2009-2010 Pac Ten Basketball Preview
For the Pac-10, the 2009- 2010 season will reveal some major changes in this league. For starters, the USC program, which is in major distress, looks to fall quite a few pegs in the standings both in the league and nationally and the Arizona State Sun Devils will also plummet a few notches. Here’s what the conference looks like.
The Golden Bears of California went 11- 7, finishing fourth in the conference. Although the Bears don’t have a great incoming class, winning coach Mike Montgomery is at the helm. With senior guards Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle, the Bears put the best backcourt in the league on the floor. This is a team with first place potential.
Last season, the Washington Huskies were tops in the Pac-10. After a few dormant post season years, the Huskies were back in the Big Dance, going two and out. This club has a fine backcourt, which includes sophomore Isaiah Thomas and top recruit, the sure-handed Abdul Gaddy.
The UCLA Bruins are not the best in the league, but they are one of the best. Coach Ben Howland has lost his stars but he will manage, as usual, to put a fine team on the court. The Bruins possess the best freshman class in the Pac-10, which includes Tyler Honeycutt, who brings fine shooting, passing and defensive skills.
The Oregon State Beavers finished seventh last year. This season this deep and experienced team has the potential to finish in the top five. Australian recruit Angus Brandt comes on board with a jump shot that he can hit from just about anywhere. Senior center Roeland Schaftenaar is the best of the best in the league.
The Wildcats of Arizona are led by guard Nic Wise. New coach Sean Miller will attempt to keep the team in the NCAA mix. They have not missed a Big Dance in 25 seasons. It won’t be easy to keep that streak intact with this relatively inexperienced Wildcat team.
Arizona State got back to the NCAA Tournament last season after years of being out of the mix. This season it looks like the Devils, who lost an array of top players, will finish in the bottom half of the Pac-10, which means no trip to March Madness.
In the final four spots, it looks to be the Washington State Cougars, Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal. The Cougars will put Klay Thompson on the court and watch him shoot. Coach Ken Bone has to rebuild this team. The Oregon Ducks have a young roster and will struggle to make an impression. For a disintegrating USC club, this is a year to stop the bleeding and get back on track. In his second season, head coach Johnny Dawkins has a lot of rebuilding to do with Stanford.
Does the Pac-10 have a national contender? If they do, it would be the California Golden Bears and possibly the Washington Huskies. UCLA is good but not good enough.
2009-2010 Pac Ten Basketball Predictions
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2) Washington Huskies
3) UCLA Bruins
4) Oregon State Beavers
5) Arizona Wildcats
6) Arizona State Sun Devils
7) Washington State Cougars
8) Oregon Ducks
9) USC Trojans
10) Stanford Cardinal