Oregon has a good enough team to go all the way to the National Championship. They are loaded! UCLA, USC, Arizona State, and Washington also have good enough teams to push deep into the tournament.

For the first time in many years we may see Arizona struggle a little. However, there aren’t soft teams in the PAC-12. Every team should come ready to play each night because anything could happen.

With that said here is how we predict the PAC 12 playing out for 2018-2019:

1. Oregon Basketball

Coach: Dana Altman

Off Roster:
Graduated: Elijah Brown, Evan Gross, MiKyle McIntosh, and Roman Sorkin
Transferred: Keith Smith (Pepperdine)
Possibly Turned PRO: Troy Brown Jr.

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Payton Pritchard (PG), Paul White (PF), Kenny Wooten (PF), Victor Bailey Jr. (PG), and Abu Kigab (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Ehab Amin (PG, Texas A&M CC) and Christopher 'Chris' Duarte (PG, Northwest Florida State)
Key Freshmen Added:  Louis King (SF), Bol Bol (C), Miles Norris (PF), Will Richardson (SG), and Francis Okoro (PF)

Oregon is loaded! Returning will be Payton Pritchard, Paul White, Victor Bailey Jr., and Kenny Wooten. According to 247sports.com Oregon also had the 3rd best recruiting class in the nation and 1st in the PAC 12 in 2018. We will get to see these freshmen in action come 2018-2019.

Oregon has so many options in the Front and Back Court. With their size and speed this team should be very balanced offensively and defensively.  Oregon has plenty of big point guards who can score, rebound, play defense, and facilitate the ball.

Transfer guards Ehab Amin and Chris' Duarte are guards who can play all three (3) positions and are very good defenders. Amin averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in his final season at Texas CC. He also had 124 steals that season. JUCO transfer Duarte averaged 12.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in his final season at Northwest Florida State Community College. He also ranked 31st nationally in steals that season. If Oregon’s opponent happens to make it past the backcourt successfully they will still have to worry about their front court, which will be led by the 2018 top recruit, Bol Bol.

Expect Oregon to go deep into the NCAA Tournament

2017-2018 Record: 23-13 (10-8) NIT 2nd Round Exit
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Finish or greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  15+

2. UCLA Basketball

Coach: Steve Alford

Off Roster:
Graduate: Thomas Welsh, Gyorgy Goloman, Ikenna Okwarabizie, and Alec Wulff
Possibly Turned PRO: Aaron Holiday

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Kris Wilkes (SG), Jaylen Hands (PG), Prince Ali (SG), Chris Smith (SG), and Alex Olesinski (SF)
Key Freshmen Added: Cody Riley (RS, PF), Moses Brown (C), David Singleton (SG), and Kenneth Nwuba (C), Jalen Hill(RS, C), Tyger Campbell (PG), and Jules Bernard (SF)

A typical Steve Alford team is great offensively and not so good defensively. However, this may not be the typical Steve Alford team due to the fact that this 2018-2019 team will have big man Moses Brown, filling up the center. He is quick on his feet and is an excellent rim protector. If UCLA finds a way to hold an opponent to less than 70 points, this team could be on its way to the final four in 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 21-12 (11-7) NCAA Tournament 1st Round Exit
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish or Greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  14+

3. USC Basketball

Coach: Andy Enfield

Off Roster:
Graduate: Kurt Karis, Jordan McLaughlin, and Elijah Stewart
Possibly Turned PRO: Chimezie Metu

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Bennie Boatwright (PF), Jonah Mathews (SG), Nick Rakocevic (PF), Derryck Thornton (PG), Jordan Usher (SF), Shaqquan Aaron (SG), Victor Uyaelunmo (C ), Charles O'Bannon Jr. (SG)
Key Freshmen Added: Kevin Porter (SG), Elijah Weaver (PG), and J'Raan Brooks (PF)

USC has three starters returning in Bennie Boatwright, Jonah Mathew, and Nick Rakocevic. With Boatwright and Rakocevic returning the front court should be pretty solid.

