Things to watch this week in Pac-12 Conference basketball:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Oregon at Arizona, Saturday. Two of the Pac-12’s best teams the past few years will be trying to keep pace with UCLA and No. 20 Southern California in the conference race. The Ducks are fourth in the Pac-12 at 5-3, 2 1/2 games behind the Bruins and Trojans, Arizona, which self-imposed a postseason ban, is 7-6 after losing to Colorado and Utah last week. Oregon and Arizona almost always play high-level games, including the Ducks’ 73-72 win last February. Oregon has won five straight in the series.
LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona State is hoping to return from a second COVID-19 pause this week against the Oregon schools. … UCLA and USC play at the Oregon schools as they jockey for the conference lead. … Colorado, third in the Pac-12 at 9-4, plays at the Northern California schools, as does Utah.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Colorado senior guard McKinley Wright IV needs 11 rebounds to become the first player in Pac-12 history with 1,600 career points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists. He has already joined Oregon’s Payton Pritchard as the only conference players with 1,600 points and 600 rebounds. … USC is ranked for the first time since reaching No. 25 on Dec. 4, 2017. … Colorado leads the country in free throwing shooting at 83%. The Division I record is 82.2%, set by Harvard in 1983-84.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Evan Mobley, USC. The freshman big man continues to dominate at both ends. He was named the Pac-12 player and freshman of the week after averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in wins again UCLA And Stanford last week.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 5 Stanford continues to lead the Pac-12 at 14-2, with No. 10 Arizona second at 10-2. The Cardinal play at the Oregon schools this week while the Wildcats host the Washington schools. … Alissa Pili became the third USC player to be named Pac-12 player of the week after scoring 17 points in a win over Washington and 18 in a win over Washington State. She joins teammates Endyia Rogers and Jordan Sanders to give the Trojans three players of the week for the first time. … No. 8 UCLA (9-3) plays at Colorado and Utah as it tries to keep Stanford within reach.
Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.
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