Predicting the 2011-2012 Pac-12 Basketball Standings


This is Part II of my three part series predicting how the Washington Huskies basketball season will turn out. In this part, I am analyzing how the Pac-12 standings will shake out and will predict who will make the NCAA tournament, NIT, and who is staying home.

I took at look at every team in the Pac-12’s schedule and predicted a win or loss for every game. I came up with a conference record and an overall record. Given that the Pac-12 will have an unbalanced schedule for the first time (for instance Washington misses the trip to Berkeley and Palo Alto this year) there are a few peculiarities in how it might shake out. Anyways, here is how I predict it will go:

TeamConference RecordOverall Record
UCLA 12-622-8
Oregon State7-1116-14
Washington State6-1214-16
Arizona State6-1213-17
Utah 4-1412-18

Arizona is the most talented team in the Pac-12. Their incoming class is rediculously good and other than losing Derrick Williams, most of their talent is back from last year as well. Parrom is an important part of their defensive schemes, so it’ll be interesting to see when and how well he can come back from his gunshot wound. I could see another team overtaking them for the title this year, but I think it is Arizona’s to lose this year.

Washington is perhaps the biggest question mark of the entire league. How will they cope with losing three of their most important players? How will they cope with 6 incoming freshmen? Can Gaddy return from his injury better than before? Will Ross live up to the hype? When will Suggs be back? I am actually more optimistic about this year than most…but, it isn’t because I am a homer. I love this teams length, athleticism, outside shooting, depth at the point guard position. There will be ups and downs where this team is on fire and days it doesn’t come together. But, I definitely think they can challenge for the title.

UCLA is the most intriguing team in the Pac-12, if only due to their completely different lineup than its competitors. But, I think UCLA will have some trouble winning games in the Pac-12 this year. Despite their significant front-line advantage over most teams, the Pac-12 remains a guard-oriented league and I worry about UCLA’s ability to deal with the press and getting out on transition defense. If I am Lorenzo Romar, I am telling my team to run, run, run Josh Smith and company into the ground. If their guards can at least do a decent job of keeping teams from running the floor and if they do a good job of distributing the ball to the big men, UCLA might be significantly better than my initial prediction.

Dana Altman is a terrific coach and I think Oregon will continue their major improvement this year. They have Jabari Brown in the backcourt and a motley crew of transfers and young players who definitely have talent, but are unproven at this stage. If they can mesh well together, they might just be an NCAA bubble team come early March.

I still don’t get all the love for Cal. They have 4 solid players and a couple of guys off the bench, but they really have no depth. Mike Montgomery’s a great coach and I think Cal will be competitive, but the big four are all going to have to log 30+ minutes a game. What happens if there is an injury or foul trouble? If Bak Bak your answer up front? I wonder if Gutierrez will be able to stay out of foul trouble as their lock down defender when other teams will realize he is their main threat and will play accordingly. Will Allan Crabbe breakout for an NBA lottery-type season or plateau as a sophomore and reach the proverbial wall?

NCAA Tournament Teams

Ultimately, I see this as a 5-team race and all five have a chance to make the NCAA tournament, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see only four will in, given the issues with the NCAA tournament selection committee. On the other hand, Nike money can go a long ways.

  • Arizona: a 4-seed
  • UCLA a 5-seed
  • Washington a 7-seed
  • Cal an 8-seed
  • Oregon a 10-seed

NIT Teams

I think Stanford and Colorado may surprise some folks this year with their competitiveness. I think they will both have a few upsets of the top-5 along the way. In the end, they will finish in the middle of the pack and get invited to the NIT. I think Oregon State might have a slight chance to make the NIT as well, but only if they win their easy games in the non-conference schedule. They can’t lose those games like against TAMU Corpus Christi or by 51 against Seattle U. like they have recently.

The Cellar Dwellers

It’ll be a long season for USC (loss of talent and injury-ridden), Arizona State (cupboard is bare), Washington State (Reggie Moore and who else?), and Utah (Do they have enough players to field a team?).