Pac-12 men's basketball's top teams, talent taking center stage

Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports

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#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE

2 -  For the second time this season, a Pac-12 standout has been chosen the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week. ARIZONA’s Lauri Markkanen claimed this week’s honor, three weeks after OREGON’s Dillon Brooks received the accolade.
>> After earning three nods in the award’s first six seasons, the Pac-12 has totaled five USBWA National POW awards in the past two seasons.

3 - Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 10 of this week’s AP Top 25 poll in #7 ARIZONA, #8 UCLA and #10 OREGON. It marks the first week three Conference teams appeared in the AP top 10 at the same time since the week of Feb. 2, 1999 (#6 STANFORD, #9 UCLA, #10 ARIZONA).
>> It also marks the third time this season that three Pac-12 teams appeared in the top 15 in the same week, a feat that occurred only twice the previous eight seasons.

4 - A national-best four Pac-12 standouts were named to the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year & Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Midseason Watch Lists on Jan. 23.
>> The four selections are the league’s most-ever for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and equal the most for the Wayman Tisdale Award (2013) since the organization began releasing midseason lists in 2012.

7 - Pac-12 teams rated inside the Top 64 of the NCAA RPI rankings as of Jan. 24 (OREGON, ARIZONA, UCLA, USC, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, UTAH), including six in the top 60, four in the top 30 and three in the top 20.
>> 10 Pac-12 teams have NCAA Strengths of Schedule inside the top 100.

16 & 12 -  OREGON’s school-record 16-game winning streak is tied for the third-longest in the nation, while ARIZONA’s 12-game win streak is the fifth-longest in the country.
>> The Ducks’ 15 straight Conference wins dating back to last season are the most in the country.

PAC-12 TIPOFF

National Honors
NCAA.com Team of the Week - Lonzo Ball, UCLA (Nov. 28)
NCAA.com TOW - TJ Leaf, UCLA (Dec. 5)
NCAA.com TOW - Derrick White, Colorado (Dec. 12)
NCAA.com TOW - Chris Boucher, Oregon (Dec. 19)
NCAA.com POW - Dillon Brooks, Oregon (Jan. 2)
USBWA POW - Dillon Brooks, Oregon (Jan. 2)
USBWA FrOW - Markelle Fultz, Washington (Jan. 2)
NCAA.com TOW - Ivan Rabb, California (Jan. 9)
NCAA.com POW - Ivan Rabb, California (Jan. 16)
USBWA POW - Lauri Markkanen, Arizona (Jan. 24)

FAST STARTS: The unbeaten league starts by ARIZONA (7-0) and OREGON (7-0) are the best for a pair of Pac-12 teams since ARIZONA and CALIFORNIA both started 7-0 in 2002-03. They tie for the 11th-best unbeaten starts to league play since expanding to the 18-game format in 1979.

Best unbeaten starts in Conference history (since expansion and move to 18-game schedule in 1979)
1. Stanford - 17-0 - 2004
    Oregon State - 17-0 - 1981
3. Arizona - 16-0 - 1998
4. Arizona - 14-0 - 1993
5. Arizona - 9-0 - 1988
    UCLA - 9-0 - 1983
    Oregon State - 9-0 - 1980
8. Arizona - 8-0 - 2014
    Stanford - 8-0 - 2001
    Oregon State - 8-0 - 1990
11. 11 teams - 7-0, including Arizona & Oregon in 2017
 
ROAD RARITITES: Of the 20 two-game Conference road swings so far in 2016-17, five teams have completed sweeps:
OREGON at WASH/WSU
ARIZONA at CAL/STAN & USC/UCLA
UCLA at COLO/UTAH (only the 4th sweep of mountain schools since 2011-12)
UTAH at WSU/WASH
During the 2015-16 season, only six times in 48 swings did a Pac-12 team complete a road sweep.
 
EVERY GAME’S A BATTLE: Through 44 league games as of Jan. 22:
>> Average scoring margin is 13.8 ppg.
>> 17 have been decided by single digits.
>> 8 have been decided by one possession (3 pts or less).
>> 4 decided by a team’s final possession.
>> 2 overtime games (2 total OT periods).
 
HOME SWEET HOME: Two Pac-12 teams have built double-digit home court winning streaks. OREGON owns the nation’s second-longest home streak at 38 consecutive games, while ARIZONA has won its last 16 at home, good for a tie for 10th nationally.
 
INSIDE THE RANKINGS: ARIZONA’s 90 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 is the second-longest nationally behind Kansas’ streak of 154. OREGON’s stretch of 20 consecutive appearances is its second-longest in program history (21 from 2007-08).
 
LA-LA-LAND: Two Conference teams have gone undefeated in non-conference play just three times dating to the founding of the Pac-8 in 1967.
2016-17: UCLA (13-0) and USC (13-0)
2013-14: ARIZONA (13-0) and OREGON (12-0)
1994-95: STANFORD (9-0) and UCLA (9-0)
 
WEST COAST BLOCK PARTY: Four Pac-12 teams are ranked inside the national top 20 in blocked shots: OREGON (1st, 7.7 bpg), WASHINGTON (2nd, 6.7 bpg), USC (12th, 5.9 bpg) and UCLA (14th, 5.7 bpg).
 
INSTANT IMPACT: Freshmen lead the Pac-12 in key categories:
Markelle Fultz, WASH - 23.4 ppg
Lonzo Ball, UCLA - 8.2 apg, 3.6 A/TO ratio, 35.3 mpg
Lauri Markkanen - 50.0% 3FG
 
RECORD WATCH
 
OREGON (7.7 bpg, 1st in NCAA) and WASHINGTON (6.7 bpg, 2nd) are ahead of the Huskies’ Pac-12 single-season record setting block mark of 6.59 set last season.
 
At his current clip of 23.4 points per game, WASHINGTON’s Markelle Fultz is aiming to become the first freshman to lead the league in scoring since CALIFORNIA’s Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 1995-96 (Conference freshman record 21.1 ppg). Fultz would be only the third freshmen to pace the league in scoring along with Abdur-Rahim and Cliff Robinson (USC, 1977-78).
 
With 172 assists, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is already ninth on the Pac-12’s freshman single-season assists list. At 8.2 apg, he’s on pace to shatter the rookie mark of 229 set by OREGON STATE’s Gary Payton in 1986-87.
 
UCLA’s Bryce Alford has entered the Pac-12 career Top 10 in three-point field goals as his 284 triples (4th active in NCAA, most among Power 6 players) are eighth all-time. Alford’s 1,726 career points are the most among active players from Power 6 programs (10th active in NCAA) and rank 52nd in Conference history.
 
The 50 career double-doubles for WASHINGTON STATE senior Josh Hawkinson are the highest active total in NCAA Division I. Hawkinson is also third among active Division I players in rebounding with 896 career caroms, a total which currently ties for 32nd in Pac-12 history.
 
OREGON junior Jordan Bell (191 blocks) has moved into a tie for eighth on the Pac-12’s career blocked shots list, while COLORADO senior Wesley Gordon (190 blocks) is tied for 10th. They are seeking to become the 7th and 8th Pac-12 players ever to eclipse 200 career blocks.
 
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