Kevin Porter is a beast! He is fast, strong, in control, and can shoot from long distance. The question for this team is who is going to make up for Jordan McLaughlin’s 7.8 assists per game? Will it be Derryck Thornton, who is more of a scoring point guard than a facilitator? Or will it be the freshman Elijah Weaver, who is quick, can facilitate the ball, and can score?

Expect scoring to be high with this team and look forward to USC going to the NCAA Tournament in 2018-2019.

2017-2018 Record: 24-12 (12-6) NIT 2nd Round Exit

Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish or greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  12+

4. Arizona State Basketball

Coach: Bobby Hurley

Off Roster:
Graduate: Shannon Evans II, Tra Holder, Kodi Justice, and Austin Witherill

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Romello White (PF), Vitaliy Shibel (PF), Remy Martin (PG), Mickey Mitchell (SF), De'Quon Lake (C), and Kimani Lawrence (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Rob Edwards (SG, Cleveland State) and Alonzo Verge, Jr. (SG, Moberly Area)
Key Freshmen Added: Taeshon Cherry (SF), Luguentz Dort (PG), Elias Valtonen (SG), and Uros Plasvic (C)

Arizona State has several key players returning from their successful 2017-2018 season, which includes Remy Martin, Romello White, Vitaliy Shibel, and Mickey Mitchell. Expect Arizona to remain a high scoring team with the addition of JUCO All-American Alonzo Verge, Jr. and division 1 transfer Rob Edwards. Verge averaged 20.8 points per game and was ranked 18th nationally in scoring in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) in his final season at Moberly Area Community College. Edwards average 16.5 points per game in his final season at Cleveland State.

Keep in mind that Arizona State also has four (4) top 50 freshmen on the roster. This team should be real good next season.

2017-2018 Record: 29-8 (13-5) NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Finish
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish or greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  12+

5. Washington Basketball

Coach: Mike Hopkins

Off Roster:
Graduate: Greg Bowman and Dan Kingma

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: David Crisp (PG), Jaylen Nowell (SG), Noah Dickerson (C ), Matisse Thybulle (SF), Sam Timmins (C ), Nahziah Carter (SF), Hameir Wright (SF), and Dominic Green (SF)
Key Freshmen Added: Bryan Penn-Johnson (C), Jamal Bey (SF), Nate Roberts, Elijah Hardy, and Nate Pryor

Washington has all five (5) starters returning from their 2017-2018 team. The question is, has this team gotten any better at the positions where they were weak.

Washington had problems rebounding and movement the ball. They were ranked near last in the PAC 12 in assists per game and 11th in the PAC 12 in rebounds per game. Rebounding may improve with the additions of two (2) top 100 big men, Bryan Penn-Johnson (C) and Jamal Bey (SF). Hopefully we will see better ball movement out of  this team in 2018-2019.

2017-2018 Record: 21-13 (10-8) NIT 2nd Round Exit
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit or Greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  10+

6. Utah Basketball

Coach: Larry Krystkowiak

Off Roster:
Graduate: Gabe Bealer, Justin Bibbins, David Collette, and Tyler Rawson
Transferred: Kolbe Caldwell (Southern Indiana) and Chris Seeley (Fresno State)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Sedrick Barefield (PG), Donnie Tillman (SF), Parker Van Dyke (SG), Jayce Johnson (C), and Christian Popoola (PG)
Key Transfer(s):  Novak Topalovic (C, Idaho State) and Charles Jones, Jr. (SG, Southern Idaho)
Key Freshmen Added: Timmy Allen (SF), Both Gach (SG), Riley Battin (C), Naseem Gaskin (SG), Vante Hendrix (RS), and Lahat Thioune (C)

Utah will start the season without Gabe Bealer, Justin Bibbins, David Collette, and Tyler Rawson, who have all graduated after the 2017-2018 season. That’s over 44 points per game gone. However, Utah fans need not panic. This team has added a few quality transfers and freshman who are capable of lighting the basket up every night.

