With November almost here, it’s time for college basketball. Last year, UCLA, Arizona, USC and Arizona State made the NCAA Tournament, and there could be a couple more teams coming from the Pac-12 this year in what could be the final year of the conference.
The Colorado Buffaloes are expected to make big leaps this season, which is huge news as head coach Tad Boyle’s team has missed March Madness the past two seasons. All of USC, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon and Arizona State are strong teams, and Utah returned Branden Carlson in a huge move.
Here’s our Pac-12 men’s basketball preseason power rankings:
Washington State returns just two players from last year, and DJ Rodman leaving for USC hurt in a big way. It’s been 15 years since Wazzu made the NCAA Tournament. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, the Cougars finish last or second-to-last in the Pac-12.
Oregon State won just five Pac-12 games last season and Jordan Pope is back and expected to be the star player for the Beavers. It’s hard to believe this team went to the Elite Eight a few years ago, but this season is going to be a difficult one for them.
The Huskies men’s basketball program hasn’t been good for a few years, and this season won’t be much better. They finished 16-16 overall but 8-12 in Pac-12 play last season, but I expect Washington to be around there again this year. A lot of new transfers came in, but the Pac-12 is a difficult conference, especially this season.
The Stanford men’s team will always be chasing the women’s team. However, there’s a chance this year’s Stanford team is a sleeper to make things interesting once the Pac-12 Tournament comes around. They have Peja Stojakovic’s son, Andrej, and despite winning just 14 games last year, this team should be much improved.
Branden Carlson decided to come back for another year, and Gabe Madsen is back in town. Colorado transfer Lawson Lovering should be an interesting piece, and Utah is trying to return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2016.
Cal won just three games all of last season and went 2-18 in Pac-12 play. But, Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen is now in town, and he went wild in the transfer portal. He landed some key players, including forward Fardaws Aimaq from Texas Tech.
The loss of five-star recruit Kel’el Ware is going to be a tough blow, but the Ducks have some talented freshmen coming in. Still, it remains to be seen how this team will come together. The Ducks could be a top-four Pac-12 team or they could be a bottom-half team.
Bobby Hurley led Arizona State to a First Four win and the Sun Devils gave TCU a hard time before losing. ASU added transfers Adam Miller from LSU and Bryant Selebangue from Tulsa to the roster. Another March Madness trip should be in the works.
The Buffs might be the most improved team in the Pac-12. The addition of TCU transfer Eddie Lampkin Jr. is a massive pull. Cody Williams, who is already drawing NBA draft buzz, is another, and the returns of KJ Simpson, Luke O’Brien, and Tristan da Silva are huge. They are on track to return to the Big Dance this year.
It might be a “down” year for UCLA with all of Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyger Campbell, David Singleton and Jaylen Clark all gone. But, Adem Bona is a star in the making, and now it’s his time to shine in a Bruins uniform.
The Trojans got Bronny James, although questions remain about his health after he suffered a cardiac arrest. But, five-star Isaiah Collier is a huge name and Boogie Ellis is back as well. The Trojans might give Arizona a run for its money, especially if James and talented center Vincent Iwuchukwu can pay dividends on the floor. Oh, and DJ Rodman transferred in from Washington State. –
Arizona lost to Princeton in last year’s Big Dance and that had to hurt big time. The Wildcats lost four starters from that team but added San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson and North Carolina transfer Caleb Love.
Until proven otherwise, Arizona is the team to beat this year.