Despite criticism, the Pac-12 is set to have a big year
The Pac-12 hasn’t been as great as it has been in the past, but it is unfair for some people to refer to the PAC-12 as a Mid-Major league. While obviously that’s not only untrue but disrespectful to the PAC-12. The league likely would have had 6-7 bids to the NCAA Tournament last season and is recruiting at an all-time high, as the league added 2 Top-10 recruits to PAC-12 this year in Ziaire Williams (Stanford) and Joshua Christopher (Arizona State). There’s a narrative that the PAC-12 isn’t a good conference and not enough are bringing recognition to what the PAC-12 has done. I’m here to do it.
Some people say the American Athletic Conference is better than the PAC-12, that’s a league that could have been a one-bid league if Houston won the conference tournament compared to a league that could have been a 7 bid league. That’s a big difference from last season. The PAC-12 could have legitimately had more bids than every conference but the Big Ten. I think the PAC-12 could be in position to get 7 bids once again, I’ll examine who should make it in my opinion right now.
PG- Remy Martin (Testing Waters)
SG-Alonzo Verge Jr (Testing Waters)
SF- Joshua Christopher
PF- Taeshon Cherry
C- Jaelen Graham
Bench: Marcus Bagley, Jaelen House, Kimani Lawrence, Caleb Christopher.
Bobby Hurley is loading the Non-Conference schedule once again with games at Creighton, home vs San Diego State, home vs SMU, the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. With players back, Arizona State is the preseason favorites in the league. Despite the NCAA Tournament getting canceled in a year, they would have made it, they should go to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season. Which would be the first time since the 1970s.
Season Prediction: NCAA Tournament anywhere from 4-8 seed.
PG- Will Richardson
SG- Amauri Hardy (UNLV)
SF- Chris Duarte
PF- Chandler Lawson
C- N’Faly Dante
Bench: Jalen Terry, Addison Patterson, CJ Walker, Eugene Omoruyi(Rutgers) Eric Williams Jr (Duquense)
This is an extremely deep team, I already did an in-depth story on the Ducks but they are definitely a tournament level team. They could easily finish first in the PAC-12, led by future star Will Richardson.
Season Prediction: NCAA Tournament, 4-8 seed
PG- Tyger Campbell
SG- Chris Smith (Testing Waters)
SF- Johnny Juzang (Needs Waiver, Kentucky)
PF- Jalen Hill
C- Cody Riley
Bench: Jaime Jaquez, Jake Kyman, Jaylen Clark, David Singleton, Kenneth Nwuba
This is not a deep team by any means, but this is enough to get by. Losing Daishen Nix hurts but not nearly as bad as some people seem to think. It makes Tyger Campbell the clear Starting Point Guard once again and that worked greatly last season. UCLA was one of the best teams in the sport the last 2 months of the year and was a bubble team late last season but really picked it up and they only lose Prince Ali and Alex Olesinski
Season Prediction: NCAA Tournament 6-10 seed
PG- Rylan Jones
SG- Ian Martinez
SF- Timmy Allen (Testing Waters)
PF- Riley Battin
C- Branden Carlson
Bench: Alfonso Plummer, Mikael Jantunen, Jaxon Brenchley, Lahat Thioune, Caleb Loehner.
This is a deep team and returns mostly everyone. Timmy Allen is testing the waters but will more than likely be back. Utah beat Kentucky in Vegas last season and they were also one of the youngest teams in College Hoops. Coach Larry Krystkowiak should get his Utes team back into the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21.
Prediction- NCAA Tournament 6-10 Seed
PG- Daejon Davis
SG- Bryce Wills
SF- Ziaire Williams
PF- Oscar Da Silva
C- Jaiden Delaire
Bench: Lukas Kisunas, Max Murrell, Noah Tatiz, James Keefe, Brandon Angel.
I’m assuming the Cardinal lose Tyrell Terry, they’ll jump significantly if he returns. They add their #1 all-time recruit in Ziaire Williams, return Oscar Da Silva and have a good collection of talent surrounding those two. This is not a deep bench but the Freshman could fit in decently enough, but the Starting 5 is great and will carry them.
Season Prediction: NCAA Tournament 7-11 seed
PG- James Akinjo (Georgetown)
SG- Jermarl Baker Jr
SF- Terrell Brown Jr (Seattle)
PF- Ira Lee
C- Jordan Brown (Nevada)
Bench: Brandon Williams, Christian Koloko, Dalen Terry, Kerr Kriisa, Daniel Batcho, Benedict Mathurin
Sean Miller hit the overseas market hard this off-season with Kriisa, Batcho, Mathurin, and adding Terrell Brown Jr grad-transfer from Seattle who had 20 PPG last season. Arizona also brings in James Akinjo (Georgetown) and Jordan Brown (Nevada). Akinjo could be eligible first semester but will be in the second semester and Brown will be eligible since he sat last season will help the Wildcats significantly in getting back to the Big Dance.
