Basketball season is nearly upon us as we hit a big milestone in the form of the annual Pac-12 preseason poll. As is a yearly tradition, the Colorado Buffaloes men’s team seems underrated as they come in at 9th in the conference.
Here’s the full poll:
1. Arizona Wildcats (22)
We shouldn’t be surprised that Arizona is there because they’re returning most of their contributors from a year ago, including Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins. They’re also adding a ridiculous recruiting class led by super-prospect DeAndre Ayton.
2. USC Trojans (1)
USC this high isn’t that surprising either, considering they were pretty good last year and just about everyone is coming back for them, most notably Jordan McLaughlin and Bennie Boatright. Hopefully Trojans fans will ride high before the program (presumably) comes crashing down.
3. UCLA Bruins
The Bruins lost Lonzo Ball, but they should be plenty good with Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsch leading their talent squad.
4. Oregon Ducks
Tyler Dorsey, Jordan Bell, Dillon Brooks left for the draft and Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis are gone, but I guess Oregon should be good because they’re usually good?
This may finally be the year Stanford puts together a promising season with the well-rounded roster that has never really clicked or stayed healthy. They’re relying heavily on senior Reid Travis.
Is Tra Holder still here? I think so, so they should they be OK — maybe not 6th best in the conference, but I guess they’re fine.
(UPDATE: I looked up the roster and it’s not bad. Carlton Bragg is here from Kansas, Zylan Cheatham and Romelo White are really good.)
7. Utah Utes
I honestly can’t name a single Utah player off the top of my head. Maybe it’s because I’ve been focused on football coverage, maybe it’s because I had an awful flu last time CU played Utah in basketball, whatever — but I really have no idea how good they will be this year. Good thing Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl are doing well in Toronto, and that Kyle Kuzma is becoming a Lakers folk hero.
(UPDATE: I looked up the roster and the only name I recognize is Sedrick Barefield. Huh. But they do have a player named Jakub Jokl that we should probably worry about.)
The Beavers are underrated! They went 1-18 in the Pac-12 last year because of awful injury luck, inexperience, bad basketball, etc., but they’re going to much improved in 2017-18. Drew Eubanks, Stephen Thompson, Jr., and Tres Tinkle are one of the best big threes in the Pac-12, and if Top 50 prospect Ethan Thompson breaks out, the Beavers could make some noise.
9. Colorado Buffaloes
The Buffs lost four starters to graduation, including our savior Derrick White. They’re replacing those senior minutes with promising freshmen, and though the Tadpoles will be entertaining to watch, they may struggle some as they develop.
Yikes. In a span of a week, the Huskies finished 11th in the Pac-12 despite having Markelle Fultz, firing coach Lorenzo Romar, and then lost No. 1 prospect Michael Porter, Jr. as a result of them losing Romar. The Washington program is in tumult and they have virtually no hope this year.
Everything that happened to Washington also happened to Cal, but to a lesser extent. They were decent last year, but they lost in the first round of the NIT, then lost most of their good players to graduation, then coach Cuonzo Martin left for Missouri. Now they’re just stuck here not knowing how to move forward.
Malachi Flynn seems good, but they lost school legend Josh Hawkinson and Colorado killers Ike Iroegbu and Conor Clifford.
Don’t go just yet!
The Colorado women’s team was really fun last year, and though they struggled in Pac-12 play and are 10th in their own preseason poll, they’re looking promising. Coach JR Payne has infectious enthusiasm and she’s building what looks like will be a sustainable program. All the best luck to her and her team. Hopefully we’ll be able to cover that team more over this upcoming season.