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Pac-12 update: No. 3 Colorado Buffaloes, No. 8 USC Trojans impress early on

With six teams in the top 25 rankings, including four in the top 10, the Pac-12 again is looking like one of the best conferences in the nation.

USC v Ohio State
Four games into her college career, JuJu Watkins has lived up to the hype.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Early on in the 2023-24 season, the Pac-12 has shined, with six teams representing the conference in the current top 25 standings—and five of them without a loss. Here is how the conference’s five undefeated teams are doing so far:

No. 2 UCLA Bruins (4-0)

Undefeated, the UCLA Bruins have been rolling. Their first three games were blowout wins; the only test they’ve had so far was against the Princeton Tigers, where Lauren Betts went off with 22 points to earn a 77-74 victory.

We’ll know a lot more about how good the Bruins are and can be this week, when they face the No. 6 UConn Huskies. But as of now, they are about as good as it gets, ranked second in the country and sitting as the early favorites to win the Pac-12.

No. 3 Colorado Buffaloes (4-0)

It was expected that Colorado would be on the outside looking in when it came to contending for a conference title. But, the Buffs look to be better than advertised. There has been no let down after starting the year with a shocking 92-78 win against defending champion and then-No. 1 LSU; they have only looked better since the sport-shaking upset.

Aaronette Vonleh leads the team in points with 19.5 a night. And with a couple of dynamic scoring guards, the Buffaloes are set to be one of the pleasant surprises of the season. Their next big test will be against No. 10 NC State this Friday.

No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (4-0)

The most impressive win for Stanford was their 96-64 victory over then-No. 9 Indiana. Cameron Brink was stupendous, finishing with a monstrous double-double of 20 points and 17 boards.

The Cardinal attack is well balanced, with three players averaging double-digit points and their two forwards, Brink and Kiki Iriafen, grabbing around 20 rebounds a game. It’s going to be hard to beat Stanford, as they currently appear to be a team with a perfect combination of strength, size, athleticism, youth and experience. It would be surprising to see them lose a game before the end of 2023.

No. 8 USC Trojans (4-0)

Can you be the most hyped prospect to ever play for a historic team and still be underrated? From what we’ve seen from JuJu Watkins, the answer is “yes.”

Watkins has done everything but sell popcorn inside the Galen Center, averaging 25 points, 7.3 rebounds and three assists a night. Where she goes is where the Trojans will go. If she can keep up this form, there will be a moment this March where a better, deeper team top loses to USC because Watkins just outproduces them.

The rest of November should be smooth sailing for the Trojans. USC doesn’t face a ranked team until their matchup with rival UCLA in late December.

No. 23 Washington State Cougars (5-0)

With Bella Murekatete at center and Charlisse Leger-Walker at guard, Washington State has a perfect inside-outside pairing that keeps stunning the basketball world.

They may not be the surprise team they were last year, but, even though they’ve already entered the top 25, there’s room for growth for the Cougars. With no top-25 matchups until early January, they’ll have an opportunity to rack up wins against lesser opponents while they continue to build chemistry and establish the roster’s pecking order. Barring a shocking defeat, I expect them to continue to rise in the standings heading into conference play.