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October 23, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Washington picked sixth in Pac-12 preseason media poll

SAN FRANCISCO – Quite predictably Washington is saddled with modest expectations at the start of the 2014-15 men’s basketball season while the forecast is dim at Washington State and Arizona is the near unanimous pick to repeat as regular-season champions.

The Huskies were picked sixth in the Pac-12 preseason poll, which is two spots higher than where they were picked last year before finishing 17-15 and 8-8 Pac-12, which tied for eighth. It was the second straight season UW posted an 8-8 record in conference.

Washington returns its starting backcourt sophomore Nigel Williams-Goss and fourth-year junior Andrew Andrews and they’re expected to shoulder the scoring responsibilities. However, the Huskies will need to find answers on the front line.

They’re expected to rely on fourth-year junior Jernard Jarreau, a 6-10 forward who missed most of last season due to a knee injury in the opener and redshirt sophomore 6-11 center Robert Upshaw, who sat out last season after transferring from Fresno State.

A trio of UW wings (senior Mike Anderson, sophomore Darin Johnson and junior Quevyn Winters) are battling for the fifth spot in the lineup.

The forecast is as dim for Cougars, which is predicted to finish 11th under first-year coach Ernie Kent. The Cougars return star guard DaVonte Lacy to a team that staggered to a 10-21 finish last season and finished 11th in the conference at 3-15.

Meanwhile, Arizona, which received 31 of 32 first-place votes, is the overwhelming favorite for the third straight year.

The Wildcats return just starters from a team that finished 33-5 and 15-3 last season, but they’re loaded once again with a roster that includes four players (Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski) projected in the 2015 NBA draft.

Arizona, which is ranked No. 2 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, is expected to vie for its first national title.

Utah was picked second by the media followed by Colorado, UCLA, Stanford and UW. The bottom half of the poll includes California, which was picked seventh, Oregon, Arizona State, USC, WSU and Oregon State.

Here’s a look at the preseason media poll with first-place votes in parenthesis.

1. Arizona (31) 383
2. Utah 3173.
3. Colorado 316
4. UCLA (1) 290
5. Stanford 264
6. Washington 189
7. California 188
8. Oregon 159
9. Arizona State 155
10. USC 106
11. Washington State 84
12. Oregon State 45

Here’s a look at where Washington has been picked in the conference preseason preseason media poll and how Huskies have fared under coach Lorenzo Romar.

Year ……. Prediction …. Finish

2013-14 … eighth … t-eighth
2012-13 … fifth … t-sixth
2011-12 … fourth ……. first
2010-11 … first ………. third
2009-10 … second …. third
2008-09 … fifth ……… first
2007-08 … second … eighth
2006-07 … third ……. seventh
2005-06 … fourth ….. second
2004-05 … second … second
2003-04 … eighth …. second
2002-03 … eighth …. ninth

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