Feb. 9, 2016 (also Naismith National Player of the Week)
Dillon Brooks, OREGON - Feb. 2, 2016 (also NCAA.com and Naismith National Player of the Week)
Jakob Poeltl, UTAH - Jan. 26, 2016
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA - Dec. 2012
Faisal Aden, WASHINGTON STATE - Jan. 2012
Jerome Randle, CALIFORNIA - Feb. 2010

TOP 100 CHARTS: Through Feb. 8, the Pac-12 has 88 wins against NCAA RPI Top 100 teams, led by ARIZONA (9-5), CALIFORNIA (8-7), OREGON (14-3), USC (9-5) and UTAH (11-7).

The Pac-12 has 39 total wins versus the RPI Top 50, paced by OREGON (8-2), OREGON STATE (5-5) and UTAH (5-6).

OREGON (4-1), OREGON STATE (4-3) and WASHINGTON (3-3) combine for 11 of the Pac-12’s 19 RPI Top 25 wins. The Ducks’ and Beavers’ four are tied for the most in the nation.

EVERY GAME’S A BATTLE: Through 64 league games as of Feb. 7:
>> Average scoring margin is 10.4 ppg.
>> 31 have been decided by single digits.
>> 12 have been decided by one possession (3 pts or less).
>> Six have gone to OT, 10 total OT periods.
>> Six decided by a team’s final possession.

FIRST TO 90 WINS?: There have been 18 instances of a Pac-12 team reaching the 90-point plateau through the 64 total league games of Feb. 7, six more than the 12 from the entire 2014-15 Pac-12 season.

ROAD TO RIO PAVED BY PAC-12: USA Basketball released its list of the 30 finalists for its 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s National Team roster on Jan. 18 and the Pac-12 Conference had the most former players listed with six:

DeMar DeRozan, USC
James Harden, ARIZONA STATE
Andre Iguodala, ARIZONA
Kevin Love, UCLA
Klay Thompson, WASHINGTON STATE
Russell Westbrook, UCLA

The six were among 62 former Pac-12 players listed on NBA rosters on opening day of the 2015-16 season, the second-most from a single conference behind the ACC’s 74.

PAC-12 PAVES WAY TO ALL-STAR GAME: Of the 24 NBA players named to the 2016 All-Star Game in Toronto, the Pac-12 led all conferences with five former standouts chosen:

DeMar DeRozan, Toronto (USC)
Isaiah Thomas, Boston (WASH)
James Harden, Houston (ASU)
Klay Thompson, Golden State (WSU)
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (UCLA)

#PAC12HOOPS LINEUP

1 - Pac-12 All-Access was at ARIZONA for the lead up to Coach Sean Miller's 300th career victory, which was keyed by two of Miller's senior leaders in Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York.

2 - In his first season at ARIZONA STATE, Coach Bobby Hurley is aiming to instill a playground toughness that made him a national champion at Duke to help senior Gerry Blakes and the Sun Devils regain their mojo.

3 - The Pac-12's 12-game schedule this week starts Wednesday with an integral battle of top-half teams and ends Sunday with a clash between two Top 25 teams. Lamar Hurd previews WASHINGTON at UTAH and No. 23 USC at No. 17 ARIZONA in his Hurd Mentality.

4 - A week after garnering a trio of national player of the week awards, Dillon Brooks averaged 20 points to help first place OREGON run its conference win streak to six straight games. The Oregonian's Tyson Alger describes how Brooks' determination was shaped by his Canadian upbringing.

5 - The Pac-12 is one of the most difficult conferences to navigate on the road as evidenced by the .313 road win percentage (20-44) so far in league play.  OREGON STATE took advantage of that last week writes The Oregonian's Danny Moran as the Beavers played themselves back into NCAA Tournament contention with two home wins by a combined six points.

6 - Becoming the nation's second-most successful and frequent free throw shooter isn't just by happenstance. GoHuskies.com profiles how senior guard and Pac-12 leading scorer Andrew Andrews has turned getting to the foul line into an art form.

7 - Things have come full circle since ARIZONA last faced the LA schools. With the Wildcats set to host UCLA and USC this week, Tucson.com's Bruce Pascoe looks at guard Allonzo Trier's decision to be fearless in his return from injury, and that Ryan Anderson has refocused since last month's LA road trip.

8 - He's a researcher, founder, co-founder and CEO. He's also a junior forward for USC's nationally ranked men's basketball team. Samer Dhillon will be recognized at this year's Final Four as a member of the Allstate/NABC Good Works Team.

9 - Among the things learned during Tuesday's Pac-12 men's basketball coaches media teleconference is that CALIFORNIA starting guard Tyrone Wallace will have his injured wrist evaluated this week. Listen to all the interviews in the teleconference archive.

10 - It's going to be hard to top John Wooden in the voting for the Pac-12 All-Century CoachThe voting was equally (and surprisingly) unanimous as current Pac-12 men's basketball stars Andrews, Blakes, Hawkinson, Scott, Wallace, Elgin Cook (OREGON) and Jordan McLaughlin (USC) selected their all-time NBA starting five.

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