Pac-10 Preview

Pac-10 play begins this week and it is one of the strongest leagues in some time. Nine teams enter conference play with legitimate chances for postseason play.

1. UCLA 12-1
The Bruins have hardly missed a beat. With the exception of the Texas game, they have not seemed to have missed Aaron Afflalo and Kevin Love has been better than advertised. More impressive is the fact that Darren Collison was missing for the first few weeks of the season.

2. Washington State 12-0
The Cougars are undefeated, but really haven't been tested. They did beat Gonzaga, but that is it. Derrick Lowe and Kyle Weaver have picked up from where they left off a year ago and are out to prove last year was not a fluke.

3. Stanford 11-1
The Cardinal have just one loss, and that came before Robin Lopez returned from suspension. They have arguably the best frontline in the league and are getting good play from the guards.

4. Arizona 9-3
The Wildcats may be a victim of their own scheduling. They played the most aggressive schedule of anyone in the league and came through pretty well. Jerryd Bayless has been as good as advertised and Jordan Hill and Nic Wise have improved as the season has gone along. Nothing the Pac-10 will throw at them will be a surprise.

5. USC 9-3
The Trojans also played a tough schedule and will be the better for it when they get into the league. Davon Jefferson is getting better and better and O.J. Mayo has almost made Trojan fans forget Nick Young.

6. California 9-2
Did you see this coming? The Bears have been very good, and Davon Hardin has yet to play great. Ryan Anderson is building upon his terrific freshman season. Patrick Christopher has also been a great scorer.

7. Oregon 9-3
Which Duck team is showing up? That is the question, but has long been the question of an Ernie Kent team. Aaron Brooks is not coming back, but the Ducks have, for the most part, surived without him. Malik Hairston has been very good and Maarty Leunen has played like one of the best big men in the league.

8. Arizona State 10-2
The Devils may occupy this low spot, but have been pretty good. James Harden has been a star in the making and the rest of this young team has shown flashes. The Devils could be a team that continues to surprise.

9. Washington 9-4
The Huskies just aren't quite there. They have talented players, have done some good things, but just can't beat good teams. It is too early to count out a Lorenzo Romar team, but so far they have not been impressive.

10. Oregon State 6-6
The Beavers have some talented players, just not enough of them. As C.J. Giles continues to improve so should the Beavers, but it won't be enough to be a factor in the tough Pac-10.

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