There appears to be two main criteria for determining whether a conference is going to be Good or Bad. The last few years, the Pac-10 has been pretty bad based on the standards of the (mostly) East-Coast media. This year, it would stand to reason, will be no different.
The first criterion would be: how many players did you lose to the NBA draft? Or, you know, how many returning stars do you have?
The second criterion, for the record, is how well your conference does in their quality non-conference games. We won’t get into that here, obviously.
We WILL get into all the players leaving the mighty soon-to-be Pac-12! And we’ll start with the Huskies.
The reigning Pac-10 Tournament Champions for two straight seasons have lost a buttload. I would argue, the Dawgs lost their four most important players. Isaiah, obviously, tops that list as our best player last year. MBA, our best big man; Holiday, our best defensive stopper; and Overton, maybe our best defensive guard. A shitload of points needs to be recovered by the guys who stayed and the incoming Freshmen. A shitload of defense also needs to be played. Since I won’t know the dynamic of this team until we start playing some games later on this fall, I’m loathe to make a prediciton. But let’s just say I could see this team ending the regular season anywhere from 2nd place all the way to 8th place. We have the widest range of possibility among anyone in the Pac-12.
Throwing fuel on the fire, Washington State will likely be decimated this summer. They’ve already said goodbye to DeAngelo Casto – who’s leaving to go make that bank over in Europe – and now it looks like Klay Thompson is entering his name into the NBA draft discussion. He has until May 8th to make up his mind, and if he leaves – HOO BOY – will the Cougars SUCK next year!
It’s always fun to see the traditional powers take a hit. That’s happening this year with UCLA losing both Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee. Granted, looks like they still have Reeves Nelson (and I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to infuse their new talent to make themselves a winner), but I don’t care. I’m petty and small and UCLA can suck it.
USC is obviously the conference’s power football school, but they’ve made huge strides in the basketball side of things as well. That’s why it makes me feel oh so good to see Nikola Vucevic leaving early; that guy ALWAYS killed the Dawgs!
Of the utmost importance, however, is Arizona losing Derrick Williams. Newsflash: the Wild Cats don’t do jack squat in the Tournament without their best player. Yeah, some of his supporing cast was okay, but they’re going to be a totally different team next year, mark my words. Unless their incoming Freshmen are ballers of Kentucky-like quality, I don’t know if Arizona is going to do a whole lot next year.
Not helping the Pac-12’s cause in the eyes of the national media: the reasons for the conference’s name change, Utah and Colorado. The Buffaloes are piles of hairy crap, and the Utes are PROBABLY piles of hairy crap. No help there whatsoever.
It sickens me to say this, and I hope I’m 100% wrong, but I think of all the schools to make a big stride next year it’ll be Oregon. There’s a history of doing well in the CBI, then following that up with a quality run the following year. See: VCU. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Odds are good, though, that the Pac-12 will once again be stepped on and mushed into the mud of the NCAA by the East Coast media. Looks like it’ll be a tough fight for the top 3 spots in the standings.