Even though it’s early in the Pac-12 season it’s fair to say that Arizona is the favorite to win the conference and there are only four teams that truly matter.
Let’s see how the other three teams stack up against Arizona.
UCLA was the preseason favorite to win the conference. And with good reason. The Bruins returned everyone from a Final 4 team and the roster checks off almost every box from savvy point guard play in Tyger Campbell to a plethora of wings in Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez and Jules Bernard who are battle tested and can all get their own shot in tough situations.
The Bruins are also solid up front with Cody Riley, Myles Johnson and Peyton Watson.
And while UCLA is certainly more battle tested than Arizona, the Bruins lack length and athleticism, and to truly match up with Arizona a team generally needs to be tall and long.
Azuolas Tubelis and Christian Koloko up front are big problems for the Bruins and conversely Campbell against Kerr Kriisa is a big advantage for the Bruins.
But the Cats certainly own the larger margin for error factor
It’s hard not to say the Cats are a little bit better than the Bruins at this point.
The Oregon Ducks are the one team in the conference that matches Arizona from an athleticism, length and coaching perspective, but can you really trust Oregon at this point? The Ducks looked like one of the worst teams in the conference for much of the season, but Altman’s teams seem to do this every season and they have the length up front to counter Arizona and point guard Will Richardson is a tough draw for Kriisa.
Unlike Oregon, Arizona has a certified closer in Benn Mathurin and a chemistry among its players the Ducks just haven’t shown this season. At least until recently.
Right now Arizona is better than Oregon, but the Ducks are the one team in the conference that could match up evenly with Arizona at some point this season.
USC has the length that Arizona does but the Trojans are the most flawed team on this list for a variety of reasons, mainly, they haven’t beaten anyone, have dropped multiple conference games and outside of point guard Boogie Ellis and big man Isaiah Mobley there isn’t a player on the team that can consistently get their own shot.
The guess here is that USC continues to fade down the stretch.
Right now, the Cats are the clear favorite to win the conference.