This Week In BootPowerRatings™

Take a look at Jeff Fawcett's latest installment of the 2008-09 BootPowerRatings™ (BPRs) for Pac-10 hoops as we move into the second half of play in the conference. How will the Bay Area schools do at home versus the Washington programs? Will a trip to Oregon be fruitful for the desert duo? And, who will win the battle of Los Angeles? Check out our BPRs!

Well, that was a first half of conference play to forget. Three blowout losses, three one-point road losses, two quality home wins, and one home Duck shoot. Stanford's next nine games may simply come down to having to shoot the lights out from beyond the arc, as the defense can't be counted on and inside scoring is hard to come by.

The conference title is as wide open as it has ever been and will almost certainly be decided on the final weekend of the year. The bottom of the heap finds Oregon trying to avoid matching their in-state rivals' 0-18 record of a year ago. They are well positioned for the first pick in the draft regardless. Team of the Week is Arizona for their BPR predicted sweep of the Washingtons.

All-league picks at the turn:

First Team – hmm, very tough call. The four inside guys are so tough to separate that.Hill, Brockman, Pendergraph, and Gibson all make it, can't leave out Harden or Collison so let's make the first team six guys.

Second Team – Baynes, Rochestie, Randle, Budinger, and Dentmon.

Worst starter – Ty Abbott, ASU. Despite always being open because of the attention James Harden draws, he's 2-26 on threes in conference play, is 21% overall and 2-5 from the line. Throw in a mere three rebounds and one assist per game and you have a shockingly bad sophomore season after a surprisingly good debut last year.

Below are our exclusive BootPowerRatings™ of the Pac-10 conference. Each week during the basketball season, we will release our secret-formula rating of all teams of the Pac-10. The BootPowerRating™ (BPR) is calculated by utilizing a wide range of factors rumored to include: past results, statistics, common-opponent comparative results factor, strength-of-schedule, home-venue environment, cheerleader attitude and an unrevealed school spirit multiplier. The resulting rating score falls within a 1-100 scale, where 100 approximates a championship-bound team and a score of 1 is somewhere south of D-1.

Pac-10 BootPowerRatings
As of 2/24/09

1. UCLA (7-2, 17-4)
15 point win over Ursa Minor was just a warm up for a 34-point beat down of the Beloveds. Making a Felliniesque 8 ½ threes per game at a scary 45% clip in conference play, while also starting to play the usual intense Howland D. After hosting USC Wednesday, they welcome the Irish Saturday at the ungodly hour of 10 am. Only Notre Dame can fly west and some how get the home team to agree to the earliest tip-off in history. Has the Pac-10 sunk so low that even UCLA has to take whatever TV scraps are available? I live in CT and I'll barely be up. Polls:13.5 Sagarin:18 RPI:31  [Bruin Report Online]
2. Washington (7-2, 16-5)
Second biggest surprise of the season Huskies salvaged a split of the Arizona roadie with an impressive win at ASU. Don't look now, but Dentmon/Thomas backcourt is 1-3 in conference scoring. Not even their mommas predicted that. Trip to the bay up next. Polls:23.5 Sagarin:23 RPI:20  []
3. USC (6-3, 15-6)
Steady rise up the charts continues with home sweep of bay pair. Starting five is back healthy, lack of three-point shooting is the Trojan Achilles Heel. They were 13-41 in their three conference loses and just 1-4 in their narrow escape at WSU. Overall they have made five less threes than any other team in the league. HUGE game at UCLA Wednesday night. Polls:33 Sagarin:38 RPI:39  [SCPlaybook]
4. Arizona St. (5-4, 16-5)
Flop of the week Solar Satans had a devil of a time at home, getting swept by WSU and Washington, to put a serious bucket of ice water on their title hopes. Ridiculously unbalanced offense starting to really hurt as three starters do nothing but take 3s when Harden is finally forced to pass. Pendergraph hitting .686 from the field in conference games, must have missed a few dunks. Polls:23.5 Sagarin:22 RPI:42  []
5. California (5-4, 16-6)
Inner Weenie finally coming out as Los Angeles trip results in two losses and a four out of five slump. Athletic UCLA and USC backcourts put the brakes on the gaudy scoring of Patrick Christopher, holding him to 10 points total in 2 games. 92 points in his first 4 conference games, just 47 in the last 5. Home losses kill RPIs, must at least split Washington home stand this week. Polls:NR Sagarin:31 RPI:38  [The Bear Insider]
6. Arizona (4-5, 14-8)
Season salvaging sweep of the Evergreen Staters rejuvenates the previously hard luck Cats. Chase Budinger finally played up to his potential with a monster pair of games and POW honors. 22 points, 9.5 boards, 5.5 assists, and 0 turnovers made him the slam dunk choice. Frosh Kyle "head in a" Fogg came out of nowhere to score 31 points in the 2 games after tallying just 23 combined in his previous seven in Pac-10 play. Have yet to win a road game, so if trip to Oregon doesn't change that, then nothing will. Polls:NR Sagarin:51 RPI:65  []
7. Washington St. (4-5, 12-9)
Rode a huge game from Klay Thompson (8-10 from three-point land) to knock off ASU but couldn't get the road sweep as Arizona blitzed them in the second half. As usual, last in scoring, first in points allowed at the turn. Stat of the year: Taylor Rochestie is averaging 41.3 minutes per game in conference. This is the only thing he will ever have in common with Wilt Chamberlain (48.5 minutes per game in 1962). Polls:NA Sagarin:65 RPI:94  []
8. Oregon St. (4-5, 10-10)
Beavers keep chewing up opponents, two more wins including a squeaker against their cross state rivals. Most shockingly of all they have actually passed Stanford in the standings, which brings terrible flashbacks for those of us who were undergrads when OSU used to beat the color out of us. Like the 81-38 nail biter we dropped to them in 1982. Tied for sixth, things get decidedly tougher with the hot Wildcats and angry Sun Devils coming to town. Polls:NR Sagarin:136 RPI:146  []
9. Stanford (3-6, 13-6)
The Boot Computer is not supposed to allow Stanford to drop this low, but as Joe Friday would say, just the facts ma'am. And the facts are the Cardinal has sole possession of ninth place and a three-game losing streak. Still another heart breaking one point road loss was followed by the aforementioned meltdown at UCLA. Remember the talk about making and defending the three being keys to the Duke style? Eighth in making them, ninth in allowing them. PU. And allowing 51% from the field in conference is so bad that Lawrence Hill is the only Cardinal to top that percentage himself. Welcome polar opposites WSU and UW to Maples this week, which got me to thinking…do the two Washingtons have an advantage because their second opponent of every weekend is always coming off a game played at a completely different pace? Could they actually be in cahoots? Get Fletch on the case. Polls:NR Sagarin:63 RPI:73  []
10. Oregon (0-9, 6-15)
A three-point loss at OSU is practically a win. Still getting no points inside. 14 consecutive winning seasons on their home court in danger, they are 4-6 at the Mac with five more to play. Ok, forget in danger, that streak is toast. One extra bad thing about being 0-fer is that teams no longer overlook you. At 1-8 I would like their odds of winning a game way better than I do at 0-9. My advice: have their cheerleaders do their routines as close to the opponents' huddle as possible during timeouts. It would work on me. Polls:NR Sagarin:143 RPI:135  [eDuck]

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