This week in Pac-12 men's basketball
AROUND THE PAC-12
• AND AWAY WE GO... Conference action gets underway on Friday. During Pac-12 Media Day, the media tabbed Arizona to win the Pac-12 title this season, followed by Utah and Colorado.
• POLL WATCHING... Three Pac-12 teams remain in this week’s Top 25 - ARIZONA (No. 8 AP/No. 7 Coaches), UTAH (10/12), and WASHINGTON (21/19)... The Wildcats have been ranked in 48-straight AP polls, including 28-straight weeks in the top 10... It’s the highest ranking for the Utes since they finished the 1998-99 season at No. 6... Did you know: Arizona and Utah are two of six athletic programs to have its basketball and football programs ranked in the AP Top 25 (also Baylor, Louisville, Ohio State, and Wisconsin).
• NO PLACE LIKE HOME: So far this season, Pac-12 teams have racked up a 77-10 (.910) home court record. All Pac-12 teams have a winning home court record this season. ARIZONA leads the way with a 8-0 home mark, followed by OREGON STATE and UTAH at 7-0, and STANFORD at 5-0... Arizona is currently riding a 29-game winning streak at McKale Center, the fifth-longest in program history. Since 2010-11, the Wildcats lead the Pac-12 in home court winning percentage and is 82-11 (.882)... Five Utah players are averaging in double digits at home this season - Delon Wright (16.4 ppg), Jordan Loveridge (13.7), Jakob Poeltl (12.7), Dakarai Tucker (10.5) and Brandon Taylor (10.0).
• ALOHA: Colorado senior guard Askia Booker was named to the Diamond Head Classic All-Tournament Team last week after he averaged 19.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg. Booker (1,391 pts), Josh Scott (987 pts), and Xavier Johnson (839 pts) are looking to become the first CU tri-teammates to each have 1,000 career points in the same season since 2003-04 (David Harrison, Michel Morandais, Blair Wilson).
• BIG IMPROVEMENTS: Three Pac-12 players who rank among the league’s top 10 scorers made a significant jump in their scoring averages from a year ago. WASHINGTON STATE sophomore F Josh Hawkinson averaged 1.2 points last season and is currently seventh in the Conference at 15.7 ppg. He also upped his rebound numbers from 1.6 rpg to a Pac-12 leading 10.5 rpg. UCLA sophomore guard Bryce Alford is fourth in the league averaging 17.5 ppg, up from 8.0 ppg in 2014. CALIFORNIA junior guard Tyrone Wallace upped his scoring average from 11.3 ppg to 19.2 ppg, which is third in the league.
• TAKING ON THE TOP 25: With its upset of No. 9 Texas, 74-71 on Dec. 23 in Austin, STANFORD knocked off its highest-ranked road victim since edging No. 9 Washington State, 67-65 in Pullman on Feb. 2, 2008... Pac-12 teams enter Conference play having posted a 6-11 record against ranked opponents. It was 3-7 in such games prior to the beginning of league play last season.
• NCAA TOURNAMENT FUTURE SITES... The NCAA announced preliminary round sites for the 2016-18 NCAA Tournaments. In 2017, UTAH will host 1st/2nd Rounds in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, while the Pac-12 will host the West Regional in San Jose at the SAP Center. The NCAA announced that Glendale, Ariz., (University of Phoenix Stadium) will be site of the 2017 Final Four. It’ll be the first western site to host the Final Four since UCLA won the 1995 national title in Seattle.
Mon., Dec. 29, Time (local to site), Network
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at STANFORD , 8 p.m. PT, P12N
UC Irvine at OREGON , 8 p.m. PT, P12N
Tues., Dec. 30
UCSB at OREGON STATE , 6:30 p.m. PT, P12N
Carroll (Montana) at No. 10 UTAH , 7:30 p.m. MT, P12N
Vermont at USC , , 8:30 p.m. PT, P12N
Fri., Jan. 2
WASHINGTON STATE at STANFORD, 12 noon PT, P12N
Series: STAN leads, 73-59. Last: STAN, 74-63. Streak: STAN 4
No. 21 WASHINGTON at CALIFORNIA, 7 p.m. PT, P12N
Series: CAL leads, 80-78. Last: CAL, 72-59. Streak: CAL 2
UCLA at COLORADO, 8 p.m. MT, FOX Sports 1
Series: UCLA leads, 8-1. Last: UCLA, 92-74. Streak: UCLA 5
USC at No. 10 UTAH, 8 p.m. MT, ESPNU
Series: Tied, 17-17. Last: Utah, 79-71. Streak: UTAH 3
Sat., Jan. 3
OREGON STATE at OREGON, 5 p.m. PT, ESPNU
Series: OSU leads, 186-156. Last: ORE, 88-74. Streak: ORE 2
Sun., Jan. 4
USC at COLORADO, 12 noon MT, P12N
Series: COLO leads, 6-3. Last: COLO, 59-56. Streak: COLO 3
UCLA at No. 10 UTAH, 2 p.m. MT, P12N
Series: UCLA leads, 7-5. Last: UCLA, 80-66. Streak: UCLA 1
WASHINGTON STATE at CALIFORNIA, 3 p.m. PT, P12N
Series: CAL leads 76-47. Last: CAL, 80-76 (OT). Streak: CAL 3
ARIZONA STATE at No. 8 ARIZONA, 5 p.m. MT, FOX Sports 1
Series: ARIZ leads, 145-81. Last: ASU, 69-66 (2OT). Streak: ASU 1
No. 21 WASHINGTON at STANFORD, 7 p.m. PT, ESPNU
Series: STAN leads, 71-69. Last: WASH, 64-60. Streak: WASH 1
Rankings listed are AP poll; Game times local to site