Top 5 tilt highlights pivotal positioning week in Pac-12 race
#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE
3 - Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 10 of this week’s AP Top 25 poll in #4 ARIZONA, #5 UCLA and #6 OREGON, a feat matched only by the ACC. It marks the fourth week this season the league placed three teams in the top 10.
>> All-time weeks with three Conference teams in top 10 in AP poll history (since Jan. 1949):
1997-98: 7 weeks (12/23/97 - 2/3/98); 1974-75: 4 weeks (1/7/75 - 1/21/75, 2/4/75); 1980-81: 4 weeks (1/27/81, 2/10/81 - 2/17/81, 3/10/81); 2016-17: 4 weeks (1/23/17, 2/6/17 - 2/20/17); 1998-99: 3 weeks (12/29/98, 1/12/99, 2/9/99)
5 - Five Pac-12 teams (ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, OREGON, UCLA, USC) are projected for the 2017 NCAA Tournament field by a majority of major media bracketology sites as of Feb. 21:
CBS Sports (5 teams, Avg. seed: 4.8)
Sporting News (5, 5.4)
SI.com (5, 5.4)
NBC Sports (5, 5.4)
USA Today (5, 5.6)
ESPN (5, 5.6)
FOX Sports (5, 5.6)
Bleacher Report (5, 6.0)
6 - Saturday’s rematch featuring #5 UCLA at #4 ARIZONA will mark the sixth Conference clash between two ranked teams so far in this Pac-12 season, the most regular-season meetings of ranked league teams since 2007-08.
>> Between the 2009-10 and 2014-15 seasons, there were three total regular-season ranked matchups in Pac-12 play. There now will be 10 total during past two regular seasons.
7 - Saturday’s showdown of #5 UCLA at #4 ARIZONA will be the seventh all-time meeting of AP top 5 teams in Conference history, and the first in over nine years.
>> 1971: #2 USC vs. #3 UCLA, #1 UCLA vs. #3 USC; 1981: #1 OSU vs. #5 ASU; 2000: #1 STAN vs. #5 ARIZ; 2004: #4 STAN vs. #3 ARIZ; 2008: #4 WSU vs. #5 UCLA
7 - Seven of the 15 Pac-12 Player of the Week awards so far this season have gone to freshmen, tying the most in a season since the award was created in 1983, matching the seven rookie selections in 2007-08 (3x Kevin Love, UCLA; Ty Abbott, ASU; James Harden, ASU; Jerryd Bayless, ARIZ; O.J. Mayo, USC).
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)
NCAA.com TOW - Lauri Markkanen Arizona (Feb. 20)
USBWA FrOW - Lauri Markkanen, Arizona (Feb. 21)
DRAWING A CROWD: 88 games into the 108-game Pac-12 slate, league contests are drawing 8,599 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 8,104 average through 89 league games.
ROAD RARITIES: Of the 40 two-game Conference road swings so far in 2016-17, eight times has a team completed a sweep:
OREGON at WASH/WSU
ARIZ at CAL/STAN; USC/UCLA & WSU/WASH
UCLA at COLO/UTAH & WSU/WASH
USC at WASH/WSU
UTAH at WSU/WASH
HOME SWEET HOME: OREGON owns the nation’s longest home court winning streak at 42 consecutive games, while ARIZONA has won its last 20 at home, tied for fourth nationally.
OREGON (2016-17) has joined ARIZONA (1988-91, 1998-2000, 2014-15) and STANFORD (2003-04) as the only Conference programs to go a perfect 9-0 at home in consecutive league seasons.
4x20: Four Pac-12 teams reached the 20-win mark by Feb. 4, marking the earliest point in any season since the formation of the Pac-8 in 1968 that four Conference teams reached 20 wins.
INSIDE THE RANKINGS: ARIZONA’s 94 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 dates back to 2013 and is the second-longest nationally behind Kansas’ streak of 158. OREGON’s stretch of 24 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, 7.0 bpg), WASHINGTON (6th, 6.0 bpg), USC (10th, 5.7 bpg) and UCLA (16th, 5.4 bpg) and CALIFORNIA (26th, 5.1 bpg).
EVERY GAME’S A BATTLE: Through 88 league games as of Feb. 19:
>> Average scoring margin is 13.3 ppg.
>> 39 have been decided by single digits.
>> 13 have been decided by one possession (3 pts or less).
>> 6 decided by a team’s final possession.
>> 3 overtime games (4 total OT periods).
ARIZONA’s Sean Miller is the 21st coach in league history to reach 100 career Conference victories. His .745 winning percentage in league games (105-36) is third to only John Wooden (.810) and Lute Olson (.764) among those to reach the 100-win plateau.
OREGON (7.0 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 206 assists, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is already third on the Pac-12’s freshman single-season assists list. At 7.6 apg, he’s on pace to shatter the rookie mark of 229 set by OREGON STATE’s Gary Payton in 1986-87. Jason Kidd’s 222 at CALIFORNIA in 1992-93 are second-most ever by a freshman.
UCLA’s Bryce Alford has entered the Pac-12 career top 10 in three-point field goals as his 301 triples (5th active in NCAA, most among Power 6 players) are tied for seventh all-time. Alford’s 1,802 career points are the most among active players from Power 6 programs (17th active in NCAA) and rank 36th in Conference history.
The 54 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 975 career caroms, a total which currently ranks tied for 17th in Pac-12 history, 17 shy of 15th place occupied by WSU career leader Steve Puidokas and UCLA’s Don MacLean.
OREGON junior Jordan Bell (207 blocks) has moved into a tie for sixth on the Pac-12’s career blocked shots list, while COLORADO senior Wesley Gordon (196 blocks) is just behind in eighth and OREGON’s Chris Boucher (179) is fast nearing the top 10.
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