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Pac-12 Basketball Season Preview: Arizona, UCLA to Vie for Title

Can Oregon Challenge Wildcats, Bruins for Pac-12 supremacy?

The Pac-12 lost quite a bit of talent with six players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft and some key contributors transferring elsewhere. Still, Arizona and UCLA are considered to be national title contenders, and perhaps Oregon will be viewed in the same way at some point this season.

According to the college basketball playoff odds, UCLA is priced at +450 to reach the Final Four followed by Arizona at +650 and Oregon at +1400.

Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats
Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats | Carmen mandato/getty images/afp

Let’s check the latest NCAAB picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAB predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAB expert picks for you to consider.

Arizona Wildcats

  • Conference Odds: +175
  • National Title Odds: +2200

With the departures of Bennedict Mathurin, one of the top rookies in the NBA this season, and top rebounder Christian Koloko, more will be expected from Azuolas Tubelis, Kerr Kriisa, and Pelle Larsson.

The Wildcats not only signed a top-10 recruiting class but added guards Courtney Ramey, Cedric Henderson Jr., and Matthew Lang from Texas, Campbell, and Gonzaga while forward Luke Champion comes in from Missouri Western State.

Henderson was a double-digit scorer during each of his three seasons at Campbell while Ramey averaged 10 points per game over his four seasons at Texas and is a proven 3-point shooter.

Arizona added size with its recruiting class with the additions of 6-foot-11 Dylan Anderson and Henri Veesaar and 6-foot-8 Filip Borovicanin. Guard Kylan Boswell is the highest-rated of the incoming freshmen.

Nine of Arizona’s last 12 games during 2021-22 finished over the college basketball odds total.

UCLA Bruins

  • Conference Odds: +175
  • National Title Odds: +1400

UCLA will have to replace leading scorer Johnny Juzang, who was one of four players available in the 2022 NBA draft, and third-leading scorer Jules Bernard is also embarking on a career in the pros.

The offense will be led by guards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell. Jaquez and Campbell finished first and second, respectively, on the Bruins in assists per game a season ago. Jazquez (+1400) is tied for seventh in the odds to win the national player of the year award according to the sportsbook.

Do not be surprised to see them improve their scoring averages of (13.9 ppg and 11.9 ppg) of a season ago.

Jaylen Clark and David Singleton are other guards who were part of the rotation during last season. Mac Etienne, a 6-foot-10 forward, averaged 11.3 minutes as a freshman during the 2020-21 season. Kenneth Nwuba is another forward to keep an eye on.

Freshman center Adem Bona and guard Amari Bailey figure to make immediate contributions.

Oregon Ducks

  • Conference Odds: +500
  • National Title Odds: +5000

Oregon will be led by guard Will Richardson, who averaged 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists a season ago, and forward Quincy Guerrier (10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds).

Guard Jacob Young passed on remaining at Oregon for one last season while guard De’Vion Harmon transferred to Texas Tech.

Franck Kepnang is now at Washington, Isaac Johnson transferred to Utah State and Eric Williams landed at San Diego.

The Ducks added four guards via the transfer route. Jermaine Couisnard averaged 12 points and 3.2 assists as a junior at South Carolina, while Keeshawn Barthelemy and Brennan Rigsby come in from Colorado and Northwest Florida State. Tyrone Williams is a transfer out of Grayson Community College.

Keep an eye on highly touted freshman Kel’el Ware, a 7-footer from Arkansas.

Something to consider for those who bet online: Oregon covered in just four of its last 13 games a season ago.

Southern California Trojans

  • Conference Odds: +700
  • National Title Odds: +6600

USC top scorer Isaiah Mobley is now with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers while Chevez Goodwin is also playing professionally.

The Trojans do bring back Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson after they combined for 28.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.

USC’s depth took a hit with Max Agbonkpolo (7.7 points, 3.5 rebounds) and Ethan Anderson (4.4 points and 2.2 assists) now at Wyoming while Boubacar Coulibaly transferred to Pepperdine.

The four-member recruiting class is headlined by center Vincent Iwuchuku and forward Kijani Wright.

