Oh ye of little faith. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has released his (extremely) early 2012-13 bracketology and the Colorado Buffaloes are nowhere to be found. Lunardi included 4 Pac-12 teams, exactly double the number that participated this year, and Colorado State in their first year with Larry Eustachy. Arizona, UCLA, Stanford and Cal were the conference teams that he predicted in the field of 64 and Kansas, Indiana, Louisville and Kentucky were his No. 1 seeds.
This obviously means absolutely nothing, but it's an interesting place to start our discussions of what the Pac-12 could look like next season. We'll have a complete breakdown of the 2012-13 Buffs this summer as well as a look at each conference team.
For the record, Jon Wilner had the Buffs taking the No. 2 spot in his early projections, but he's also still relatively down on the conference.
For now, let's take a look at what Lunardi's 4 participants will be working with next season.
Arizona Wildcats (5-seed) - The Wildcats bring in a nasty recruiting class, ranked No. 2 in the nation by both ESPN and Rivals, and will be the prohibitive favorite in the conference next year. The losses of Josiah Turner and, much more so, Kyle Fogg will hurt, but if Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson can mesh with the young guns this team could be a significant amount better than anyone else in the Pac-12. One thing's for sure, Arizona will not lack for height next season.
UCLA Bruins (6-seed) - Right behind Arizona in the "Mack Brown Offseason Recruiting Championships" are the UCLA Bruins. Ben Howland pulled off a major steal when he landed Las Vegas SG Shabazz Muhammad last week. Muhammed is the No. 1 player in the country according to Rivals and should make an immediate impact in Westwood. Fellow 5-star recruit Kyle Anderson and North Carolina transfer Larry Drew combined with Josh Smith means UCLA won't be lacking in talent, but it remains to be seen if Ben Howland can bring it all together.
Stanford Cardinal (10-seed) - NIT champion and pain in the Buffs a** Stanford returns a large part of the 2011 team outside of center Josh Owens. Leading scorer Chasson Randle will be one of the best guards in the league and Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis should make sure they are still strong up front.
California Golden Bears (12-seed) - Faux-Defensive Player of the Year Jorge Gutierrez and forward Harper Kamp are gone but Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs return to form a nasty combo. The loss of Jorge will be interesting because he seemed to be the leader on this team, but there is plenty of talent to improve on last season.
What are you thoughts on where the Buffs may finish?