Oregon is the cream of the crop in first Pac-12 college basketball power rankings
University of Oregon forward Dillon Brooks (24) shoots a 3 over Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (5) during the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday, March 11 in Las Vegas. Oregon won the Pac-12 Tournament a season ago, eliminating Arizona in the semi-finals.
The season is upon us and it all kicks off Friday when Arizona opens the season versus Michigan State. Who will win the Pac-12 and who are some key players to keep an eye on? Find out in the preseason basketball power rankings.
1. Oregon — To the dismay of Pac-12 Conference fans and Duke's Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks spurned the draft to lead Oregon to a title in 2017. In a conference filled with Wildcats, Bruins and Huskies, the Oregon Ducks start the season at the top of the pecking order.
2. Arizona — The Wildcats lost key seniors Gabe York and Kaleb Tarczewski but return senior Kadeem Allen and juniors Dusan Ristic and Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Lauri Markkanen is here to prove last year’s first round flameout was a fluke for Arizona basketball. Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons give Arizona the athleticism it desperately lacked last year.
3. UCLA — With the addition of Lonzo Ball for the Bruins, they should move Bryce Alford off-ball for this season. UCLA should rebound from last year’s squad that upset the No. 1 team yet still missed the postseason.
4. California — Ivan Rabb’s return makes the Golden Bears a formidable team in the Pac-12. They lost a lot from last year but Rabb, Jabari Bird and Sam Singer are back for a team that could surprise folks out west.
5. Utah — Replacing the conference POTY in Jakob Poeltl is tough, but Utah should still contend. Kyle Kuzma and Lorenzo Bonam should help head coach Larry Krystkowiak put together another formidable team.
6. Colorado — Josh Scott is gone but George King and Josh Fortune are back for the Buffaloes. Add in Derrick White, and Tad Boyle should have enough to make the tournament this season.
7. USC — Jordan McLaughlin leads an up-and-down Trojans team that stumbled down the stretch last season. USC is talented enough to contend for a top-25 spot but could be extremely inconsistent again this year.
8. Washington — The Huskies lost two first-rounders last season but Markelle Fultz is in the fold. Fultz is accumulating a lot of hype, but how good will his team be? The freshman point guard is garnering Pac-12 POTY hype, but that is impossible to accomplish if Washington misses the tournament.
9. Stanford — Johnny Dawkins is gone but the Cardinal do return five of their top six scorers. They still have a long shot at making the tourney with all of the talent ahead of them.
10. Oregon State — The Beavers return Tres Tinkle but it will be a long shot for them to make the tournament. They do have the conferences top father-son combination in Wayne and Tres Tinkle but that might not be enough for the Beavers.
11. ASU — Tra Holder is the best for player for an ASU team that does not look to good heading into 2016. The Sun Devils may not be interesting as a basketball team, but Bobby Hurley is still their coach. Whether he amasses more technical fouls than conference wins remains to be seen this season.
12. Washington State — It is possible that Wazzu gets worse as there is a major overhaul from last year. The non-conference games might be as good as it gets for a team that won only one conference game last year.
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Video courtesy of Pac-12 Networks and Arizona Athletics via Youtube.