Pac-12 Basketball Season Preview
The Pac-12 performed much better last season as multiple teams reached the second round and Oregon nearly upset Virginia in the Sweet 16. Despite having few championship contenders, the conference of champions will look to move past mediocrity this season as four teams bring multiple five-star recruits to their roster.
The Ducks will be one of the top teams in the country led by guard Payton Pritchard. The Ducks lost Kenny Wooten and Louis King from last season, but have a top-five recruiting class and two transfers coming from the Mountain West. Not to mention, Oregon has the best coach in the conference in Dana Altman.
Last year, the Buffaloes were one of the hottest teams in the country at the end of the season winning nine of their last 11 games. The team lacks top-tier talent but will benefit greatly from McKinley Wright, Tyler Bey, and Dallas Walton returning to the roster.
Last year was Sean Miller’s worst season in his tenure in Tucson, however, the team returns four of its five starters while also bringing in five-stars Nico Mannion and Josh Green. Chase Jeter, who transferred from Duke should shine in his final season.
Jaylen Nowell, who was the PAC-12 player of the year in 2019 is now playing in the NBA, will force the Huskies to struggle early in the season. The team, however, has two incoming five-star freshmen and multiple transfers including Kentucky guard Quade Green.
Arizona State Sun Devils
The Sun Devils always tend to win big games in November and December but struggle in conference play. Five of the top sevens scorers from last year’s team return this year including guard Remy Martin. The team will also add junior college transfer Alonzo Verge Jr.
This season will be unique for head coach Andy Enfield as he will not have the personnel to have four guards on the court. Expect five-star forwards Onyeka Okongwu and Isaiah Mobley to make significant impacts as well as sophomore Elijah Weaver.
This will be the most intriguing team to watch in the PAC-12 this season. The team only returns two of its starters from last year but is loaded with four and five-star players. Mark Cronin will bring a new mentality to Hollywood and the Bruins have the potential to surprise this season.
Oregon State Beavers
Senior forward Tres Tinkle returns for his redshirt season as well as center Kylor Kelley and point guard Ethan Thompson. Despite having four starters returning to the team, the Beavers still lack depth and one injury can significantly hurt them.
Head coach Larry Krystkowiak always performs better than season predictions. This team has, however, lost three of its top four scorers from last season. Rylan Jones is one of the highest-rated recruits Krystkowiak signed, but the team has too much inexperience and roster turnover.
The Cardinal lost two of their best players from last season but still has the potential to perform well this season. Head coach Jerod Hasse signed top-20 recruiting classes in both 2017 and 2018. It will be an interesting season as the Hasse era has been disappointing thus far.
Washington State Cougars
The Cougars had one of the best offseasons in college basketball by hiring San Francisco head coach Kyle Smith. Smith won 63 games in his three-year tenure by utilizing analytics in his coaching strategy. This year’s team lacks talent and will likely struggle.
California Golden Bears
The former Georgia and Nevada coach, Mark Fox will look to turn the program around in his first year at Berkeley. The team will have a decent backcourt in Paris Austin and Matt Bradley. The team does need to improve at multiple positions and will likely be one of the worst teams in the country.
Matthew White is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism with a double minor in Business and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism, Business, Spanish