There may not be a better sound on this earth than the squeaking of sneakers and bouncing of balls on hardwood floors. It’s college hoops season folks, and this year will be different for the Pac-12. After a disappointing 2018-2019 season for the conference, teams up and down the coast have retooled and are ready for launch. So lets take a look at some of the best games going on during opening week.
Tuesday, November 5th
Fresno State @ #15 Oregon
6 PM PST, Pac-12 Network
Oregon comes into the 2019-2020 hoops season fresh off a Sweet Sixteen appearance and with a nice number fifteen next to their name in the rankings. The Ducks will welcome a solid, potential twenty win mid-major in Fresno State to open up the year. It will be up to Oregon guard Payton Prichard to get his squad’s offense rolling to start the season.
Pepperdine @ Cal
7 PM PST
PAC-12 UPSET WATCH!! The Waves will be the 2.5 point favorite heading into this opening night matchup, so if Mark Fox can coach the Golden Bears to an upset in his debut, I hope to see every student at Berkeley on that court.
Wednesday, November 6th
Long Beach state @ UCLA
8 PM PST, Pac-12 Network
The Bruins are 16-1 all-time against Beach Basketball, but it will still be interesting to see how Mick Cronin fares in his first game as UCLA’s head coach. Speaking of debuts, redshirt freshman Tyger Campbell, who missed last season due to a knee injury, looked as good as you can in a pre-season exhibition against a D2 Stanislaus State team last week. The challenge for UCLA will be getting the ball in the basket when Campbell heads to the bench, it will be interesting to see if returning guard Chris Smith can take the next step in his development and begin to create his own shot.
Thursday, November 7th
Seattle @ Washington State
6 PM PST
The lone Pac-12 game of the day on Thursday is another PAC-12 UPSET WATCH! Seattle comes in at 133 in the KenPom while Wazzu sits thirty spots below at 163. Not only is it a PAC-12 UPSET WATCH game, but it would also be a revenge game as the Cougars fell to the Redhawks on the road last season.
Friday, November 8th
#16 Baylor vs Washington
Alaska Airlines Armed Forces Classic (Anchorage, AK) 6:30 PM PST, ESPN
I would say this game is a PAC-12 UPSET WATCH, but Jeff Goodman has Washington in the Final Four so I’m not entirely sure what to label this matchup. The Huskies are loaded with fresh talent, Kentucky transfer, Quade Green, is now immediately eligible to play and two top-ten recruits, Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart will round out the front-court. Granted, it will take some time for all the newcomers to learn to play with each other, but a win over a Top-25 team would certainly help build team chemistry.
My Final Four Picks:— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 5, 2019
National Champion: Kansas
National POY: Cole Anthony
ASU at Colorado
Baoshan Sports Center (Shanghai, China) 7:30 PM PST, ESPN2
As part of the Pac-12 Global Initiative, the Sun Devils and Buffaloes become the first conference opponents to play each other overseas. However, this game will not count towards each team’s conference record. Luckily for everyone involved, this trip to China seems to be going significantly better than when a certain Pac-12 Team who’s name begins with a “U” and ends with “CLA” visited China and three players posted a whacky statline of zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists, but one steal.
Before we took off for China, #CUBoulder Asian Studies instructor Colleen Barry gave us a briefing on Chinese culture & history.@dal_walton recaps where not to rest your feet ⬇️#Pac12ChinaGame pic.twitter.com/Qt8InOmkjA— Colorado Men's Basketball (@CUBuffsMBB) November 4, 2019
Saturday, November 9th
Iowa State @ Oregon State
On what may not be the best Saturday for Pac-12 football, you may want to turn your focus to Oregon State as they take on the defending Big 12 Tournament champions in a PAC-12 UPSET WATCH (these upset watches don’t seem as fun when they’re not against mid-majors)! Last year, the Beavers took advantage of an off year in the Pac-12 to finish fifth in the conference. This year the Beavers come in as the sixth best Pac-12 team in the Kenpom, so these non-conference games will be important to building the base of the a sturdy dam for conference play.
Sunday, November 10th
Illinois @ #21 Arizona
6 PM, Pac-12 Network
Sean Miller beat the FBI, now he must beat the Fightin’ Illini. The Wildcats are absolutely loaded with talent this year. Chase Jeter is back and ready to dominate the paint, UC Irvine transfer Max Hazzard will want to come in firing from behind the arc, and Nico Mannion will be another (somewhat) home-state hero. Illinois did receive some votes for the preseason Top 25, and are a team of 6’6 whirling dervishes who can wreak havoc on the defensive end. The good news for Arizona is there is tons of depth on this year’s roster to throw all kinds of different looks and styles on offense to create problems for Illinois.