For the second straight season, Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic has organized a Pac-12 writers roundtable where we address questions related to the conference.
Participating this season, besides myself and Haller, are Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times and Bob Clark of the Eugene Register-Guard.
Here’s our first roundtable of the 2011-12 season:
– True or false: The Pac-12 is destined for a disappointing season after losing so much talent to the NBA.
Allen: “False. I think 2010, when the Pac-10 sent two teams to the NCAA
Tournament, was an aberration and won’t occur again any time soon. Last season
four conference teams made the 68-team tournament. I predict five will receive
invitations in March, although four is a safer bet.”
Bolch: “True. It’s another hodgepodge of mediocrity, with no team poised to earn
the national spotlight for a third consecutive season. Even the conference
favorites have severe flaws that likely will be exposed during the NCAA
Tournament. UCLA and coach Ben Howland have shaky wing players. Cal has a nice starting five but questionable depth. Arizona? Two words: Seattle Pacific.”
Clark: “I’m saying false, on the basis that not much is expected, so with the
bar set low, there’s a chance for the league to exceed expectations.”
Faraudo: “False. I think the league has lots of intrigue this season, partly
because traditional powers UCLA, Arizona and Washington saw players defect to
the pros. Cal has great experience, Oregon is coming on and there is plenty of
young talent. I predict a great conference race, where no team avoids losing at
least two or three times.”
Haller: “False. There may not be a Final Four contender among the bunch, but
1-through-8 this conference should be pretty competitive. Outside of the big
four, Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State are poised to make an upper-division
push, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin O’Neill finds a way to keep USC
relevant, even without injured point guard Jio Fontan.”