Season Prediction NCAA Tournament 8-11 Seed
PG- McKinley Wright IV (Testing Waters)
SG- Maddox Daniels
SF- D’Shawn Schwartz
PF- Jeriah Horne (Tulsa)
C- Evan Battey
Bench: Keeshawn Barthelemy, Dallas Walton, Alexander Starting, Dominique Clifford, Jabari Walker, Luke O’Brien
Colorado lost Tyler Bey to the NBA Draft, Lucas Siewart to graduation and Shane Gatling will hurt. That being said, adding Jeriah Horne from Tulsa and 3 younger guys in Clifford, Walker, O’Brien, assuming Wright IV returns the Buffs will make the tournament.
Season Prediction- NCAA Tournament 8-11 Seed
PG- Quade Green
SG- Erik Stevenson (Needs Waiver, Wichita State)
SF- Naziah Carter
PF- Hameir Wright
C- Nate Roberts
Bench- Marcus Tsohonis, Jamal Bey, Bryan Penn-Johnson, Raequon Battle
Losing Isaiah Stewart hurts, and Jaden McDaniels too kind of. Adding Hometown guard Erik Stevenson, who is an elite scorer and awesome shooter should help though. With Quade Green back in the lineup assuming his academics are back on track, Washington could surprise people but Stevenson needs to be eligible for this team to make the NCAA Tournament.
Season Prediction- NCAA Tournament Bubble Team 10/11/12 seed, or NIT
PG- Ethan Anderson
SG- Isaiah White (Utah Valley)
SF- Drew Peterson (Rice)
PF Isaiah Mobley
C- Evan Mobley
Bench- Chevez Goodwin (Wofford), Max Agbonkpolo Tahj Eaddy (Santa Clara), Noah Baumann
I’m pretty low on USC compared to many probably, they’ve added a lot of talented pieces in the past few years and they were really good for Mid-Major schools but the PAC-12 is often a different animal. Evan Mobley can take over like Onyeka Okongwu did last season, I could see him averaging like 13/8 which is good but they’ll need more out of him to raise their ceiling. They lost so much from last season in a year where they were probably a 9/10 seed and they get worse. I think they may sneak in but if you’re a Trojans fan be at the edge of your seat this season.
Season Prediction- NCAA Tournament, Bubble Team First Four/NIT
PG- Ryan Betley (Penn)
SG- Matt Bradley
SF- Grant Anticevich
PF- Andre Kelley
C- Lars Thiemann
Bench- Joel Brown, Kuany Kuany, Monty Brewer, Jalen Celestine
They will almost definitely add someone else as grad-transfer maybe Makale Foreman from Stony Brook or someone like that. Their bench is weak but they have a First Team PAC-12 guy in Matt Bradley, a great coach in Mark Fox and pieces around that can help.
Season Prediction- NIT/ CBI
If they can make the NIT that’s an absolute win and I think they can be a bubble team somewhere in the first 12-16 out obviously that’s the very back end of a big bubble but that still a major win for a program that is still recovering from the Wyking Jones era.
PG- Isaac Bonton
SG- Noah Williams
SF- C.J. Elleby (Testing Waters)
PF- Tony Miller
C- Volodymyr Markovetskyy
Bench- DJ Rodman, Marvin Cannon, Aljaz Kunc, Dishon Jackson, TJ Bamba, Jefferson Koulibaly
Kyle Smith has a solid team in Year 2 at Washington State. Is it an NCAA Tournament level team? No, postseason Level? Maybe but that’s if Elleby is back of course. If not they might have a fun back and forth with Oregon St for the worst in the conference.
Season Prediction- 15/16 Wins, NIT/ CBI
PG- Jarod Lucas
SG- Zac Rehicle
SF- Ethan Thompson (Testing Waters)
PF- Maurice Calloo
C- Roman Silva
Bench- Tariq Silver, Warith Alathishe, Isaiah Johnson,
Season Prediction- 10/11 Wins
I mean this is a really bad team Wayne Tinkle might be out after what’s due to be a bad season. They needed last year to be a good season and it really wasn’t. Now they lose Tres Tinkle and Kylor Kelley, making things even worse.