USC Trojans (23-11, 12-6)
Gone are 2018 star players Jordan McLaughlin, and Chimezie Metu who both left for the NBA. High flying, break out candidate Kevin Porter Jr. will look to be a stand out performer for the Trojans who finished second in the PAC-12 a year ago. Sharp Shooting senior Bennie Boatwright and Duke transfer Derryck Thornton will be key contributors to a team that needs to find a new identity if they want to find themselves back in the NCAA tournament this season.
Arizona Wildcats (19-11, 11-7)
It might seem a little odd not seeing a number next to Arizona when it comes to the college basketball rankings. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they lost all five of their starters from a season ago to the NBA draft and graduation. This will force head coach Sean Miller to rely on some incoming transfers, Chase Jeter, Ryan Luther, and Justin Coleman to help ease into a new roster and season.
Brandon Williams is a five-star stud that could help the cause as well. He’s a potential freshman of the year candidate as well. Arizona may not be ranked to start the year but it would not surprise me if they crack the top-25 quickly once the season is underway.
#25 Washington Huskies (20-12, 10-8)
Second-year head coach Mike Hopkins looks to build off a 2018 season that found the Washington basketball team succeeding more than what most had predicted. The Huskies finished the regular season with a 20-12 record and made it to the second round of the NIT.
Returning from last year’s team is a great one-two punch, Noah Dickerson and Jaylen Nowell. Ace defender Matisse Thybulle will wreak havoc in the passing lanes and will contribute steals at a high rate (led all of NCAA last season in Steals per game).
The Huskies are young, but they have all of the tools to find themselves in the thick of PAC-12 Championship picture and potentially a ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.