JUCO transfer, Charles Jones, Jr., was one of the highest scoring JUCO players in the nation in 2017-2018. He averaged 19.7 points per game in his final season at Southern Idaho Community College. He will be joined by D1 transfer Novak Topalovic, who averaged 10.7 points per game in his final season at Idaho State. That’s nearly 69% of the points added back on with just the two (2) of them alone.

We already know that Sedrick Barefield, the only starter returning from 2017-2018, is capable of putting up double digits in points every night. Forward Donnie Tillman, who started in just four (4) games last season should see increased minutes. And let’s not forget that Utah has also added two (2) top 100 freshmen to their roster to help with their pursuit to the NCAA Tournament.

Utah loss in the NIT championship game in 2018. Expect this team to reach the NCAA Tournament in 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 23-12 (11-7) NIT Championship Finish
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit or Greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  12+

7. Stanford Basketball

Coach: Jerod Haase

Off Roster:
Graduate: Michael Humphrey, Dorian Pickens, and Reid Travis
Transferred: Robert Cartwright (UC Irvine)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Daejon Davis (SG), Kezie Okpala (SF), Oscar da Silva (SF), Josh Sharma (C ), Isaac White (PG), Marcus Sheffield (RS, SF), Kodye Pugh(RS, SF), and Trevor Stanback
Key Freshmen Added: Bryce Wills (PG), Cormac Ryan (PG) Lukas Kisunas (C), Jaiden Delaire (SF), and Keenan Fitzmorris (PF)

Stanford has enough quality players returning to improve on their successful 2017-2018 season, which includes two (2) out of five (5) of their top point producers, Daejon Davis and Kezie Okpala. Players like Oscar da Silva and Josh Sharma should see quality minutes and should contribute greatly to the team.

Forward Marcus Sheffield should be 100% and ready to contribute to the team. Prior to his injury in 2016-2017 he averaged 6.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. With increased minutes Sheffield should contribute greatly to the team.

Stanford has also added three top 100 freshmen to help with their quest to get to the NCAA Tournament.

2017-2018 Record: 19-16 (11-7) NIT Second Round Exit
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or less
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  10-

8. Colorado Basketball

Coach: Tad Boyle

Off Roster:
Graduate: Dominique Collier, George King, Tory Miller-Stewart, and Josh Repine
Possibly Turned PRO: Lazar Nikolic

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: McKinley Wright IV (PG), Namon Wright (SG), Tyler Bey (SF), Dallas Walton (PF), D'Shawn Schwartz (SF), Lucas Siewert (PF), Deleon Brown (SG), and Alexander Strating (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Shane Gatling (SG, Indian Hills)
Key Freshmen Added: Evan Battey(RS, PF), Elijah Parquet (SG) and Daylen Kountz

Colorado will return four (4) starters from the 2017-2018 season. Scoring should improve greatly with the addition of JUCO transfer Shane Gatling, who averaged 16.6 points per game last season in his final season at Indian Hills Community College.

If Colorado could only find a way to improve defensively this team could possibly make it to one of the major tournaments in 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 17-15 (8-10) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or less
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  10-

9. Arizona Basketball

Coach: Sean Miller

Off Roster:
Graduate: Talbott Denny, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Keanu Pinder, and Dusan Ristic
Possibly Turned PRO: Deandre Ayton, Allonzo Trier, and Rawle Alkins

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Dylan Smith (SG), Ira Lee (PF), Alex Barcello (PG), Emmanuel Akot (SF), and Brandon Randolph (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Justin Coleman (PG, Samford), Ryan Luther (SF, Pitts), Chase Jeter (PF, Duke),
Key Freshmen Added: Brandon Williams (SG), Devonaire Doutrive (PG), and Omar Thielemans (SF)

For the first time in a long time Arizona’s team will consist of several returning bench players and a ton of new comers. I think it is safe to say that Arizona’s reign at the top of the Pac-12 will definitely be challenged in 2018-2019. However, the fall may not be as bad as people think. Arizona has added two (2) graduate transfers, Justin Coleman of Samford) and Ryan Luther of Pitts. Both players are capable of averaging double digits in scoring- and they also have two (2) top 100 freshmen to count on.

