Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pac-10 Conference Preview


After a season in which the Pac-10 sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament, including five that won at least one game in the Big Dance, the conference is undoubtedly headed for a down year. While Washington and California are the clear-cut favorites, even they are not serious national title contenders yet. After them, the conference is going to be wide-open. UCLA and Arizona are reloading, while USC and Arizona State are headed for a major fall this season after losing key cogs. With that said, there is room for a couple of teams, namely Oregon and Oregon State, to make strides forward in the league standings. It is a surprise to see only three teams projected to reach the NCAA Tournament, but it is very difficult to place another team as solidly in the Big Dance. We will have to wait and see to see if any team can step up and nab an extra bid.

Player of the Year: Jerome Randle, G, California

Newcomer of the Year: Abdul, Gaddy, G, Washington

All-Conference Team:
G- Isaiah Thomas, Washington
G- Jerome Randle, California
G- Patrick Christopher, California
G- Nic Wise, Arizona
F- Quincy Pondexter, Washington

Second Team:
G- Dwight Lewis, USC
G- Klay Thompson, Washington State
G- Abdul Gaddy, Washington
F- Landry Fields, Stanford
C- Roeland Schafternaar, Oregon State 

Third Team:
G- Calvin Haynes, Oregon State
G- Tajuan Porter, Oregon
G- Malcolm Lee, UCLA
F- Theo Robertson, California 
F- Nikola Dragovic, UCLA

Projected Order of Finish

1. California: The Golden Bears have the league's best backcourt in Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, and Theo Robertson is a gunner on the wing. They need someone to step up down low, though. Prediction: NCAA
2. Washington: If Abdul Gaddy makes the impact that is expected of him, he and Isaiah Thomas will form a dynamite guard tandem. Quincy Pondexter is poised for a breakout season in the frontcourt. Prediction: NCAA
3. UCLA: Although the Bruins are young, they are still very talented and still have Ben Howland at the helm. Sophomore Malcolm Lee will be a scorer in the backcourt and Nikola Dragovic can shoot the three. Prediction: NCAA
4. Arizona: This could be the year that the Wildcats' streak of 25 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances comes to an end. Nic Wise and a crop of newcomers need to step up early and often. Prediction: NIT
5. Oregon State: The inside-outside duo of Calvin Haynes and Roelanad Schafternaar is an underrated tandem, and freshman Roberto Nelson is expected to make an impact in the backcourt. Prediction: NIT
6. Oregon: The Ducks are going to try to run-and-gun their way to a postseason berth. Tajuan Porter is still around in the backcourt, and sophomore Michael Dunigan has plenty of potential down low. Prediction: CBI/CIT
7. Washington State: The young (13 freshman or sophomores) Cougars lose head coach Tony Bennett, but they have a budding sophomore tandem in Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto. Prediction: CBI/CIT
8. Arizona State: Without James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph, the Sun Devils will struggle. However, Derek Glasser and Rihards Kuksiks played key roles in their 25-win season a year ago. Prediction: No Postseason
9. USC: The Trojans had a tumultuous offseason, and will try to stay out of the Pac-10 cellar this season. Dwight Lewis and UNC transfer Alex Stepheson will have to carry the load. Prediction: No Postseason
10. Stanford: The Cardinal finished next-to-last a year ago, but they might not get that high this season. Landry Fields is one of the Pac-10's best players, but they don't have much else. Prediction: No Postseason


  1. Surprisingly good job. You really made up for your previous pick of Arizona St. as #4 in the conference and going to the NCAA tournement (see team #42). That was a real joke and IMO you lost credibility with that prediction. I think the conference will get 4 teams to the dance...

  2. I don't make the predictions that are on the main page of is a separate blog that is on their network, but my predictions are independent of the ones they make.

  3. I agree with your projected order of finish, but disagree with one thing-- your assessment of Washington's backcourt. I am not sure I see Gaddy as being second team, since I think he'll be Washington's #3 guard -- Overton is probably going to start over him. Gaddy will be a great floor general when he is on the court, and rack up the assists, but I wouldn't discount all that Overton brings to the floor -- incredible energy and possibly the best on-ball defender in the conference.

    My opinion of this might change if Gaddy turns out to be able to hit the 3 and no one else on UW could, because I think that's what they are really lacking on offense.

    Otherwise, great work! Keep it up