Pac-12 Preseason Stuff: Rankings, Superlatives, Awards

If you’re anything like me (heaven forbid), it’s been a touch of a struggle to get really, way way way up for this season. Last year there was historic greatness! How do you follow that up? This isn’t 2am bar trash but it also isn’t going to be your wife.

Of course as we’re on season’s eve, all of the feels return, excitement bubbles to standard levels, and we college basketball.

But it remains that this is an odd one. Drawing our attention to the premise of this blog – the Pac-12 – I thought we could contextualize the forthcoming events. If prescribing a single word (or phrase for leeway with possible imagery linked for effect) for each of the Pac-12’s four seasons it’d look something like this:

2011-12: Woof
2012-13: He touched the ball
2013-14: Progress!
2014-15: Arizona

In reality just one of those words represents directionality (progress) in which we saw where the conference was headed. The inaugural year was garbage – steaming hot trash, like thinking you’d built an empire on single day algorithms and regulatory loop holes. Then Jordan Adams didn’t touch the ball and we saw a season with better results, but…two weeks later Ben Howland was fired, a month later everyone on Oregon’s roster was kicked out of the state, and Mark Lyons was a rent-a-guard.

Yet we still saw progress the following year. The Bruins and Wildcats led that charge (fitting for a conference that has seen those two schools win 23 of the past 30 conference titles) and even Stanford made the Sweet 16! Last year was Arizona to the tune of a +19ppg or +28 points per 100 possessions. Dominant.

So here’s the weird one. The competition will be nice but there won’t be one dominant team. Some people think that’s good – more teams have a chance! Some people hate it – everybody stinks! Fire Alford! Thirteen wins could take the conference. Twelve wins could earn you fifth. Nobody is really that good. But nobody is really that bad. But at least we have the Hawk (#LetTheHawkSoar?). It’s a weird one.


Without further ado:

Preseason Rankings

1. Arizona

Some of the other teams could screw around and win this Pac-12 title. Sean Miller doesn’t f*ck around and hasn’t lost a home game in two years.

2. Utah

I’m really high on this team to the point that I want to give some of my POY votes to Brandon Taylor and tell you Jakob Poeltl is the best player in the conference.

3. Oregon

Dana Altman has coached 65% of this team for 18-months. Think about it. He’s danced with teams he’s coached only on the ride to the gym. Buy. And I’m crazy bullish on Jordan Bell.

4. California

This is my ‘smartest guy in the move room’ move. Maybe I’m an idiot.


Like when you go on a date and then you’re asked about it and you say, “It was nice.”

6. Oregon State

Miiiiiiiight be too high.

7. Arizona State

Miiiiiiiight be too low.

8. USC

They’ll have to win more than three games to finish eighth. It’s year three!

9. Colorado

But Josh Scott is soooo good.

10. Stanford

Robert Cartwright’s broken arm is a bad break for the Cardinal, certainly no luck of the Irish, which is a College Football Playoff reference and the most relevant thing going for Stanford athletics. November 28th.

11. Washington

This team could finish 11th for two consecutive seasons and people are still going to be jacked about the direction of the program. #Recruiting

12. Washington State

So Josh Hawkinson is going to make a push for your All-Time favorite Cougar who put up really great numbers but never really amounted to much but was a helluva basketball player but the competition for this honor really isn’t deep as it’s just Josh Hawkinson’s future results and BROCK MOTUM.

All-Conference 1st Team

  1. Jakob Poeltl
  2. Jaylen Brown
  3. Bryce Alford
  4. Gary Payton II
  5. Josh Scott

All-Conference 2nd Team

  1. Ryan Anderson
  2. Brandon Taylor
  3. Andrew Andrews
  4. Ty Wallace
  5. Jordan Bell

Player of the Year:
Jakob Poeltl

It wasn’t an easy choice. Not that he was a hard choice but when I call this season a “weird one” it’s because there aren’t any clear cut anythings. I chose the big Austrian because he’s got plenty of talent around him, plenty of talent himself, and Brandon Taylor feeding him the rock.

Defensive POY:
Jordan Bell

Was my preseason favorite to win when I previewed Oregon and I’m sticking to it here.

Freshman of the Year:
Jaylen Brown

This seems to be about the only predictable choice amongst all of the awards. And could win POY, too.

Most Improved Player:
Brekkot Chapman

High on Utah. The stats back this up: 108 Ortg on 22% usage in just 38% of minutes. But this award also merits a BREAKOUT PLAYERS list:

  1. Kodi Justice, ASU
  2. Kyle Kuzma, Utah (and every other wing player on their roster including Dakari Tucker, Kenneth Ogbe, and Isaiah Wright)
  3. Casey Benson, Oregon
  4. Elijah Stewart, USC
  5. Jonah Bolden, UCLA

Coach of the Year:
Sean Miller

miller trophy

But if these predictions become reality, it probably goes to Larry Krystkowiak.

3 thoughts on “Pac-12 Preseason Stuff: Rankings, Superlatives, Awards

  1. Big fan of this site. If Oregon can get and stay healthy I might think they could be the biggest challenger to Arizona. Bell might not even be there best shot blocker now. Ultimately like you guys mentioned in the podcast Miller wins at home, is the best at winning on the road, has deepest team, and something you guys didn’t mention benefits from conference schedule. They only have to play Utah once and avoid what looks like the toughest road trip at the Oregon schools. Cal, Utah, and Oregon all play each other twice so they could beat up on each other. I think you right putting Cal 4th they have to play AZ, Utah, and Oregon twice.

    One more thing how do you not have Ryan Anderson on the 1st team? Have you heard everything Miller has said about him. He also dominated the Red Blue game as well as the Chico St game. He has to be top 3 in POY discussion too.

    1. The scheduling components is a very real factor. Great call out. Oregon’s win at Cal last year broke a SEVEN YEAR LOSING STREAK in the Bay Area. So now that they’ve tossed that demon I imagine anything is possible.

      Now let’s talk Ryan Anderson. Very funny you mention this. It seems that every year I pick against Arizona players winning the POY award. I wrote extensively why Nick Johnson wouldn’t win the award and felt strongly that no one on last year’s team could win it (I was incorrectly, correct because…yeah, TJ McConnell). I do, however, have RA on the first team slate which would absolutely put him in the POY conversation. He’ll be one of the better players in the conference.

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