2017-2018 Record: 27-8 (14-4) NCAA Tournament 1st round exit
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or less
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  10-

10. Washington State Basketball

Coach: Ernie Kent

Off Roster:
Graduate: Drick Bernstine and Steven Shpreyregin
Transferred: Malachi Flynn (San Diego State)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Viont'e Daniels (PG), Robert Franks (SF), Carter Skaggs (SG), Arinze Chidom (PF), Jeff Pollard (PF), and Davante Cooper (C)
Key Transfer(s): Daron Henson (PF, Utah State), Ahmed Ali (PG, Eastern Florida State) , Jervae Robinson (SG, Otero), Marvin Cannon (SF, Barton), Isaiah Wade (PF, Iowa Western), and Ryan Murphy (PG, New Mexico Junior College)
Key Freshmen Added: C.J. Elleby (SF) and Aljaž Kunc (SF)

Washington will depend heavily on transfers to be competitive in the PAC 12. Ranked at 300, Washington State had one the worst defenses in the nation last season. This team allowed their opponents to score on average 77.8 points per game. Washington State only scored, on average, 73.2 points per game giving them a -4.5 scoring margin for the year.

Rebounding was also a huge problem.

Washington State will look to solve these problems with the additions of Marvin Cannon, Isaiah Wade, and Ahmed Ali, who are all good defenders and who can rebound well.

Washington State should do much better this season than the last.

2017-2018 Record: 12-19 (4-14) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or Less
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  7+

11. California Basketball

Coach: Wyking Jones

Off Roster:
Graduate: Nick Hamilton, Derek King, Kingsley Okoroh, Cole Welle, and Marcus Lee
Transferred: Don Coleman (South Alabama), Deschon Winston,

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Darius McNeill (PG), Justice Sueing (SF), Juhwan Harris-Dyson (SG), Roman Davis (SF), and Grant Anticevich (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Paris Austin (PG, Boise State)
Key Freshmen Added: Matt Bradley (SG), Jacobi Gordon (PF), Connor Vanover (C), and Andre Kelly (PF)

California will get back two (2) of their top three (3) point producers, Darius McNeill and Justice Sueing.
However, even with the two (2) returning we must keep in mind that California was one of the worst scoring teams in the nation last season.

However, Scoring should increase for this team in 2018-2019 with the additions of shooting guard Matt Bradley and division 1 transfer Paris Austin. Bradley has a big body and is not shy to let the ball go. Prior to leaving Boise State, Austin was one of the top point producers, averaging 12.3 points per game in his final season.

This team is going to have to do a lot of improving in all categories in order to compete for the top pf the PAC 12.

2017-2018 Record: 8-24 (2-16) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  5+

12. Oregon State Basketball

Coach: Wayne Tinkle

Off Roster:
Graduate: Seth Berger and Ronnie Stacy
Possibly Turned PRO: Drew Eubanks
Transferred: Jaquori McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara), Kendal Manuel (Montana)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Stephen Thompson Jr. (SG), Tres Tinkle (SF), Ethan Thompson (SG), Alfred Hollins (SF), Zach Reichle (SF), and Gligorije Rakocevic (C)
Key Transfer(s): Kylor Kelley (C, Lane Community College)
Key Freshmen Added: Jordan Campbell (PG), Warren Washington (PF), Jack Wilson (C) and Antoine Vernon (PG)

Oregon State will return several players from their 2017-2018 season, which includes three (3) starters, Stephen Thompson Jr., Tres Tinkle, and Ethan Thompson. Even with the three returning, Oregon State ranked 10th in the PAC 12 in scoring last season and there is no evidence that they’ve added new talent designed to address this problem. However, defense should improve slightly with the addition of big man Kylor Kelley, who can protect the rim.

2017-2018 Record: 16-16 (7-11) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions:  No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  5-

 

 

Jack Williams
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PAC 12 College Basketball Predictions 2018-19

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Jack Williams is the Owner and Operator of D1Coachcorner.com, a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and a member of the USBWA. Twitter: @d1coachcorner

October 11, 2018 2:00pm
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