The Pac-12 basketball media poll results will be revealed on October 12th. The following is my ballot.
Until any potential actions by the FBI/NCAA are handed down that could impact the Wildcats this season, they are clearly the team to beat and the most loaded squad in Sean Miller’s tenure in Tucson.
Second only to Arizona is talent. I don’t know if I ever saw a recent Pac-12 team that returns its eight leading scorers which account for over 70 points. This team will be scary good and will easily eclipse their 5th place finish from last year.
They may very well be dominated by their cross-town rival for the first time in a long time, but they still should be deep enough to make some serious noise this year. They will have to rely on their no. 6 2017 recruiting class and hope the newcomers hit the ground running.
Teams that have proven senior guards tend to turn out great seasons, and along with talented newcomers Kimani Lawrence and Romello White, form a Sun Devil nucleus that can elevate the program to its best season under Bobby Hurley.
My vote for this season’s breakout team. Reid Travis is one of the conference’s best returning players and part of a formidable base along with Dorian Pickens and Michael Humphrey. With some talented newcomers and the inevitable development of reserve players from last year, the Cardinal could be a surprisingly good team.
This is a team that in my opinion has lost way too much from last year’s Final Four squad to come even close to duplicating their Pac-12 success let alone deep tournament run. Barely any returning players of note and will simply have to live or die with their true freshmen. I just don’t see how the Ducks don’t take a major step back as other conference foes significantly improved from last year.
Just a few years ago the Buffaloes were the proverbial pain in the neck team you were dreading to face. That era now seems like a distant memory. Below average returning talent and another program that can only hope its talented freshmen have a smoother than expected transition to Pac-12 basketball.
8. Oregon State.
A middle of the pack team a couple of years ago took a sharp turn last year and finished in the basement. This season they have more than enough talent to inch their way from the Pac-12 cellar, and maybe surprise some teams in the process.
Aside from Oregon, this is my other unpleasant surprise team of the year. Their talent level is nowhere near last year’s squad that finished 4th in the Pac-12 so this a program that will have to take its lumps in the upcoming campaign.
If this team greatly struggled in 2016-17 with now NBA rookie Markelle Fultz in their lineup, I can’t see a season without a marquee freshman or an elite returning player on the roster being a whole lot better in 2017-18. A new head coach doesn’t make things better. At least they got a great football team.
A drain of talent along with a new head coach and an underwhelming recruiting class can spell nothing but trouble and a long season.
12. Washington State
Much like their in-state rival, come January they’ll be talking much more about spring football than their hoops team.