2022 Pac-12 men’s basketball preview

Story posted October 31, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Adam Sheetz

The Pac-12 is always in contention for being one of the top conferences in all of college basketball, and this season should be no different. The conference is led by two legitimate title contenders, as well as some depth that makes the league so competitive.

The conference favorite heading into the year is the UCLA Bruins, and it is no surprise to the rest of the nation. The Bruins return two great seniors in Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell to lead the charge.

UCLA also has junior wing Jaylen Clark, who has received a lot of buzz as a potential breakout candidate in the Pac-12. Along with Clark, coach Mick Cronin’s squad added three top 50 recruits to their team, headlined by Amari Bailey, who was a top 10 prospect in the nation.

With their mix of veteran talent and strong recruiting class, expect the Bruins to be in contention for a conference and national title this season.

Another team that is in serious contention in the conference is Arizona, which enters the season as the reigning champs. The Wildcats swept the conference last year, but have lost some very key pieces from that squad.

Losing three players to the NBA Draft makes a step-back seem inevitable for Arizona, but coach Tommy Lloyd returns a solid squad. Lloyd’s veteran squad, led by 6-foot-11 forward Ąžuolas Tubelis and electric guard Kerr Kriisa highlight what could be a dangerous Wildcat squad entering this season.

With the conference being headlined by UCLA and Arizona entering the year, a lot of questions surround Oregon as it enters this year. Coach Dana Altman has led the Ducks to a lot of success during his tenure in Eugene, but last year’s absence from the NCAA Tournament makes this year a huge bounce-back opportunity for the Ducks.

Oregon returns its leading scorer from last season in senior guard Will Richardson and looks to pair him with some great bigs in the middle. There is a lot of hope in the Ducks front-court with five-star 7-footer Kel’el Ware and former five-star N’Faly Dante on the block.

The mix of Richardson with the ultra-talented bigs make this year’s Oregon team very
dangerous heading into the year.

With Oregon looking to bounce back, USC is looking to reload after three-straight impressive seasons. The Trojans have finished in the top three in the Pac-12 each of the last three years, but no longer have the Mobley’s on their team as Isaiah Mobley departed for the NBA.

USC also took a hit with five-star freshman Vince Iwuchukwu’s playing future up in the air while dealing with a heart issue. The biggest question for this year’s USC squad is where the scoring production will come from.

Coach Andy Enfield expects a lot of the scoring load to rest on Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson, two players who have the ability to stretch the floor for the Trojans. USC expects to compete, but if it struggles early, expect top 60 prospects Tre White and Kijani Wright to contribute later into the season.
One team that doesn’t have much preseason hype is Colorado. Led by 13th-year coach Tad Boyle, the Buffaloes will need to find ways to rebuild quickly this season after the departures of Jabari Walker and Evan Battey.

Colorado has enough talent to hang around the middle of the pack in the Pac-12, and with enough key wins could find itself on the bubble this year.

The Pac-12 seems like a two-team race heading into the year, but in the landscape of college basketball, expect fireworks from the Pac-12 throughout this season.

Adam Sheetz is a third year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu.

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Adam Sheetz

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Adam Sheetz is a third year student from Reedsville, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. He has been a broadcaster for WCHX 105.5 FM in Mifflin County covering high school sports. He has also been a member of CommRadio since his first semester at Penn State, being involved in both the Arts and Sports departments. Adam has extensive experience in a play-by-play setting within CommRadio, covering football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball for the station. He has done written content for CommRadio ranging from Penn State football articles all the way to discussing Disney Channel movies. To contact Adam, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).