Power rankings: Pac-12, WCC, MWC men's basketball, Version 5

By Nate Gagon

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 3 2014 7:05 p.m. MST

San Diego State forward Winston Shepard holds off St. Katherine's Travis Mitchell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Lenny Ignelzi, AP

Now that the non-conference portion of the college basketball season is basically over, let’s take a look back at how things have gone.

Since these power rankings debuted on Nov. 21, the top two spots have not changed. Arizona and Oregon have continued to find ways to win each game they have played.

Utah, Colorado and San Diego State have been the most pleasant surprises with UNLV pressing to join that list after a rough start.

The most disappointing teams have been BYU, Saint Mary’s, Utah State and New Mexico. BYU has fallen 10 spots from where it debuted.

Last season 13 teams currently in Pac-12, Mountain West or West Coast conferences made the NCAA Tournament. As was discussed in the initial power rankings, none of those teams made the Elite 8 and only two even made the Sweet 16.

As of Jan. 2, according to ESPN’s renowned Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi there are 10 teams from these conferences currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

Arizona and Oregon, the highest seeded teams in the projections, have looked impressive this season, but certainly not unbeatable. They have both survived close calls in games they easily could have lost.

With the season still young as conference play is now just beginning, it would not be a surprise to see another NCAA Tournament this season with no teams from these conferences in the Elite 8. On the flip side, there are some tough, dangerous teams like Colorado, Gonzaga or San Diego State that could get hot at the right time and make a deep tournament run.

Here is the fifth edition of the Pac-12/MWC/WCC power rankings (win/loss through Jan. 2, stats/rankings through Jan. 1)

Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: nategagon@hotmail.com or @nategagon.

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