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Pac 10 Conference Preview: NCAA Basketball Predictions

NCAA Season Preview: Pac Ten Conference Predictions For 2010

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The PAC 10 basketball season was without a doubt a catastrophe in 2009.

Just two schools notched an NCAA Tournament berth with Washington making it by winning the conference tournament and Cal as the regular season champion.

Duke eliminated the G-Bears in the second round, while the Huskies made it to the Sweet 16 before exiting with a loss to West Virginia.

The rest of the PAC 10 was merely going through the motions as UCLA and Arizona combined to finish three games below .500, while USC, was ineligible to participate in the conference tournament due to NCAA sanctions.

So what will this year be like?

Gone is Player of the Year Jerome Randle from Cal as well as Washington’s Quincy Pondexter. There are several notable freshmen coming in, but the division is still likely to struggle to find a solid representative for the big dance.

Arizona (+250) – The Wildcats returns eight of their top nine scorers from last season, including its leader in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona tops the conference with one of the most experienced teams in the division, even if only one of them is a senior. They definitely have something to build on beyond this season. Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

Oregon (+2500) – The Ducks are quite possibly the dark horse of the division. With the majority of its roster returning, Oregon should possess the experience to get the team to a .500 season in spite of losing its best scorer from a team that failed to make a postseason tournament last season. Rebounding will be a strength, but finding a legitimate scorer may be an issue by the time conference play come rolling around.

Washington (+250) – The Huskies returns all but one player from its 2009 Sweet 16 appearance squad, and possesses one of the best backcourts in the nation. The team is small, so rebounding could be their downfall against the big frontcourts of the Pac 10. Being the only team to really make any charge last season, they are still the division favorites. They should be able to make another deep run of they can compensate for the loss of Pondexter’s interior scoring.

Washington St. (+800) – Similarly to the Huskies, the Cougs return the vast majority of their squad from last season. The backcourt is Wazzou’s biggest strength, as well as experience with all five starters returning. They should now exactly what to expect in conference play. The Cougars do have a smaller than desired frontcourt, and could lack leadership with zero seniors on the roster. A 20-win season is likely.

THE PICK: This year’s PAC-10 will not be one of your strongest conferences. Too many of its best players were lost from a division that was already wading just ankle deep in the talent pool. However, they should be better than last year, but not by much. Half the teams have either one or no seniors on their roster. Washington is the favorite with runners up Arizona also being very capable of punching their ticket to the NCAA tourney. Wazzou and Oregon are at large with an NIT bid minimum.

Pick: Arizona +250

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Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. “ Football (soccer) is a game in which a handful of fit men run around for one and a half hours watched by millions of people who could really use the exercise.”

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