Blockbuster rematch leads in to key weekend in Pac-12 men's basketball play
#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE
3 - A national-best three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 10 of this week’s AP Top 25 poll in #5 OREGON, #9 ARIZONA and #10 UCLA. It marks the second time this season the league placed three teams in the top 10.
>> The Conference last had three top 10 teams in multiple weeks during the 1998-99 season (three weeks).
5 - Thursday’s rematch featuring #5 OREGON at #10 UCLA will mark the fifth Conference clash between two ranked teams so far in this Pac-12 season, the most regular-season meetings of ranked league teams since 2008-09.
>> Between the 2009-10 and 2014-15 seasons, there were three total regular-season ranked matchups in Pac-12 play. There now will be nine total during past two seasons.
7 - Seven Pac-12 teams rate inside the top 80 of the NCAA RPI rankings as of Feb. 7 (OREGON, ARIZONA, UCLA, USC, CALIFORNIA, STANFORD, UTAH), including five in the top 50, four in the top 30, and two in the top 12.
>> 11 Pac-12 teams have NCAA Strengths of Schedule inside the top 100.
9 - Nine Pac-12 standouts were named top 10 national finalists for Naismith Memorial Basketball 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.
4x20 - It marks the earliest point in any season since the formation of the Pac-8 in 1968 that four Conference teams reached the 20-win plateau.
NCAA.com Team of the Week - Lonzo Ball, UCLA (Nov. 28)
NCAA.com TOW - TJ Leaf, UCLA (Dec. 5)
Lute Olson POW - Isaac Hamilton, UCLA (Dec. 5)
USBWA FrOW - TJ Leaf, UCLA (Dec. 6)
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)
Lute Olson POW - Lauri Markkanen, Arizona (Jan. 23)
USBWA POW - Lauri Markkanen, Arizona (Jan. 24)
USBWA FrOW - TJ Leaf, UCLA (Feb. 6)
DRAWING A CROWD: 66 games into the 108-game Pac-12 slate, league contests are drawing 8,449 fans per game. That mark would be the highest average since the formation of the Pac-12 for 2011-12, besting the 8,380 during 2015-16, which featured a 7,889 average through 68 league games.
ROAD RARITIES: Of the 30 two-game Conference road swings so far in 2016-17, seven teams have completed sweeps:
OREGON at WASH/WSU
ARIZONA at CAL/STAN & USC/UCLA
UCLA at COLO/UTAH & WSU/WASH
USC at WASH/WSU
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 66 league games as of Feb. 5:
>> Average scoring margin is 13.0 ppg.
>> 29 have been decided by single digits.
>> 10 have been decided by one possession (3 pts or less).
>> 5 decided by a team’s final possession.
>> 3 overtime games (4 total OT periods).
HOME SWEET HOME: Two Pac-12 teams have built double-digit home court winning streaks. OREGON owns the nation’s longest home streak at 40 consecutive games, while ARIZONA has won its last 18 at home, good for a tie for seventh nationally.
INSIDE THE RANKINGS: ARIZONA’s 92 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 dates back to 2013 and is the second-longest nationally behind Kansas’ streak of 156. OREGON’s stretch of 22 consecutive appearances is its longest in program history, surpassing 21 from 2007-08.
WEST COAST BLOCK PARTY: Five Pac-12 teams are ranked inside the national top 30 in blocked shots: OREGON (1st, 7.3 bpg), WASHINGTON (4th, 6.2 bpg), USC (12th, 5.7 bpg) and UCLA (18th, 5.5 bpg) and CALIFORNIA (28th, 5.2 bpg).
INSTANT IMPACT: Freshmen lead the Pac-12 in several key categories:
Markelle Fultz, WASH - 23.2 ppg
Lonzo Ball, UCLA - 7.8 apg, 3.1 A/TO ratio
TJ Leaf, UCLA - 63.9% FG
Lauri Markkanen, ARIZ - 48.7% 3FG
ARIZONA’s Sean Miller is the 21st coach in league history to reach 100 career Conference victories. His .737 winning percentage in league games (101-36) is fourth to only John Wooden (.810), Lute Olson (.764) and Jim Harrick (.743) among those to reach the 100-win plateau.
OREGON (7.3 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 23.2 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 188 assists, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is already fourth on the Pac-12’s freshman single-season assists list. At 7.8 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 291 triples (5th active in NCAA, most among Power 6 players) are eighth all-time. Alford’s 1,757 career points are the most among active players from Power 6 programs (15th active in NCAA) and rank 46th in Conference history just behind Bill Walton’s 1,767.
The 52 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 932 career caroms, a total which currently ranks 26th in Pac-12 history.
OREGON junior Jordan Bell (200 blocks) has moved into seventh on the Pac-12’s career blocked shots list, while COLORADO senior Wesley Gordon (194 blocks) is just behind in ninth and OREGON’s Chris Boucher (172) is fast approaching.