Football power rankings are so fun, we as Sports Illustrated's Pac-12 Publishers decided to carry our opinions to the hardwood as well.
College basketball season is officially here, and the Pac-12 is again expected to field a handful of strong teams that could potentially go dancing deep into March.
The UCLA Bruins find themselves as overwhelming favorites to win the Pac-12, yet teams such as the Oregon Ducks also fancy their chances of getting the coveted automatic tournament bid.
In the mere hours prior to tipoff officially starting the new year, take a look at Sports Illustrated's first batch of Pac-12 power rankings:
Pac-12 Basketball Power Rankings
1. UCLA, 60 points (5 first-place votes)
2. Oregon, 55
3. USC, 50
4. Arizona, 37
5. Oregon State, 36
6 (Tie). Colorado, 34
6 (Tie). Washington State, 34
8. Arizona State, 31
9. Stanford, 20
10. Utah, 14
12. Cal, 6
How Publishers Voted:
DONNIE DRUIN, ALL SUN DEVILS
1. UCLA; 2. Oregon; 3. USC; 4. Oregon State; 5. Arizona; 6. Arizona State; 7. Colorado; 8. Washington State; 9. Utah; 10. Stanford; 11. Washington; 12. Cal
Comment: My preseason poll isn't exactly much different from Pac-12 media day. After losing three strong players in their back court, Arizona State looks to welcome new blood in a season where the program would love to reach the NCAA tournament again for the first time in a few seasons. Players to watch for ASU: Marcus Bagley, Marreon Jackson, Enoch Boakye.
JEFF FARAUDO, CAL SPORTS REPORT
1. UCLA; 2. Oregon; 3. USC; 4. Washington State; 5. Arizona State; 6. Oregon State; 7. Arizona; 8. Colorado; 9. Stanford; 10. Washington; 11. Utah; 12. Cal
Comment: UCLA is an easy preseason No. 1 in our rankings, coming off a Final Four season with pretty much everyone back. Oregon should be very good as usual. The jury is out on most of the teams in the middle of the pack. I believe Cal will be better, despite losing top scorer Matt Bradley to San Diego State. But after four consecutive losing seasons, the Bears are going to have to show me before I generate much confidence in them.
DYLAN REUBENKING, DUCKS DIGEST
1. UCLA; 2. Oregon; 3. USC; 4. Colorado; 5. Arizona; 6. Washington State; 7. Arizona State; 8. Oregon State; 9. Utah; 10. Stanford; 11. California; 12. Washington
Comment: UCLA was a miraculous buzzer-beater away from going to the National Championship Game, and Mick Cronin's team returns all of its star players. Despite losing key starters, Oregon, USC, and Colorado will still be forces in the conference. Don't sleep on Washington State or Arizona this season.
SAM CONNON, ALL BRUINS
1. UCLA; 2. Oregon; 3. USC; 4. Colorado; 5. Arizona; 6. Arizona State; 7. Oregon State; 8. Washington State; 9. Stanford; 10. Washington; 11. Utah; 12. Cal
Comment: The Bruins are far and away the favorites to win the Pac-12, and for good reason. UCLA is returning every player who played a minute in its NCAA tournament run, and added probably the best big man in the transfer portal and an athletic freak of a five-star freshman in Myles Johnson and Peyton Watson. They aren’t infallible, and the whole top half of the Pac-12 is formidable this year, but anything less than a regular season title would be a disappointment for Bruin fans.
DAN RALEY, HUSKY MAVEN
1. UCLA; 2. Oregon; 3. USC; 4. Oregon State; 5. Washington State; 6. Arizona; 7. Stanford; 8. Colorado ; 9. Washington; 10. Arizona State; 11. Utah; 12. California
Comment: Pac-12 football should take a lesson from its basketball brethren. It's relevant again after last year's tournament. Title game entry. Elite eight teams. Lots of individual talent. Bring it on.