If the preseason rankings are any indication of what the future holds, it’s going to be a great season for the Oregon basketball programs.
One day after the women were named the preseason conference favorites, the men were bestowed the same honor after receiving 288 total votes (16 first-place votes).
UCLA was picked to finish second, finishing with 264 votes (six first-place votes), while Washington came in third with 249 votes (two first-place votes). Racked with scandal, Arizona was picked to finish fourth, amassing 205 votes and the final first-place vote. USC rounded out the top-five with 203 votes.
This is the first time in conference history where one school has been chosen as the preseason favorites for both the men’s and women’s programs.
Two years ago was the only time the Ducks were picked to finished first in the Pac-12. However, Oregon didn’t win the conference that season, instead sharing the regular season title with Arizona. The Ducks went on to win the conference tournament en route to the Final Four.
The Pac-12 race is considered wide open.
Both Oregon and UCLA return a few starters but have highly-ranked recruiting classes coming in. Washington and USC return the bulk of their respective teams while Arizona is always well-coached and near the top at the end of conference play.
The Ducks return two starters from last year’s squad in point guard Payton Pritchard (the team’s leading scorer) and forward Paul White. But, thanks to the nation’s No. 3 ranked recruiting class, incoming five-star prospects Bol Bol and Louis King should provide immediate help and depth.
A lot of Oregon’s future success is going to depend on the health of King. He’s recovering from a knee injury during his senior season of high school and there is whisperings that he may not see the court until December when Pac-12 play begins.
Miles Norris, Will Richardson and Francis Okoro round out the recruiting class while returners Kenny Wooten, Victor Bailey Jr. and Abu Kigab are all expected to contribute.
Pac-12 Conference Preseason Standings
1) Oregon — 288 total votes (16 first-place votes)
2) UCLA — 264 (6)
3) Washington — 249 (2)
4) Arizona — 205 (1)
5) USC — 203
6) Arizona State — 165
7) Colorado — 161
8) Utah — 122
9) Stanford — 109
10) Oregon State — 102
11) California — 45
12) Washington State — 37