With the season less than a month away, the Bruins’ list of believers remains long.
The Pac-12’s annual media poll was released Wednesday morning prior to Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day, with UCLA earning 32 of the 34 votes to win the conference . This is the first time the Bruins have been the media’s pick to win the Pac-12 since 2011-2012.
UCLA’s 404 points in the media poll placed them in first by a healthy margin, more than 30 points ahead of Oregon, which secured the two outstanding first-place votes after winning the regular season championship in each of the past two seasons. Crosstown rival USC is safely in third in this year’s poll.
Since the conference expanded to 12 teams, the preseason media poll has accurately selected the eventual winner five out of nine times. UCLA won the preseason poll and went on to win the conference title in both 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. They were incorrectly picked in 2008-2009 and 2011-2012.
The media also made their selections for the all-conference teams Wednesday, with plenty of Bruins getting some praise after leading their team to the Final Four back in March.
Guard Johnny Juzang and guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. were named to Preseason First Team All-Pac-12, as was guard Tyger Campbell. All three were starters for UCLA in the spring when they went from the First Four all the way to the Final Four, with Juzang averaging over 20 points per game and building significant national buzz a year after transferring from Kentucky.
Both Juzang and Jaquez were named to Andy Katz’s list of best players returning to college men’s basketball this season last month. Juzang took the No. 1 spot and Jaquez was No. 10, while no other Pac-12 player even made the top 25.
No Bruins made the Second Team and the only one who made the cut as an honorable mention was true freshman guard Peyton Watson. Still, even without big men Cody Riley or Myles Johnson getting attention, UCLA was the only team in the conference to place multiple student-athletes on the first team and the only one with three players on preseason all-conference teams.
The full media poll and preseason All-Pac-12 results are as follows: