Breaking down Rothstein's Pac-12 power rankings

Chase Howell

College basketball aficionado and CBS Sports insider Jon Rothstein released his preseason Pac-12 power rankings on Tuesday. 

To read the full article click here. 

No, pre-season rankings don't actually matter. 

Yes, I still have some thoughts about them. 

1. UCLA

I think most people will be picking UCLA to win the Pac-12. In fact, it may even be unanimous. UCLA returns most of its roster from a team that just kept getting better and better throughout the season. 

Chris Smith is going through the draft process but it's expected he will return. 

This team should Chris Smith, Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez back and will add Kentucky transfer Jonny Juzang as well as some impressive recruits. 

Nobody's roster, on paper, looks better than UCLA. Mick Cronin is a really good coach and this is just the start of their reign. 

2. Stanford

This one caught my eye and might surprise some people as well. 

I completely agree with Rothstein here, IF Tyrell Terry returns. The problem is, Terry has been getting some high draft grades recently and I don't envision him returning at the moment. 

Without Terry, they still have the best frontcourt in the Pac-12 in Oscar da Silva and Ziaire Williams. But great college basketball teams come from the backcourt.  

3. Arizona State

This team also has a big if. And his name is Remy Martin. If Martin returns, this is one of the best teams in the Pac-12 and will compete for the title. 

Just like McKinley Wright, I expect him to return and ASU has too much talent not to be dominant next season. 

4. Oregon

I think this is where the Pac-12 becomes a lot less predictable. 

I just don't see it for Oregon next season. They have some good players and brought in some JUCO guys that can immediately contribute. 

I believe they relied on Pritchard to carry them through the stretch in a lot of their big games last season and I'm not sure they have a guy that could come in and fill that role. 

5. Arizona

The Wildcats are a complete wild card next season. A ton of roster turnover from a team that wasn't very good last season. 

Could they get back to the U of A of old? Maybe but I don't see it happening next season. 

6. USC

The Trojans filled their holes with some five-star recruits. This is another team that just wasn't that good last year and now they lose both players from one of the top frontcourts in the conference. 

This is a team I would not buy stock in. 

7. Colorado

Now the moment most people have been waiting for. 

This team has one major issue, how are they going to match up against teams with athletic bigs such as Stanford and USC?

Evan Battey is an underrated defender but now he won't have the safety blanket of help-side defense from Tyler Bey. Jeriah Horne is likely an upgrade offensively to Bey but a giant downgrade in terms of defensive ability. 

They will need Dallas Walton healthy and active to be able to compete for a Pac-12 title. 

If Wright does come back, there's a lot to like about this basketball team. 

You can't count out a team that has one of the best guards, if not the best guard, in the conference. 

8. Utah

No, just no. Their second-best player, Both Gach, decided to transfer out of nowhere. 

Timmy Allen is solid but he can't carry this whole team. Rylan Jones should have an improved sophomore year. 

9. Washington

Nine might be generous for a team that loses its top scorers and didn't bring much in to replace them. 

10. Washington State

This would be my No. 8 team and it may just be recency bias. In Vegas, I saw a team that had really good cohesiveness and plays strong defense. 

Their success will rely on whether or not C.J. Elleby returns. If he does, I expect this team to surprise lots of people. 

11. Cal

Another team that people are going to sleep in. They should be much improved from last season. 

They, most importantly, return Matt Bradley who could be a top scorer in the conference this year. 

They also brought in a couple of solid grad transfers. Look for this team to possibly surprise as well. 

12. Oregon State

The Tres Tinkle era is over and there is not much to look forward to in Corvalis. This one I agree with. 

Chase Howell's power rankings:

1. UCLA

2. Arizona State

3. Stanford

4. Colorado

5. Oregon

6. Arizona

7. USC

8. Washington State

9. Cal

10. Utah

11. Washington

12. Oregon State

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