Women's Hoops: Pac-10 Review, Preview

With the non-conference portion of the women's basketball season over and Pac-10 games starting today, it's a good time to look at how the Pac-10 has done out of conference, and what to look for during conference season...

With the non-conference portion of the season over and Pac-10 games starting today, it is time to take a look on how the Pac-10 has been doing, and what to look for during conference season.

The Pac-10 may not be receiving a lot of national respect with only two teams (Stanford, UCLA) ranked, but the Pac-10 had a very successful non-conference season, with many teams with strong RPIs.

Here's a look at each team and their numbers to get an idea of the status of each at this point in the season.

(The ranking is where the teams would fall in a standings based on their won-loss records in non-conference)

#1 UCLA (10-1, Ranked #8/#9, RPI #11, SOS 40)
Good Wins: SDSU (RPI #77), Notre Dame (RPI #34), UC Davis (RPI #86), Temple (RPI #69)
Bad Loses: None
Thoughts: It's hard to be down on the Bruins entering conference season at the top with a 10-1 record, but after starting 10-0 and gaining a top 10 ranking, it's hard not to be disappointed with the loss to a good, but unranked LSU team. Still, the Bruins have a strong profile from the non-conference season highlighted by a great road win at Notre Dame that will hopefully continue to look better. Still, UCLA's schedule was one of the easier for the top ranked teams, so UCLA's level of competition will ratchet up with the start of conference play. UCLA's defense has been great all season long, but if UCLA wants to challenge for the conference title (and avoid losses to the other top teams), freethrow shooting and converting close up shots needs to improve.

#2 Stanford (9-2, Ranked #9/#8, RPI #7, SOS 6)
Good Wins: Rutgers (RPI # 40), Texas (RPI #52), Xavier (RPI # 10), Connecticut (RPI # 3)
Bad Losses: None
Thoughts: Just 1 week ago, Stanford was looking questionable as the clear favorite to win the conference, with a shocking 20 point road loss to Depaul, followed by an overtime loss at Tennessee. Well, Stanford quieted all doubters, first destroying #4 Xavier by an unbelievable 37 points, and then last night ended UCONN's 90 game winning streak. Though Stanford may not necessarily go 18-0 in conference again, they have proven that once again everyone will be chasing the Cardinal for conference supremacy.

#2 Oregon (9-2, Unranked, RPI #103, SOS 217)
Good Wins: None
Bad Losses: CSU Bakersfield (RPI #169)
Thoughts: Oregon has definitely gotten fat off of bad competition. The best RPI team they played, UC Riverside, was a home loss for the Ducks, not very impressive. Oregon continues to be a high scoring team, breaking 80 in 7 of their games, though their defense remains suspect, and against better competition in the conference, Oregon may look like a less talented version of themselves from last year. Don't be surprised to find Oregon finish in the bottom half of the conference.

#2 Arizona (9-2, Unranked, RPI #45, SOS 120)
Good Wins: New Mexico (RPI # 74)
Bad Losses: None
Thoughts: Their body of work is basically a better version of what Oregon has done, beating up a bunch of nobodies, but at least their two losses came on the road to top ten Texas A&M and a very good Nevada team. Arizona has 2 very good players in Ibekwe and White, and outside of Stanford, is good enough to give any pac-10 team a tough matchup.

#5 ASU (8-2, Unranked, RPI #21, SOS 9)
Good Wins: UC Riverside (RPI #61), New Mexico (RPI #74), DePaul (RPI # 9)
Bad Losses: None
Thoughts: ASU's signature win came against a one loss Depaul team fresh off of a 20 point victory against Stanford, and the Sundevils were able to win by double digits. ASU didn't put up too much of a fight against Tennessee, but played Florida State rather tough in their 2 other high profile games. Looks like defense is still strong out in the desert, and ASU will most likely return to the top half of the conference this season.

#6 Cal (8-3, Unranked, RPI #67, SOS 116)
Good Wins: Rutgers (RPI # 40), Portland St. (RPI # 81).
Bad Losses: None
Thoughts: Cal did lose to the same New Mexico team that other Pac-10 teams were able to beat, but their other 2 losses came against top 10 Texas A&M and one loss Texas Tech. Cal remains a talented but very young team with one of the better coaches in the conference. The inexperience will probably cost Cal a few games, but defensively they have been strong so far, allowing more than 63 points only once this season. I thought before the season Cal would be a dangerous team, and so far it's hard to tell based off of who they've played, but the first two weeks of conference play against Stanford and the Arizona schools all at Haas Pavilion will be very revealing about this team.

#6 USC (8-3, Unranked, RPI #17, SOS 19)
Good Wins: Georgia (RPI # 71), SDSU (RPI # 77)
Bad Losses: None
Thoughts: USC remains a very talented team, with perhaps better shooters than UCLA, though when it comes to coaching, Coach Cooper has yet to prove that he can get the most from his talent. USC may have had more pure talent than UCLA last season, but the season long results were very different between the two. USC has played a very challenging schedule, with two of their 3 losses coming against top 5 teams on the road, getting destroyed by Duke and giving Xavier a scare right down to the end. While Cooper might not be worthy of respect, this is a very dangerous team that no one can overlook.

#8 Oregon State (7-4, Unranked, RPI #159, SOS 266)
Good Wins: None
Bad Losses: Hawaii (RPI #220), Southern Utah (RPI #223)
Thoughts: If this was any other team, you'd discuss that the non-conference season was disappointing against such a weak schedule, but Oregon St was left for dead over the off season with their controversial coach being fired and mass desertions from the program occurring. The fact that Oregon St was to struggle to win more than a few games and has a winning record at this point probably makes their coach the front runner for conference coach of the year. Still, against the stronger competition in conference, they are probably playing for 9th place.

#9 Washington (5-4, Unranked, RPI # 193, SOS 256)
Good Wins: Portland St (RPI #81)
Bad Losses: Kent St. (RPI #146)
Thoughts: Washington Coach Tia Jackson was already on the hot seat coming into the season, and probably hasn't helped her cause any. Washington has been pretty offensively challenged, breaking 60 just once, against 0-12 Northrdige, and in their last game lost to Georgia Tech 60-27. Washington may pull off one upset win somewhere in conference, but don't expect a finish better than 8th place.

#10 Washington St. (2-10, Unranked, RPI # 224, SOS 54)
Good Wins: Nevada (RPI #38)
Bad Losses: St. Mary's (RPI #106), Portland (RPI #165), Gonzaga (RPI #125), South Dakota St (RPI #166), Wyoming (RPI #107)
Thoughts: I guess when you're judging a team as bad as Washington St, the term "bad loss" needs to be taken relatively, but still outside of a mindboggling win over Nevada, the only other victory ahs come against awful 2-11 Long Beach St. Probably the cellar team of the Pac-10, Washington St may not be favored in any pac-10 game this season, depending on how things go with Oregon St.

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