4. Arizona (10-2)
Right before Christmas, Arizona completed an insane stretch that included a tough loss to Purdue, big wins over Alabama and Wisconsin, and an absolute thriller in a double overtime loss to Florida Atlantic. The holiday break was appreciated for a team that’s already proven they belong among the elite in the nation, even with those two recent losses.
They returned to action on Friday for the first leg of Pac-12 play, with their first conference game coming at California. They got a hot start in Berkeley, nearly doubling up the Golden Bears at the half before nabbing a 100-81 win. Caleb Love had 22 points and was very impressive yet again while Oumar Ballo’s latest double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) helped key that bounce-back victory.
Frankly, Arizona looks unmatched in the Pac-12 this season. That isn’t to say that they’ll just blitz through the league or won’t be challenged, but this program hasn’t stumbled this season and look like one of the nation’s best teams. How their story unfolds will be interesting to see, but year three under Tommy Lloyd looks just as potent as the first two even with new pieces. Stanford, Colorado, and Utah await in the next seven days.