Drew Peterson #13 and Evan Mobley #4 of the USC Trojans
Drew Peterson #13 and Evan Mobley #4 of the USC Trojans | Andy lyons/getty images/afp

Stanford Cardinal

  • Conference Odds: +1600
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Stanford returns Spencer Jones, who averaged a team-high 12 points. as well as Harrison Ingram (10.5 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds). However, Jaiden Delaire (San Diego), Noah Taitz (Loyola Marymount) and Lukas Kisunas (Denver) are among five players who transferred.

Freshmen Ryan Agarwal and Jaylen Thompson could contribute immediately in the frontcourt while Michael Jones joins the Cardinal after averaging 11.6 points and 3.6 rebounds at Davidson.

Colorado Buffaloes

  • Conference Odds: +2000
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Leading scorer Jabari Walker is now with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, Evan Battey graduated and Keeshawn Barthelemy is now at Oregon, leaving the Buffaloes without their only two double-figure scorers.

Tristan da Silva, KJ Simpson, Nique Clifford, Julian Hammond III and Luke O’Brien do return for the Buffaloes.

Arizona State Sun Devils

  • Conference Odds: +2500
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Arizona State spent plenty of time working the transfer portal. Frankie Collins comes in from Michigan, Devan Cambridge started 33 games over the last two seasons at Auburn while Desmond Cambridge Jr. (16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds per game) and Warren Washington (10.5 points, 6.6 rebounds) both transferred in from Nevada.

The Sun Devils do bring back leading scorer DJ Horne, who averaged 12.9 points. However three of the top four scorers have moved on. Kimani Lawrence and Marreon Jackson both graduated while Jay Heath is now at Georgetown.

Utah Utes

  • Conference Odds: +3300
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Ben Carlson and Marco Anthony are back after combining for 22.7 points and 13 rebounds a season ago. Rollie Worster, Lazar Stefanovic and Gabe Madsen were regular contributors last season.

David Jenkins transferred to Purdue while Both Gach is now pursuing a professional career.

Forward Gavin Baxter and guard Mike Saunders join the Utes from BYU and Cincinnati.

Washington State Cougars

  • Conference Odds: +3300
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Washington State knew it was going to have to replace leading scorer Michael Flowers. However, seeing Tyrell Roberts and Noah Williams leave for San Francisco and Washington really hurts. Center Efe Abogidi left to pursue a professional career, leaving junior guard TJ Bamba (7.7 points per game) as the top returning scorer. Forward Mouhamed Gueye and center Dishon Jackson are other top returning players.

Transfer Justin Powell averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists as a freshman at Auburn. His numbers fell during his lone season at Tennessee. Washington native Jabe Mullins transferred in from Saint Mary’s.

Andrej Jakimovski #23 of the Washington State Cougars
Andrej Jakimovski #23 of the Washington State Cougars | Ethan miller/getty images/afp

Washington Huskies

  • Conference Odds: +6600
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Replacing all-everything guard Terrell Brown, who averaged 21.7 points, will be no easy task. Fellow double-digit scorer Emmitt Brown opted to play his final season at West Virginia.

Jamal Bey is the top returning scorer as he averaged 9.4 points and PJ Fuller contributed 7.4 points per contest.

Keion Brooks, who started all 33 games as a junior at Kentucky and put up 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, could make an immediate impact. Center Franck Kepnang and guard Noah Williams have transferred in from Pac-12 rivals Oregon and Washington State.

Cal Bears

  • Conference Odds: +15000
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Cal was also hit hard by graduation with both double-digit scorers among the departures.

Jalen Celestine, Joel Brown, Lars Thiemann and Sam Alajiki were part of the rotation a season ago.

The well-traveled Devin Askew began his career at Kentucky, played last season at Texas and now he is at Cal. He had nine points and two rebounds in a loss to No. 1 Gonzaga in what was the highlight of his lone season at Texas. Dejuan Claxton transferred in from Hartford after spending the previous four seasons at Coppin State.

Oregon State Beavers

  • Conference Odds: +15000
  • National Title Odds: N/A

Oregon State lost its top five scorers off a team that finished 3-28 and 1-19 in conference play.

The Beavers added guards Christian Wright from Georgia and forward Dzmitry Ryuny.

Glenn Taylor is the top returning scorer after averaging 6.9 points as a freshman.

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