2018 College Basketball – Pac-12 Preview
Looking for 2018 Pac-12 NCAA Basketball Futures Odds and some great betting lines to get down on? The regular season begins this week and we’re breaking down the major power conferences to get you ready.
Handicapping 2018 Pac-12 College Basketball Futures Odds
The National Power: Arizona
No Pac-10/Pac-12 team has won the National Championship since the Wildcats did in in 1997. Oregon got close last year and snapped the conference’s Final Four drought but the Ducks fell short against North Carolina in the semis.
This year’s Wildcats team has a shot as it stands here in early November. Lauri Markkanen plays for the Chicago Bulls now but Arizona should be able to replace his scoring and rebounding with DeAndre Ayton, who is one of the best incoming freshman in the country.
Ayton can do a little bit of everything at the power forward position and is an All-Conference First Team selection before he has seen the floor. Dusan Ristic should also put up bigger numbers in his senior year with Markkanen gone so Arizona appears set up front.
Sean Miller sure hopes he can keep Allonzo Trier on the floor this season. Trier was injured in his freshman season and missed the first half of last season after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. He is the Preseason Conference Player of the Year and is expected to lead the league in scoring as a sweet-shooting guard.
The Wildcats will rely on two other freshman in their short rotation with combo wing Brandon Randolph and shooting guard Emmanuel Akot. Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright is a senior, however, and will run the show with a whole bunch of talent around him.
The Dark Horse: Southern California
No pun intended here. USC will be back in the NCAA Tournament where it could do some real damage.
The Trojans return just about everybody from a team that made it out of the play-in game to the weekend of the Tournament last season. And when I say just about everybody, I mean 97 percent of the minutes played last year. That is the highest mark in the country so USC has significant experience from everybody who will play important minutes this season.
Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu are both junior power forwards who are projected to average around 15 points per game each this season. But as if the twin towers aren’t enough, the Trojans start two seniors in the backcourt who should get double-digits themselves. Elijah Stewart and Jordan McGlaughlin are both efficient scorers who can also make plays to set up the rest of USC’s offense, which should be one of the very best in the country.
Two Contenders: Oregon, UCLA
Like last season, the Pac-12 is projected to send four teams to the NCAAs but all four should be taken seriously.
Oregon will look a lot different this season with the departures of Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher. Elijah Brown and Paul White are both transfers and are projected to be two of the three highest scorers on the team. The other guy in the top three is a freshman. Combo guard Troy Brown is highly-ranked and should fill it up for a Dana Altman offense that has proven itself to be an elite program.
Three of UCLA’s top five scorers are expected to be freshman and none of them have the last name Ball. LiAngelo may see some rotational minutes as a three-point shooter but he isn’t expected to contribute much to a team that has aspirations to get back to the Sweet Sixteen after Lonzo’s departure.
Aaron Holliday and Thomas Welsh return as a nice outside/inside combination to go along with the talented freshman class coming in. Jaylen Hands will take over for Ball at the point guard position and can play with Holiday and without him. The Bruins have nice versatility and will be right there with USC and Oregon on the outside looking in at Arizona.
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