Arizona State at No. 24 Arizona tops this week in the Pac-12

A look at things to watch this week in Pac-12 Conference basketball:

GAME OF THE WEEK: Arizona State at No. 24 Arizona, Saturday. A rivalry game game right out of the gate is a great way to kick off the conference season. The Wildcats (10-3) and their trio of fabulous freshman got off to a strong start before losing three of their final four nonconference games. The Sun Devils (9-4) similarly had some good moments early in nonconference before a few ugly ones late. Rivalry games are always intense and McKale Center will be rocking Saturday night.

LOOKING AHEAD: Oregon (11-2) moved up to No. 4 in The Associated Press Top 25, matching the 2017 Final Four team for highest ranking in program history. The Ducks open the conference season with a pair of tough road games. On Thursday, Oregon faced Colorado, which was ranked earlier this season and has one of the Pac-12’s best 1-2 punches in McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey. The Ducks then head to Utah on Saturday to face a Utes team that has a win over No. 17 Kentucky on their resume.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Pac-12 has four teams in the top 25 of the NCAA’s NET rankings, second only to the Big Ten with five. … The conference had seven teams win at least 10 nonconference games for the second time in league history. … Washington freshman Isaiah Stewart is tied for second nationally with six double-doubles and USC’s Onyeka Okongwu is tied for fourth with five.

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PLAYER TO WATCH: Chris Duarte, Oregon. The 6-foot-6 junior college transfer has had an immediate impact on the Ducks, averaging 12.3 points and 5.0 rebounds. Duarte was named the Pac-12 player of the week after making six 3-pointers and scoring 31 points in a blowout win over Alabama State.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 18 Arizona (12-0) is off to the best start in program history, but faces a stiff test Sunday, playing at No. 10 UCLA in the first top-25 matchup of the Pac-12 season. … The Pac-12 has five ranked schools, including No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Oregon State and No. 5 Stanford. … Oregon’s Ruthy Hebard needs 15 points to become the 12th Pac-12 player with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Teammate Sabrina Ionescu needs seven assists to become the 12th player in Division history with 900 career assists.

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Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.

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