2008 Pac Ten Basketball Preview
The Pac-10 is a top conference with four clubs—Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and USC—that have the potential to be in the NCAA Tournament in March. Although there’s a lot of fine talent in the league, various schools have lost some important players in the frontcourt. That means a little less banging and with that the opportunity for some schools with smaller front men to be more competitive.
The top spot goes to the UCLA Bruins. The major talent on the team, senior guard Darren Collison, is a money player. Additionally, the Bruins welcome five top fifty freshmen for the 2008-2009 season.
The Sun Devils of Arizona State have been rebuilt by coach Herb Sendek and will now give UCLA a run for their money. Sophomore guard James Harden is an all-conference talent, while the frontcourt adds two fine forwards—Johnny Coy and Taylor Rohde.
Although the USC Trojans have lost the input of O.J. Mayo, they still have a talented and deep bunch of players. Coach Tim Floyd has snagged frosh guard Demar DeRozan and welcomes back junior forward Taj Gibson and junior guard Daniel Hackett.
Coach Tony Bennett is one of the best around, which makes this year’s Washington State Cougars extremely lucky. The team has lost a lot of talent, but senior center Aron Baynes and senior guard Taylor Rochestie are solid players. Freshman Klay Thompson is one of the best new recruits the Cougars have seen in years.
The Washington Huskies start one of the best players in the conference—senior forward Jon Brockman. Brockman’s problem is he has had to do it all in the past. Guard Scott Suggs and two other top-100 freshmen have been brought in to alleviate some of the pressure on the star forward.
For new California Golden Bears head coach Mike Montgomery there’s a lot of rebuilding to do. The frontcourt needs big bodies and some scoring chops. New recruit D.J. Seeley will put points on the board.
The Oregon Ducks have a strong freshman class of six that includes center Michael Dunigan. Junior guard Tajuan Porter is one of the best in the league. This year will be about garnering experience and next year will be about contending.
Head coach Trent Johnson has shipped out and new headman Johnny Dawkins takes over the helm of the Standford Cardinal club. Stanford is without the talents of the Lopez siblings, which hurts big time upfront.
The Oregon State Beavers welcome new coach Craig Robinson from Brown. Robinson has a long hill to climb to make this club competitive, but he seems willing to make the trip.
2008 Pac Ten Basketball Predictions
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2) Arizona State Sun Devils
3) USC Trojans
4) Arizona Wildcats
5) Washington State Cougars
6) Washington Huskies
7) California Golden Bears
8) Oregon Ducks
9) Stanford Cardinal
10) Oregon State Beavers