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Husky Men's Basketball

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August 11, 2006 at 10:11 AM

Rating the Pac

I’ll leave you on a late summer weekend with my latest Pac-10 power rankings.
1, Arizona — Word in Tucson is that this Wildcat team will have the best chemistry of any in three years with guys like Chris Rodgers and Hassan Adams finally out the door. If so, there is great returning talent in Roosevelt high’s Marcus Williams, Mustafa Shakur, Jawann McClellan, Marcus Williams, Ivan Radenovic, etc. And don’t forget that they have a freshman in Chase Budinger who may make as much of an impact as Spencer Hawes.
2, UCLA — They lost a lot, but they still have a lot coming back with Arron Afflalo delaying his NBA entry for another year, Josh Shipp returning and all those big guys up front. Plus, the Bruins welcome some great freshmen, notably 6-8 James Keefe.
3, Washington — That early Pac-10 schedule — five of the first seven on the road — is daunting, especially for a young team, and could have the Huskies looking uphill in the conference race from the start. Still, in my eyes, this would put the Huskies among the top 15 teams in the country as I wouldn’t be surprised if three Pac-10 teams make it to the Sweet 16 next year.
4, Cal — Sure, they lost Leon Powe, but I like a lot of what they have coming back with Ayinda Ubaka at guard, DeVon Hardin up front, etc. But this could be one team that slips in this poll before the season begins.
5, Oregon — The most enigmatic team in the conference the past two years, to be sure. But there is undeniable talent here and it is all back save for Ivan Johnson, whose departure may actually be a good thing. Certainly, the Ducks will be among the most interesting teams to watch next year as there is no doubt they have to finish at least this high in the conference or Ernie Kent is probably gone.
6, USC — The Trojans were destined for a higher pick than this before the Ryan Francis tragedy and the Gabe Pruitt academic news. Still, the Trojans will return four starters and Tim Floyd is bringing in a lot more talent that could fill in the gaps. And USC should only thrive playing in a new arena.
7, Stanford — This is one I could be changing upward before the season begins. But for now, I think the Cardinal is due for another subpar season unless the Lopez twins are really, really good — which they may be. But even with their presence it seems like Stanford is missing a few things and that it may be another year before Trent Johnson really gets his program in place.
8, Washington State — Everyone returns from a team that should have been better a year ago other than Josh Akognon, whose loss may not be as big as it would appear on paper. Akognon really didn’t fit into the system and his playing time dwindled at the end of the year. WSU also has some transfer guards coming in who will act as insurance in case Derrick Low has anymore injury problems, which is pretty much what derailed the Cougars last year.
9, Oregon State — They lost a lot of seniors last year, though some think that may not be as bad as it would appear on first glance as the Beavers seemed to have some chemistry problems a year ago. Still, the Beavers will be pretty young and unproven and Jay John seems to have lost some of the momentum he had going after the 2005 season.
10, Arizona State — Kevin Kruger is gone and the Sun Devils seem destined for a rebuilding year under Herb Sendek. Sendek’s ability to get a commitment from top recruit James Harden this week, however, shows that the long-term future may be bright for the Sun Devils.

Comments | Topics: UCLA


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