The Lindy's College Basketball annual officially goes on sale Tuesday, but I think it is already available for purchase in some places. Either way, I have the rankings.
I have those because I do some copy editing for the magazine, although I don't have any say in the Top 25 other than yelling at the main editor, "I CAN'T BELIEVE (TEAM REDACTED) IS RATED THIS HIGH!"
But since veteran college basketball scribe Frank Burlison is in charge of the rankings, I defer to his better judgment.
Anyway, Arizona fans, Frank sees plenty of potential in Sean Miller's 2018-19 team.
Lindy's ranks the Wildcats 16th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 behind Oregon. Not bad for a program that had zero signed recruits in April.
Personally, I think No. 16 is a little strong for a team that loses all five starters, including the No. 1 pick in the draft in Deandre Ayton, and returns just 15.4 percent of its scorers.
But if a pair of grad transfers -- guard Justin Coleman and post Ryan Luther -- step in to blend with freshman guard Brandon Williams and ex-Duke center Chase Jeter ... well, there is enough of a sophomore foundation to think this team could be a Miller coach-'em-up special, with the kind of four-star talent he can develop without all the drama and NBA distractions of recent years.
It would be a huge plus if this squad just turns into Team Togetherness.
On the other hand, I hear Athlon magazine picks Arizona sixth in the Pac-12. Hmmm. We'll see. I think second will be closer to the truth.
As for some other Pac-12 rankings:
--Oregon is No. 13 nationally
--UCLA is No. 22
--USC is No. 26
--Utah is No. 27
--Washington is No. 36
My thoughts: Although the Bruins have more proven talent than Arizona, I'll take Miller over Steve Alford most of the days of the week. I'm keeping an eye out for Washington to make a move higher. Lindy's has Arizona State finishing eighth in the Pac-12. If that's true, the league is going to be pretty good.
The Pac-12's 2018-19 season won't have the elite NBA talent of recent years, but it should be a deep, close race behind the Ducks and one that should be fun to watch.
Get your copy at the newsstand oronline