Pac-12 College Basketball Preview
The Pac-12 conference last season had just three NCAA Tournament teams. Arizona State, Washington, and Oregon made the tournament. Oregon had a strong tournament making it to the sweet 16 before losing to Virginia. Arizona State, won its play in-game against St.Johns before losing in the first round to Buffalo. Washington won its first-round game against Utah State but lost in the second round to North Carolina. The 2019-20 season will be an interesting one for Pac-12 college basketball.
Pac-12 College Basketball Predictions
Arizona had a disappointing season last year. Head coach Sean Miller rebounded nicely with a top-five recruiting class. Amid all the controversy in Arizona last season, Miller was still able to land Nico Mannion who now headlines the Wildcats recruiting class.
Colorado closed last season as one of college basketball’s hottest teams. While other Pac-12 teams are getting strong recruiting classes. The Buffalo’s return every key player from last seasons squad. Colorado will try to build on the end of last season’s success which saw them reach the NIT quarterfinals.
Washington will have a young talented team this season. Incoming are five-star freshman Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart. Also, Quade Green a five-star transfer will be joining the Huskies as well.
It will be interesting to see how fast Washington can come together.
The Ducks are a well-coached team by Dana Altman, but there will be a lot of new players for the Ducks this season. It might take a while for them to find their stride early on. Look for the Ducks to make a push late in the season once everybody adapts to Altman’s system.
5. Arizona State
Arizona State is hard to figure out; they will look great for a couple of games, then turn around and look bad the next two games. The Sun Devils have an exciting roster and have one the most energetic players in college basketball in Remy Martin. It will be up to Head Coach Bobby Hurley to get Arizona State to stay consistent as they look for a third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
USC has a lot of talent on the roster. With Jonah Mathews and grad transfers Daniel Utomi and Quinton Adlesh joining USC, they could be the best shooting team in the PAC-12.
We will have to see if this team can play up to their talent and not underachieve like the past two seasons.
7. Oregon State
Oregon State got a big boost when Tres Tinkle decided to come back for his senior season. He is the early favorite for PAC-12 player of the year. The big question is, what can the Beavers build around him. Oregon State will get help from Ethan Thompson, who is also coming back.
UCLA has been a disappointment in the last few years. In comes new Head Coach Mick Cronin. It will be interesting to see what Cronin can do with the roster he inherited. Right now, UCLA is a big mystery.
Utah has a nice young core returning but suffered some key losses when losing they’re two best offensive players from last season, Parker Van Dyke and Sedrick Barefield. The Utes Success will depend on how fast the young players develop.
Stanford had a talented roster last season but underachieved big time. They still have talent but lost their best player KZ Okpala; he will be tough to replace. Stanford will have to settle for the bottom three in the PAC-12 again.
11. Washington State
Washington State is coming in with a new coach. Kyle Smith is high on analytics. Smith will try to bring his analytics system to the Cougars; only time will tell if it can be successful are not.
California has been so bad in the last two seasons. Head coach Mark Fox is taking over the basketball program. It will be a slow rebuild for the Fox and Cal to get through. Hopefully, Cal will be patient with Fox because success will not happen overnight.
I like USC as my surprise, they may be the best shooting team in the Pac-12. With freshman Evan Mobley coming in to work the paint, it will take some of the pressure of some of USC shooters.
Pac-12 Top Freshman to Watch
Isaiah Stewart Center Washington
Stewart is efficient in the paint and can rebound well for being only 6’9. He can also block shots and move his feet well as a defender. Stewart is working on improving his outside game to become more of a complete player.
Jaden McDaniels Power Forward Washington
McDaniels has raw talent and is very athletic. He also brings good length to the table being 6’10. McDaniels can step out and hit jumpers as well as attack the paint. Once McDaniels gets stronger and develops a consistent outside shot, he could be a future lottery pick.
Nico Mannion Point Guard Arizona
Mannion is a talented scorer and will develop into elite ball-handler for the Wildcats, he plays good defense and has a high basketball IQ. Mannion can take the ball to the basket and create for his teammates. He will be great for Arizona, and once he gets stronger sky is the limit for Mannion.
Josh Green Small Forward Arizona
Green brings versatility to Arizona; he can play both forward and guard. With Green’s build, he can slash to the basket and has shown the ability to step outside and hit some shots.
Green also can pass the ball and rebound as well; he is genuinely an all-around player.
Isaiah Mobley Power Forward USC
Mobley is skilled and has length and athleticism. He is 6’9 with the ability to play in the post and finish down low. He can also step outside and hit long-range shots. Mobley is a presence in the paint and will be huge for USC, especially with rebounding. Mobley will need to work on his defense to become one of the best all-around players in college basketball.