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There's plenty of intrigue as the Pac-12 men's basketball season gets underway on Thursday. Here are a few of the storylines:

Story of the Week
Ducks rise in polls: Oregon has won five straight games to move up to No. 4 in the AP poll, matching the highest spot in school history it reached along the way to a Final Four in 2017. Oregon has beaten three teams that have been ranked in the Top 25 this season in Seton Hall, Michigan, and Memphis. Oregon’s losses are against top-ranked Gonzaga and North Carolina. Oregon’s five games against ranked opponents came without 6-foot-11 freshman N’Faly Dante, who became eligible on Dec. 14. He adds physicality to a team whose next tallest player is 6-9 sophomore Francis Okoro, who grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds in a recent game. Senior point guard Payton Pritchard is averaging 18.5 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Congrats to the final #Pac12Hoops weekly award winners of the decade!

Player: @OregonMBB's Chris Duarte
Freshman: @UW_MBB's Isaiah Stewart (@WoodenAward, @NaismithTrophy, #KareemAward)

Read here: https://t.co/qvZIcP5RPc pic.twitter.com/Ybud6cq38T

— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) December 30, 2019 Stock rising
Stanford: The Cardinal are 11-2 with losses to No. 3 Kansas and  No. 12 Butler. Stanford does not have many quality wins, but defeated Oklahoma 73-54 in a neutral-site game. Stanford opens Pac-12 play with three straight home games. Junior Oscar da Silva is averaging 17.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while freshman Tyrell Terry is at 15.2 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Stock falling
Arizona: After a 9-0 start, the Wildcats have dropped three of their last four games. Arizona remains in the AP poll at No. 25 because it has losses against quality teams including Baylor, Gonzaga, and St. John’s. Freshman point guard Nico Mannion is averaging 14.6 points and 6.2 assists, but has had his worst games against Arizona’s best opponents. The top three scorers for the Wildcat are freshmen including Zeke Nnaji, who is averaging 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Pac-12 power rankings
1. Oregon (11-2): Senior Shakur Juiston, a grad transfer from UNLV averaging 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, has missed four straight games due to a leg injury and is questionable to be ready for the start of Pac-12 play.
2. Colorado (11-2): No. 13 Dayton was the highest-ranked team the Buffs have beaten away from Boulder since 1990 when it beat sixth-ranked Missouri at the Big Eight Tournament in Kansas City.
3. Washington (10-3): Isaiah Stewart has been named Pac-12 freshman of the week three times this season, including last week when he averaged 25.5 points and 10.5 rebounds against Hawaii and Houston.
4. Stanford (11-2): Outscoring opponents by 13.5 points per game during 11-2 start.
5. Arizona (10-3): Closed out nonconference play at 10-3 before taking two weeks off to prepare for Pac-12 opener at home against Arizona State.
6. Utah (9-3): Sophomore forward Timmy Allen has been named conference player of the week twice in the past four weeks.
7. USC (11-2): Third time in the last 18 seasons that USC has opened the season with at least 11 wins in hits first 13 games.
8. Arizona State (9-4): Junior forward Romello White had five double-doubles in six games before leaving win over Texas Southern early with an ankle injury that has him listed as “day-to-day”..
9. Oregon State (10-2): Senior Tres Tinkle averaging 20.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
10. UCLA (7-6): Lost three straight games against Notre Dame, North Carolina and Cal State Fullerton.
11. Washington State (9-4): Cougars have held halftime lead in 11 of 13 games this season.
12. California (6-7): Eleven of first 13 opponents have shot less than 50% from the field.