Pacific Takes Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings:
The Ducks were the Pac-12’s most successful team last season as Dana Altman led the Ducks to their third Sweet Sixteen run in four years. Point guard Payton Pritchard is back, and will have new talent alongside him as the Ducks rounded up the nation’s fourth best recruiting class which includes two five-stars: CJ Walker and N’Faly Dante. Additionally, UNLV transfer Shakur Juiston will certainly be a positive impact on the floor. While there are some threats below them in the conference, Oregon is currently the frontrunner.
2019-2020 will be Sean Miller’s chance to prove to the critics that he can manage his rotations and utilize his bench. The Wildcats are incredibly deep at every position, and have two freshmen studs to boast in their starting five. Everyone is aware of how talented Nico Mannion is, but fellow five-star freshman Josh Green will be critical to Arizona’s efforts to jump Oregon and take over that first spot in the power rankings. Green is a high-flying athlete who excels in transition, so expect to see Arizona push the tempo for forty minutes. Additionally, UC Irvine grad transfer Max Hazzard is probably thirsty for revenge after getting bounced by the Ducks in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Huskies are another team that find themselves dependent on how quickly their newcomers hit the ground running. They lost five of their six leading scorers, however they added the five-star duo of Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart. Plus, Kentucky transfer Quade Green has been ruled immediately eligible to play, which means Washington will have tons of reps to work out their chemistry before conference play.
Unlike the Huskies, the Buffs will have some familiar faces this year as 95% of their roster from 2018-2019 returns. McKinley Wright IV will once again run the show in Boulder, and he has a plethora of experienced hoopers around him as all projected Colorado starters will be upperclassmen.
The Trojans finished the recruiting season with the seventh best class in the nation. This class is highlighted by five-stars Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu and four-star Max Agbonkpolo, The men of Troy can absolutely stroke the ball from deep and are a strapping bunch on the defensive end, they will be a tough team for anyone to take down.
6. Arizona State
Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils are looking to make it three straight NCAA Tournament appearances despite losing two of their best players to the NBA. Consistency will be the key for ASU in 2019-2020 if they want to punch a ticket to the big dance once again. Romello White should once again be one of the most imposing defenders in the conference, and Remy Martin will look to up his offensive production once again.
7. Oregon State
How can you not like the Beavers? Head Coach has one more year left with his son, Tres Tinkle who is a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate. Kylor Kelley will look to break his own record for most single-season blocks in school history, while Ethan Thompson runs the offense. It would not be the craziest thing in the world to see Oregon State wind up with a bye again in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Mick Cronin retained the majority of the players from the roster he inherited, which include two redshirt freshmen who missed 2018-2019 with injuries, Tyger Campbell and Shareef O’Neal, The two should be antsy to hit the court for the first time in their college careers, however the x-factor for UCLA will be guard Chris Smith. Cronin has been working on defense with the athletic Smith, and it certainly shows. But if Smith can become a player who creates his own shot, the Bruins should be able to get up in to the top half of the power rankings.
Timmy Allen could certainly be a breakout player for a Utah team that is starting low in the power rankings, but who’s fate is not written in stone. The Utes have loads of young talent and Larry Krystkowiak has a track record that shows he’s basketball savant. Not all hope is lost in Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Unfortunately Stanford does not have a Construction Management major to maybe get some student interns from to help out with their rebuild. The Cardinal return only two starters (Daejon Davis and Oscar Da Silva) but a bright spot will be freshman guard Tyrell Terry who should hopefully have a long leash in an off-year for Stanford.
11. Washington State
It’s been nearly a decade since Wazzu finished with at least a .500 record in conference play, next season it will be a decade. The good news for Cougar fans is Kyle Smith is now at the helms and CJ Elleby is back and is on the Wooden Award watchlist. This is a young team that will develop spend the season developing, but hopefully there will be a couple moments where Cougar fans can rejoice.
Hey, things can’t get much worse than losing sixteen in a row right? Right? The Golden Bears are in a full-fledged rebuild after most of their talented players abandoned ship during the offseason. Patience and confidence in Mark Fox will be necessary for this rebuild.
Pacific Takes Top 25:
1. Michigan State
9. North Carolina
12. Seton Hall
14. Ohio State
The highest ranked Pac-12 team comes in at fifteen, ideally after a few weeks as some Titans begin to fall we can see a Pac-12 team break the top ten.
17. Texas Tech
18. Utah State
19. St. Mary’s
The Wildcats are back in the preseason Top 25 after a one-year hiatus. Hard to see them going anywhere but up in the rankings for the time being.
The Huskies aren’t here just because Pac-12 bias, this can be attributed to the news of Quade Green’s eligibility not breaking until this week.