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Well, what can we say about the Pac-10 last season? Most people knew the league would be down last year, but this bad? The Pac-10 put forth one of the worst seasons for a “BCS” conference in decades, with only one NCAA Tournament berth guaranteed for most of the season. They were ranked No. 8 in the RPI and had just three teams finish better than two games above .500 overall. California, one of the preseason favorites, won the league with a 13-5 record, ahead of Arizona State and Washington. Arizona was the only other team to finish above .500. They ended up getting two bids to the NCAA Tournament, with Washington actually advancing to the Sweet 16 and California winning a game as well. The conference will be slightly better this season, but don’t expect more than three bids.
- 1. Washington: The heavy favorite to win the league title, the Huskies return a loaded backcourt led by Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Abdul Gaddy. If Matthew Bryan-Amaning improves as expected down low, look out.
- 2. Arizona: Derrick Williams is one of the most underrated forwards in the country, and Kyle Fogg can fill it up on the perimeter. The point guard position will be the key; is Momo Jones the answer?
- 3. UCLA: The Bruins could have the most talented team in the league besides Washington, but that didn’t help their 14-18 record last year. A point guard needs to step up, and freshman Josh Smith needs to make an impact.
- 4. Washington State: When Klay Thompson is hitting his shots, this team is tough. Thompson and Reggie Moore form a solid backcourt, and big man DeAngelo Casto is an emerging big man in the league.
- 5. Arizona State: The Sun Devils have two shooters who can be all-conference candidates in guard Ty Abbott and forward Rihards Kuksiks. The recruiting class, led by the versatile Keala King, will have to contribute.
- 6. USC: The Trojans could be a sleeper this season, behind the big man tandem of Nikola Vucevic and former UNC transfer Alex Stepheson. Fordham transfer Jio Fontan is going to be a scorer in the backcourt.
- 7. California: The Golden Bears lose nearly everyone from last season, but guard Jorge Gutierrez is a pest defensively. Freshmen Gary Franklin and Allen Crabbe will have to step up at guard right away.
- 8. Stanford: This is another team who can surprise a few people this season. Jeremy Green is one of the best guards in the conference, while freshmen Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown are very solid.
- 9. Oregon State: The Beavers had some hype heading into last season, but they were a disappointment, going just 14-18 overall. Guard Calvin Haynes can score the ball, but freshmen Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks will play.
- 10. Oregon: After all the attrition this summer, new head coach Dana Altman has his hands filled. Six players are gone, although guard Malcolm Armstead is back after contemplating a transfer.
Player of the Year: Isaiah Thomas, G, Washington
Newcomer of the Year: Keala King, G/F, Arizona State
- G- Isaiah Thomas, Washington
- G- Klay Thompson, Washington State
- F- Derrick Williams, Arizona
- F- Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
- F/C- Nikola Vucevic, USC
- G- Malcolm Lee, UCLA
- G- Jeremy Green, Stanford
- G- Ty Abbott, Arizona State
- F- Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Washington State
- F- Reeves Nelson, UCLA
- G- Reggie Moore, Washington State
- G- Calvin Haynes, Oregon State
- G/F- Keala King, Arizona State
- F- DeAngelo Casto, Washington State
- C- Josh Smith, UCLA