CBB: Pac-12 Conference Preview
Pac-12 Conference Preview
The Pac-12 hasn’t had a Final Four team since UCLA made three straight from 2006-2008, and the conference has had a long stretch without an elite program. They are filled with solid NCAA-Tournament teams, but can any make a deep run in March?
1. Oregon Ducks- For the first time in program history the team was a preseason pick to win the Pac-12. They are a talented, veteran bunch that knows how to win games. Dillon Brooks is a must-watch player every night.
2. Arizona Wildcats- The Wildcats lost plenty of talented seniors but Sean Miller continues to reload the roster with a strong recruiting class. The Wildcats have a proven scorer in Allonzo Trier and they’ve added five-star freshmen Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons.
3. Colorado Buffaloes– Say goodbye to Mr. Basketball Josh Scott, but Tad Boyle and the Buffs have a veteran team led by George King and Providence-transfer Josh Fortune. The Buffs will look to shoot early and often from the perimeter this season.
4. Cal Golden Bears- Ivan Rabb, the former five-star center had a very good freshman season, averaging 12.8 points and 8.6 boards per game in only 28 minutes — and limited touches. But he opted to return for his sophomore season and now the Golden Bears are his team.
5. Washington Huskies- Lorenzo Romar knows how to recruit. Potentially the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz is an immensely talented guard who can play on or off the ball and scores in a number of ways. Now Romar has to put the talented pieces together and wins games.
6. UCLA Bruins- Steve Alford has a talented group that can put up a lot of points, but will the defense be good enough to stop the opponents?
7. USC Trojans– The Trojans lost their fair share of pieces this off-season, but are led by PG Jordan McLaughlin and forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu. Can Andy Enfield finally turn this program around?
8. Utah Utes- With so many talented players leaving, there will be a lot of question marks for the Utes as Kyle Kuzma and Lorenzo Bonam lead. Transfers like David Collette (Utah State) and Sedrick Barefield (SMU) need to make an impact.
9. Arizona State Sun Devils- Bobby Hurley is trying to turn the Sun Devils program around and it will happen this year on the backs of their guard rotation–Tra Holder and Kodi Justice are back and they get Buffalo transfer Shannon Evans and Sam Cunliffe in the fold. Frontcourt leaves a lot to be desired.
10. Oregon State Beavers- The Beavers lost Gary Payton II but return most of their young core and add four-star point guard JaQuori McLaughlin. Sophomores Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Drew Eubanks give Oregon State a bright future.
11. Stanford Cardinal- New coach Jerod Haase gets 10 of the team’s top 11 scorers back and the return of injured players like Robert Cartwright and Reid Travis will help. But this team lacks the overall talent to succeed in the Pac-12 this season.
12. Washington State Cougars- The Cougars lost 17 straight to end last season as they’re in rebuilding mode. Seniors Josh Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu should put up numbers but they need more help.
Preseason Player of the Year: Forward, Dillon Brooks-Oregon
Top NBA Draft Prospect: Guard, Markelle Fultz- Washington
Pac-12 1st Team
G- Markelle Fultz- Washington
G- George King- Colorado
F- Dillon Brooks-Oregon
F- Kyle Kuzma- Utah
C- Ivan Rabb-Cal
On Selection Sunday we will see….. Six teams making the field of 68 (Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Washington and Cal)
First Coach to be fired: Ernie Kent, Washington State
FIVE NON-CONFERENCE GAMES TO CIRCLE ON YOUR CALENDAR:
- Nov. 11, Arizona at Michigan State
- Nov. 15, Oregon at Baylor
- Dec. 3, UCLA at Kentucky
- Dec. 7, Washington at Gonzaga
- Dec. 21, California vs. Virginia
Dan Schalk covers the Pac-12 for MyFantasySportsTalk, you can follow him on Twitter @FFSportsTalk
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