Clash of league leaders tips off second half of Pac-12 play

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#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE

3 - Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 15 of this week’s AP Top 25 poll in #5 ARIZONA, #11 UCLA and #13 OREGON.
>> It marks the fourth 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 - Saturday’s showdown featuring #5 ARIZONA at #13 OREGON will mark the fourth Conference clash between two ranked teams so far in this Pac-12 season.
>> Between the 2009-10 and 2014-15 seasons, there were three total regular-season ranked matchups in Pac-12 play. There now will be four in each of the past two seasons.

7 - Pac-12 teams rated inside the Top 75 of the NCAA RPI rankings as of Jan. 31 (OREGON, ARIZONA, UCLA, USC, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, UTAH), including five in the top 50, four in the top 25, and two in the top 10.
>> 11 Pac-12 teams have NCAA Strengths of Schedule inside the top 100.

9-0 - The unbeaten league start by ARIZONA (9-0) is tied for the fifth-best since the Conference expanded to the 18-game format in 1979.
>> 1. STAN - 17-0 - 2004; OSU - 17-0 - 1981
3. ARIZ - 16-0 - 1998
4. ARIZ - 14-0 - 1993
5. ARIZ - 9-0 - 2017 & 1988; UCLA - 9-0 - 1983; OSU - 9-0 - 1980.

8,732 -  At the midpoint of the 108-game Pac-12 slate, league contests are drawing 8,732 fans per game. That mark would be the highest average since the formation of the Pac-12 for 2011-12, besting the 8,380 average during the 2015-16 season, which featured a 7,999 average through 54 league games.

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)

MAKING THE CUTS: Along with the most midseason national award selections for the John R. Wooden Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy and Wayman Tisdale Award, several Pac-12 standouts are making finalist lists this week for the Naismith Hall of Fame positional awards:
Bob Cousy Award finalists: Lonzo Ball, UCLA; Markelle Fultz, WASHINGTON
Jerry West Award finalists: Bryce Alford, UCLA
Julius Erving Award finalists: Dillon Brooks, OREGON
Karl Malone Award finalists: TJ Leaf, UCLA; Lauri Markkanen, ARIZONA; Ivan Rabb, CALIFORNIA
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award finalists: Josh Hawkinson, WASHINGTON STATE; Thomas Welsh, UCLA
>> The nine finalists from the Pac-12 are the second-most nationally behind the ACC's 10.

ROAD RARITIES: Of the 24 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 54 league games as of Jan. 29:
>> Average scoring margin is 13.0 ppg.
>> 23 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 18 at home, good for a tie for seventh nationally.

INSIDE THE RANKINGS: ARIZONA’s 91 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 is the second-longest nationally behind Kansas’ streak of 155. OREGON’s stretch of 21 consecutive appearances equals its longest in program history (21 from 2007-08).

WEST COAST BLOCK PARTY: Four Pac-12 teams are ranked inside the national top 15 in blocked shots: OREGON (1st, 7.4 bpg), WASHINGTON (4th, 6.4 bpg), USC (13th, 5.9 bpg) and UCLA (14th, 5.7 bpg).

INSTANT IMPACT: Freshmen lead the Pac-12 in several key categories:
Markelle Fultz, WASH - 23.3 ppg
Lonzo Ball, UCLA - 8.0 apg, 3.2 A/TO ratio, 35.6 mpg
Lauri Markkanen, ARIZ - 50.5% 3FG
De’Anthony Melton, USC - 1.8 spg

RECORD WATCH

ARIZONA’s Sean Miller is the 21st coach in league history to reach 100 career Conference victories. His .741 winning percentage in league games (100-35) is fourth to only John Wooden (.810), Lute Olson (.764) and Jim Harrick (.743) among those to reach the 100-win plateau. 

OREGON (7.4 bpg, 1st in NCAA) is ahead of WASHINGTON’s Pac-12 single-season record block mark of 6.59 set last season.

At his current clip of 23.3 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 176 assists, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is already seventh on the Pac-12’s freshman single-season assists list. At 8.0 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 285 triples (5th active in NCAA, most among Power 6 players) are eighth all-time. Alford’s 1,729 career points are the most among active players from Power 6 programs (15th active in NCAA) and rank 51st in Conference history. 

The 51 career double-doubles for WASHINGTON STATE senior Josh Hawkinson are the highest active total in NCAA Division I. Hawkinson is also fourth among active Division I players in rebounding with 911 career caroms, a total which currently ranks 28th in Pac-12 history.

OREGON junior Jordan Bell (194 blocks) has moved into eighth on the Pac-12’s career blocked shots list, while COLORADO senior Wesley Gordon (192 blocks) is just behind in ninth. They are seeking to become the 7th and 8th Pac-12 players ever to record 200 career blocks. 

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