Will it be Arizona or UCLA at No. 1 this period?

October 18, 2022

As the 2022-23 males’s university basketball period attracts better, ESPN.com’s panel of professionals is forecasting the order of surface for the country’s leading seminars. Having currently checked out the mid-majors and also the American, the emphasis currently changes to the Pac-12.

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There is unpredictability in advance for this organization. With both UCLA and also USC readied to screw for the Big 10 in 2024 and also reports that institutions within the seminar can additionally be seeking to relocate, it’s vague what the Pac-12 will certainly resemble in the coming years, or if it can maintain its standing amongst the power seminars.

This period in males’s basketball, nevertheless, it encounters an acquainted obstacle in the nationwide landscape: This is a top-heavy seminar with a number of groups that appear with the ability of second-weekend capacity. The last time that took place– 2020-2021– 2 Pac-12 (Oregon State, USC) groups got to the Elite 8, and also UCLA just missed its possibility to play in the title video game due to a 30-foot buzzer beater from Gonzaga in the Last 4.

This organization may do not have in 2014’s celebrity power, yet the returning experts must add to the cumulative postseason capacity of the whole organization.

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Discover even more preseason evaluation below.


Pac-12 2022-23 superlatives

Gamer of the Year

Medcalf: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA
Borzello: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA
Gasaway: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA
Lunardi: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA

Newbie of the Year

Medcalf: Amari Bailey, UCLA
Borzello: Amari Bailey, UCLA
Gasaway: Amari Bailey, UCLA
Lunardi: Amari Bailey, UCLA


Pac-12 2022-23 roundtable

In his initial period as a head trainer, Tommy Lloyd won the Pac-12 champion and also gained Arizona a No. 1 seed in the NCAA competition. Exactly how can this period’s team repeat that success?

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Lunardi: Not just did Arizona win the Pac-12 suddenly, not just did the Wildcats get an NCAA local No. 1 seed, they were the 2nd general seed— routing just Gonzaga, where Lloyd invested the previous 20 years riding shotgun to Mark Couple of. One can say Lloyd is the initial male to ever before construct the country’s leading 2 groups in the exact same period.

The 2022-23 Wildcats will certainly not be as independently talented as last period’s, yet a six individuals that played 20-plus mins return. That’s a great deal of experience from a 33-win group, so it’s not unreasonable to once more get to the 2nd weekend break. This moment, however, they’ll be the seeker rather than the pursued front runner. Which sort of revenge would certainly be extremely wonderful undoubtedly.

Gasaway: Lloyd brought a little Gonzaga southern in 2014 in the type of exceptionally exact team-wide 2-point capturing: Arizona linked on 58% of its shots inside the arc in Pac-12 play. That stat will certainly take a struck with Bennedict Mathurin, Dalen Terry and also Christian Koloko gone, yet not excessive. Azuolas Tubelis is still about, as are Oumar Ballo and also Pelle Larsson. On top of that, Texas transfer Courtney Ramey will provide assistance from the border. Arizona and also UCLA are the co-favorites for the organization.

Medcalf: Based upon Mathurin’s emphasize reel plays from the Indiana Pacers’ NBA preseason video games, the Wildcats will certainly miss his bounce and also large ability. On the whole, 45.1 PPG (Mathurin, Koloko, Terry and also Justin Kier) from last period is gone. You can not redeem that. However I believe Ramey, that completed with a 13.1% turn over price in Huge 12 activity last period, can be a qualified round trainer for the Pac-12 title competitors. Still, a team with Kerr Kriisa (9.7 PPG) and also Ramey in the backcourt, and also Tubelis (13.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG), Larsson (Pac-12 6th male of the year) and also Ballo, is piled sufficient to make a solid seed on Choice Sunday– thinking Arizona can preserve its protective success (21st in modified protective performance on KenPom last period).

