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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

May 2, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Re-assessing the Pac

So now that we at least know who is interested in leaving early, if not all who for sure will leave early, time to update our pre-pre-pre-season Pac-10 power ratings.
1, UCLA — Despite what could be some fairly significant losses, still the team to beat, thanks in part to one somewhat surprising decision to stay by PG Darren Collison. My guess is Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ultimately stay, and that combined with Collison, and a top-rated recruiting class, makes the Bruins the class of the Pac-10.
2, Arizona State — Still No. 2 , and as I wrote last month, everybody’s back, and that should be a big advantage next season in a conference that doesn’t figure to be as deep or strong as it was this year. James Harden should take the next step to stardom, Jeff Pendergraph could be the best defensive player in the conference, and the rest of the cast should be able to provide a little better support.
3, USC — Finally some certainty here as we know for sure that O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson are gone but that Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett will be back, as well as a stellar recruiting class led by swingman Demar DeRozan, who may be an even better fit than was Mayo.
4, Cal — As I wrote a month ago, taking a hunch here that the addition of Mike Montgomery may also compel Ryan Anderson to return. If so, Bears could take a pretty big leap as they seemed to almost play better this year without DeVon Hardin, indicating they won’t miss him all that much. Return-to-health of Theo Robertson will help, and Montgomery should add a defensive emphasis missing this year.
5, Arizona — Little change here. This remains a really hard team to assess until we know for sure if Chase Budinger stays. Budinger remains rated as a high first-round pick but it probably depends a lot on how the tryout camps go. If he leaves, Arizona will drop in this ranking. If not, a trio of Budinger, Jordan Hill and Brandon Jennings will make the Wildcats more than capable of a top five finish. And don’t forget that the Wildcats are also bringing in two quality freshmen big men in center Jeff Withey and forward Emmanuel Negedu.
6, Washington — No change from last month. Return of just about everyone plus the addition of three guards that should solidify the backcourt will make the Huskies again a contender for an NCAA Tournament berth. If one or more of the young big guys makes a big leap in production (or an immediate impact in the case of the freshmen) Huskies could climb higher (especially if the team figures out a way to make free throws again).
7, Washington State — Cougars added DeAngelo Casto since our last rankings, but it’s uncertain how much he’ll add next year. Otherwise, Cougars lose a lot, but they aren’t going to fall off the edge of the earth, either, bringing in a solid recruiting class and possibly getting some big help from guys who sat out this season such as Fabian Boeke and Abe Lodwick. But it figures to take some time to adjust to life with Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver.
8, Oregon — Ducks could finish a whole lot higher than this if a fabulous recruiting class pays immediate dividends. And since our last ratings, Ducks added point guard Garrett Sim seeming to solidify their backcourt. But the Ducks lose a lot of production and experience and the M.O. at Oregon under Ernie Kent has been that even the best of classes take a year or two to mature.
9, Stanford — Cardinal now has a coach, but it has lost its top recruit in big man Miles Plumlee and with the loss of the Lopez Twins, this seems like a team headed for a big fall.
10, Oregon State — The Beavers will be a lot more interesting to watch next season with Craig Robinson at the helm. But more than three or four wins in conference play seems hard to fathom.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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