Thanks to Ryan for his weekly power polls during the football season. This will likely be our one and only Power Poll for the basketball season. As you read this, if you want to respond, please comment by picking the Pac-10 champ and where you think UCLA will finish. No penalties for being wrong, too pessimistic or optimistic,etc. but give a reasons for your predictions.
Without further ado:
1. Washington (5 out of 6 first place votes)
Former UCLA Assistant Lorenzo Romar is the only Pac-10 coach with a longer tenure than CBH and has won the Pac-10 tournament (2010) and the conference regular season (2009) the last two years. His deep loaded team has to be considered a favorite to do it again.
How good is Derrick Williams? Is he the Pac-10's best player? Is Arizona the one of the two historic basketball powers in the Pac-10 that will be back? There seems to be a lot of belief among the BN editors and contributors in Arizona.
3. Washington State
So according to BN's editors and contributors Wazzu is neck and neck with Arizona. If Williams is not the best player in the Pac-10, then it is likely Klay Thompson. Bad news for the Bruins as they open with the number one and number three teams.
4. Southern Cal
U$C has half the Pac-10 wins over ranked opponents. U$C has some talent and they play defense hard but it is still U$C. Who knows? They may have to throw the basketball team under the bus again when the football team gets in more trouble.
BN editors and contributors picked them from 2nd to 8th place. Let me be clear: we are all hoping for the best. While there is reason for optimism, there is also reasons to worry (see Montana and questions on consistency of effort). CBH must prove BN wrong and get to the tournament because 5th place in the Pac-10 has NIT written all over it.
6. Arizona State
How good a coach is Herb Sendek? According to their website: "Herb Sendek and his staff have won 14 Pac-10 road games the past three years are 14-3 in the past four seasons when they have five full days to prepare." Herb's team overachieved last year until the end when they got aced out of the tourney and choked in the NIT.
Last season, Mike Montgomery "led Cal to its first conference championship in 50 years and helped the Bears reach the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, advancing to the second round. . . . Overall, 27 of his 28 teams have posted winning records." It may be tough for Montgomery to continue the streak this year, with games such as Notre Dame earlier this year where Cal scored 5 points in a half.
While Stanford football fans undoubtedly wish this was another year when it comes to playing Oregon, Stanford's basketball team only saving grace may be the state of Oregon.
Money and facilities may have helped give them a great football team but a goofy home court with pictures of trees on it can't save this basketball team.
10. Oregon State
I was kind of shocked that someone did not pick them last. The only Pac-10 team with a losing record going into the Pac-10 including losses at home to Utah Valley and Texas Southern. Good news for Coach Robinson is his brother-in-law can probably get him a job if he gets fired this year.
The Pac-10 has helped its RPI lately. It may have a chance at more than two teams in the tourney but CBH needs to finish better than the predicted fifth and get UCLA to the tourney to get off the hot seat.
Fire away with your pre- Pac-10 regular season thoughts, predictions, and ranking.