I have to admit, I was going to write this article about Arizona State and how they will run away with the Pac 12, but after their loss to Princeton on Saturday, I’m stuck here. The Pac 12, to say the very least has not been the conference of champions. Oregon, the heavy preseason favorite lost star player Bol Bol early in the season, and sit at a disappointing 9-4 for a top 15 preseason team. UCLA, another favorite, is struggling to stay above 500. With a 12-13 game sample of every team, I have picked two teams as the favorites for the Pac 12, Arizona State and Washington.
Arizona State has been a very inconsistent team this season. On the bright side, they knocked off then #1 Kansas and a very good Mississippi State team, but they lost by double digits to Vanderbilt and lost to a bad Princeton team. They have the talent to beat just about every team in the conference, thanks to talented guard Luguentz Dort, forward Zylan Cheatham, and coach Bobby Hurley. The big question is, can they be consistent? Last year they struggled in conference play, but they are a better team this year and should finish one or two in the conference.
The other team, who have flown under many people’s radars, are the Washington Huskies. They only have an 8-4 record, but three of their losses have been to top 15 teams, and they only lost to Gonzaga and Auburn by 2. Led by Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson, Washington may surprise a lot of people and quietly win this conference. They may not be a team that can make a deep run in the tournament, but in this weak conference, that doesn’t need to be the case. Keep an eye out for this team.
With all this being said, it is still very possible Oregon or UCLA can win the Pac 12. If Oregon can get healthy, they’ve got a scary team, and the same goes for UCLA. While the Pac 12 may not have the highest quality teams, the race for the Pac 12 champion may be exciting to watch.
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State