Borzello: Arizona was genuinely exclusive offensively the majority of last period, with Lloyd generating a faster-paced system based on sharing the round and also racking up at will certainly around the edge. Obviously, he had 3 top-35 NBA draft selects to aid. So a few of in 2014’s corresponding items will certainly require to tackle larger functions. Those around the program anticipate an outbreak project from Larsson, and also Ballo remains to boost down reduced. Whether Arizona can press UCLA for an organization title will likely boil down to the young enhancements: freshers Dylan Anderson and also Henri Veesaar, and also seldom-used returnee Adama Bal.


UCLA had high hopes going into last period, yet could not rather satisfy them, many thanks to a myriad of factors, consisting of injuries and also COVID stops briefly. Can the Bruins recuperate this period, and also what do they require to do to go much?

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Tyger Campbell in-bounds a dollar to Jaime Jaquez Jr. for 2

Gasaway: Exactly how unpredictable is this point called university basketball? The Bruins were up 3 on North Carolina in the Sugary food 16, with a bit greater than 2 mins staying. So possibly UCLA was closer than we in fact believe, within back-to-back Last Fours. Nevertheless, Jaquez, Tyger Campbell and also fellow returnee Jaylen Clark will certainly greet to nationwide top-20 employees Amari Bailey and also Adem Bona. With Campbell managing the round, the Bruins might squash the remainder of the Pac-12 in shot quantity once more in 2023.

Medcalf: Mick Cronin will certainly be living great regardless of what occurs after UCLA’s Last 4 (2021) and also Sweet Sixteen (2022) runs. However a healthy and balanced Jaquez (13.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.3 APG)– that fought ankle joint injuries throughout 2021-22– provides UCLA among university basketball’s most full gamers. UCLA devoted turn overs on simply 11.5% of its belongings with Campbell on the flooring last period, per hooplens.com. Bona and also Bailey are forecasted first-round choices. I believe the secret regarding UCLA this year is that Cronin may have his ideal Bruins group. If that holds true, well, most of us understand he’s done extra with much less.

Borzello: I concur. The Bruins must have the ability to create energy extra continually, also without Johnny Juzang and also Jules Bernard. Jaquez is a preseason All-American, Campbell is among the very best point player in the nation, Clark balanced 14.8 factors and also 6.4 rebounds throughout a five-game February stretch as a starter. If Bailey and also Bona are undoubtedly the game-changers they’re anticipated to be, UCLA is the clear Pac-12 fave.

Lunardi: UCLA battled to satisfy assumptions in 2014 partially due to the fact that claimed assumptions were unreasonable, based extra upon its 5 2021 NCAA competition wins than what had actually been a primarily sub-par normal period. The fact figured to drop someplace in the center, which is specifically what took place last period. It is likely much better placed for a Last 4 run in 2023. Both ideal gamers are back together with ample arising ability to maintain the great times going. With Arizona shedding the aspect of shock, I such as UCLA to reclaim its Pac-12 crown and also make an extremely deep NCAA run this March.


An excellent variety of trains in the Pac-12 will certainly be under examination this period: Mike Hopkins (Washington), Jerod Haase (Stanford), Bobby Hurley (Arizona), among others. That remains in one of the most problem, and also just how can they conserve their seat?

Borzello: Washington had a remarkably strong 2021-22 project, ending up 17-15 general and also 11-9 in the organization, yet have actually still just been to one NCAA competition in Hopkins’ 5 periods at the helm. There is some positive outlook bordering its inbound transfers.

Arizona State won 7 of its last 8 regular-season video games, and also sports supervisor Ray Anderson offered Hurley a ballot of self-confidence for one more year. This is one more group checking on an increase of beginners– and also a healthy and balanced Marcus Bagley, that has actually just played 15 video games in 2 periods because of injury.

