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12 players to watch in Pac-12 Conference play

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 10:20 a.m. MST

Utah center Jason Washburn chases the ball in a game vs. Boise State

Deseret News

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Although the Pac-12 only has one team ranked in the AP Top 25, it showed plenty of competitive action in the first week of play.

Arizona (14-0, 2-0) is by far the top basketball team in the conference. In the most recent AP poll, the Wildcats were ranked No. 4. They have the only other undefeated record in NCAA men's basketball besides Duke and Michigan.

This weekend Arizona hosted Colorado and Utah, beating both teams to defend its unbeaten record. When Colorado came to town, it ended in a controversial showdown.

The game was tied with seconds remaining and Colorado's Sabatino Chen banked in a 3-pointer at the end of regulation. The referees waived the basket, saying it left his hand after the game clock expired. Arizona went on to rout Colorado in overtime and took the game, 92-83.

Another team on the radar in the Pac-12 is the UCLA Bruins. Since beginning the season 5-3, the Bruins have rattled off seven straight victories. This includes their Pac-12 openers against Cal and Stanford.

Utah has had a better start to the season than expected, however, it clearly still has strides to make before it's consistently competitive in the Pac-12. The Utes lost their first two conference games by a combined four points.

In their Pac-12 opener, the Utes visited Arizona State and nearly won in regulation. However, with seconds remaining, Arizona State freshman Jahii Carson sank a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. Later in the extra time, Carson made a layup with 35 seconds remaining to seal a 55-54 victory for the Sun Devils.

ASU senior forward Carrick Felix was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after averaging 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in the Sun Devils' conference victories.

Utah's Jason Washburn had a great weekend in Arizona to kick off conference play. His 19 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks against the Sun Devils outclasses any other individual effort.

Here are the Pac-12 standings through the first week of conference play:

1. No. 4 Arizona 2-0 (14-0)

1. Arizona State 2-0 (13-2)

1. UCLA 2-0 (12-3)

1. Washington 2-0 (10-5)

5. Oregon 1-0 (12-2)

6. USC 1-1 (6-9)

7. Stanford 1-2 (10-6)

7. Cal 1-2 (9-6)

9. Oregon State 0-1 (10-4)

10. Colorado 0-2 (10-4)

10. Washington State 0-2 (9-6)

10. Utah 0-2 (8-6)

The first weekend of Pac-12 action is in the books, but with several weeks remaining, hoopsters from individual teams all over the conference will light it up.

Here's a look at the 12 basketball players to watch out for during the 2012-13 Pac-12 conference season.

email: wobannon@desnews.com, sor@desnews.com; Twitter: @whitney_oban, @sorny8

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