Defending champion Oregon named Pac-12 men's basketball favorite for first time
SAN FRANCISCO – For the first time in the 28-year history of the conference preseason poll, OREGON has been chosen the favorite to win the 2016-17 Pac-12 men's basketball title in a vote of 27 media members who cover the league.
The Ducks, who return four starters from last year's Pac-12 regular-season and tournament championship team, received 23 first-place votes and 320 points to sit atop the preseason poll. ARIZONA collected the remaining four first-place votes and 298 points as the predicted runner-up.
UCLA, which also returns four starters and adds three Top 100 freshmen including McDonald's AllAmericans Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, was picked to finish third. CALIFORNIA, anchored by All-American candidate Ivan Rabb, was chosen fourth. COLORADO, one of four Pac-12 teams set to return four starters, was narrowly edged by Cal and picked fifth. WASHINGTON and national freshman of the year candidate Markelle Fultz rounded out the top half of the preseason poll.
USC, UTAH, OREGON STATE, STANFORD, ARIZONA STATE and WASHINGTON STATE completed the predicted order of finish.
Media have correctly picked the Conference winner 14 times in 24 tries, while the winner has been accurately chosen in 16 of the 27 all-time preseason votes.
Coming off a historic 2015-16 season in which a league record seven teams earned NCAA Tournament bids and nine teams finished in the RPI Top 100, the Pac-12 enters the 2016-17 season with three teams (No. 5 OREGON, No. 11 ARIZONA, No. 20 UCLA) in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Top 25, as well as a total of eight teams receiving votes in the poll.
The 2016-17 season gets underway with 10 games on Friday, Nov. 11. Eight of those contests will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks as part of this year’s Full Court Friday, while ARIZONA will battle Michigan State in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii on ESPN at 4 p.m. PT, and STANFORD will meet Harvard in the 2016 Pac-12 China Game in Shanghai, China on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. PT.
Pac-12 regular-season play begins on Wednesday, Dec. 28 and culminates with the 2017 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by New York Life at brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., from March 8-11, 2017.
2016-17 PAC-12 MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
|Team (First Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Oregon (23)||320|
|2. Arizona (4)||298|
|9. Oregon State||122|
|11. Arizona State||78|
|12. Washington State||30|
PREVIOUS PAC-12 MEN'S BASKETBALL POLLS
|1999-00||Arizona||1st (tied)||Arizona /
|1989-90**||Arizona||1st (tied)||Arizona /
**The Pac-12 polls were decided in a vote among league coaches (1990-1992).