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Husky Men's Basketball

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

October 27, 2008 at 9:12 AM

My Pac-10 poll

Pac-10 basketball media day is fast approaching — it will be held Thursday in Los Angeles.
And generally the most noteworthy happening there is the release of the annual media poll.
I submitted my ballot last week and here is how it reads:
1. UCLA
2. Arizona State
3. USC
4. Arizona
5. Washington
6. WSU
7. Oregon
8. Cal
9. Stanford
10. Oregon State
I think the top three are pretty much no-brainers, especially the top two. USC has a few more question marks than the other two, but early reports on DeMar DeRozan seem to indicate he’s all that has been advertised. He scored 29 in a scrimmage over the weekend. So the Trojans may just pick up where they left off.
UCLA I think is a solid No. 1 in the conference and among the top five in the nation, especially as it appears the freshmen will be able to fill in the holes. Arizona State has the most returning of any team in the conference and should finally get back to the NCAA Tournament. But I still think UCLA will probably win the league by a couple of games.
I sent in my vote before the Lute Olson news of last week and thought about switching UW and Arizona. I decided against it because I still think Arizona will be pretty good this year — it’s next year when that program could fall apart. There is still a good nucleus of players there, and those guys have pro futures to play for this season. It’s even possible that all of it serves as some sort of rallying cry for the team. So I just decided to stay put with my picks.
As for the Huskies, all signs are encouraging so far. If Quincy Pondexter really has the breakout year everyone has been waiting for and Isaiah Thomas makes a smooth adjustment to D-I ball, the Huskies could move higher — as it is, I think the top five teams in the league will make the NCAA Tournament this year, so the trick for UW is to be in that group.
There are a lot more question marks from there. WSU and Oregon each have a real potential to get into that top five mix, but each is depending on a lot of young players. How quickly that youth progresses will tell the tale (yes, I know UCLA and USC are also depending on a lot of youth, I just think their youth may be more ready to contribute).
I thought last spring Cal might be the bounceback team of this season before Ryan Anderson decided to turn pro. Now it’s hard to know. I think there’s more talent here than some realize, but how it all meshes with Mike Montgomery is hard to know. For now, the safe bet is to put them at the bottom until they prove otherwise.
I don’t see a lot of hope this year for Stanford or Oregon State, though I think the Beavers have more long-term optimism than they’ve had in a while, and it won’t surprise me if OSU wins 3-5 conference games this season.
I’m planning to attend media day, so we’ll have lots of basketball coverage here later in the week.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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