Lunardi: Consisting of the terminated 2020 competition, Hurley has 3 NCAA competition looks (no success), Hopkins one and also Haase none in 18 accumulated periods. Just Hopkins has actually won an NCAA video game (2019 ), after additionally recording the organization crown. Since his “high” was the greatest and also his loss the outermost, his seat is possibly the best. Amongst the 3, he additionally has the most awful group this period, indicating his possibility to ultimately prosper Jim Boeheim at Syracuse has actually most likely reoccured.

Haase has the very best group of the triad, and also numbers to ride the NCAA bubble all period. Hurley has one more NIT-level group, which might or might not help the powers-that-be in Tempe (that currently discharged their prominent football trainer this year).

Medcalf: Hopkins was Boeheim’s follower, which just included weight to his arrival in Seattle. Currently he has a 45-49 organization document and also a solitary NCAA competition look. He is additionally, like lots of various other head trains, fighting increased assumptions from boosters, that can currently play a much more essential (and also lawful) function in hiring via name, picture and also similarity (NIL) possibilities. As well as the transfer site has actually developed the opportunity that any type of trainer can make a just-add-water team with second-weekend capacity. All this in a Seattle area that simply generated the No. 1 choice (Paolo Banchero) and also various other leading NBA ability such as Dejounte Murray, and also it’s very easy to see just how one more rough period for Hopkins can lead the program’s leading brass to presume another person can be much better.

Gasaway: It’s feasible Stanford, Arizona State and also Washington will certainly all be much better than they were in 2014. On the other hand, could Oregon State look very little various than in 2021-22? Returning to Haase: In 10 periods as a head trainer (with 6 coming with a major-conference program), he’s gotten to one NCAA competition. On the various other hand, he did have his ideal KenPom group in 2020. No good luck.


That or what are we not chatting almost sufficient regarding throughout the Pac-12?

Medcalf: Dana Altman has actually won at the very least one video game in the NCAA competition 7 times because 2012-13: He’s gotten to the Sugary food 16 3 times, the Elite 8 when and also the Last 4 when throughout that stretch. His 2022-23 Oregon Ducks team– led by professional Will certainly Richardson and also McDonald’s All-American Kel’ el Ware– has an opportunity to contribute to that stat. Altman’s uniformity in an unstable college landscape over the last years, which 4 Pac-12 titles, has actually additionally been forgotten.

Gasaway: Andy Enfield has actually taken USC to extra NCAA competitions than any type of trainer in program background. The Trojans can arrive once more in 2023 with Drew Peterson, Boogie Ellis and also appealing beginners Vincent Iwuchukwu and also Tre White. And also, the hoops gods owe USC a support. In 2014 an organization that fired 33% on its sixes drained pipes 39% of its shots versus the Trojans.

Borzello: It seems like we have actually been down this roadway previously, yet Stanford seems an agreement preseason top-five group in the Pac-12 this period– which can possibly lead to the Cardinal’s initial journey to the NCAA competition because Jerod Haase took control of in 2016. He’s hired successfully over the last couple of years, yet hasn’t had the ability to continually place it with each other on the flooring. However Spencer Jones and also Michael Jones are exclusive shooters, and also Harrison Ingram is a previous first-class hire and also prospective NBA gamer. Can the Cardinal obtain effective point player play from Michael O’Connell or Isa Silva? It can establish their March destiny.

Lunardi: I’m still having a difficult time obtaining made use of to the suggestion of no Pac-12 depiction in L.A.– whether it’s 2 years from currently or 2 years.

That claimed, it’s about time the organization leaves its you-know-what and also does something regarding San Diego State. The Aztecs would certainly be no even worse than the 3rd ideal group in the organization this year They may not remain in L.A., yet they’re the closest (just?) significant program readily available. As opposed to dithering, the Pac-12 requires to be as hostile as feasible. I would certainly include SDSU the other day and afterwards make whatever plans are essential to swipe Gonzaga as an unique basketball-only participant.

It’s not mosting likely to occur, yet if various other seminars can believe and also act outside package, why not the Pac-12?


Pac-12 2022-23 seminar champ forecasts