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Re-examining the Pac-12 basketball teams that matter

Mike Luke Avatar
February 16, 2022

Let’s take a look at the basketball teams that matter in the Pac-12 Conference and how they’ve fared relative to preseason expectations.
UCLA: The Bruins were the obvious favorite to win the conference going into the season and while clearly not as good as Arizona, the Bruins have also dealt with a rash of injuries.
But the reason this team isn’t as good as it’s preseason national projections is simple.
The Bruins aren’t athletic and lack length. And that won’t change.
What they still possess is a roster filled with veteran playmakers who have given the business to some of the very best teams in the country.
The Bruins were overrated to begin the season but there isn’t a one seed in the country looking to play UCLA.

Oregon: The Ducks are the disappointment of the conference as they have far too much talent to have the record they do. No team should be able to sweep the LA schools and then turn around and get blown out by California at home.
The Ducks check off a lot of boxes: scoring, size, athleticism, but they never developed any form of chemistry. No defined roles and no identity.
Dana Altman is arguably the best coach of the post Olson-era in the conference. But this has not been one of his better coaching jobs.

USC: This is the Trojan team that validated that Andy Enfield can coach and USC is lucky to have him.
Critics blew off last year’s Elite 8 run as the product of a generational talent in Evan Mobley.
Well, USC is back hovering around the top 15, without Mobley, and just pulled off it’s win of the season against UCLA, without Evan’s all conference brother, Isaiah.
As always, this USC team has length, athleticism and can defend but struggles to score.
Enfield certainly isn’t Red Auerbach but he has this USC program to the point where it’s a team that every opponent has to take seriously.
It will be fascinating to see how this team performs come March.

UA: We’re saving the best for last here and there isn’t a grade that can possibly justify the job Tommy Lloyd has done this season.
Yes, he inherited a very talented roster, but he has pushed and developed these players in a manner we haven’t seen since the Olson days.
Every player has a role and the intimidation factor of Arizona Basketball is back.
No more messing around with inferior teams and winning 58-52. These games are now 89-62.
In short, Lloyd has taken a preseason unranked team and has it on the verge of a one seed.
Arizona Basketball is the biggest surprise in the country this year.

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