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The conference appears to be back to top form, and Cal will have a tough road to capture another conference championship.
Take your first looks around the Pac-12 men's basketball landscape. Which teams strike you as the toughest to face? What games on the conference schedule most concern you? What are your predictions for our conference standing?
Vlad Belo: Arizona will be tough, as they are the consensus favorite to win the league. Stanfurd will be tough to face because...well...we didn't beat them last year. And as long as Craig Robinson is coaching Oregon State, I will say they are tough for us to face because they just SEEM to give us fits, even when we beat them. That said, ALL the conference games concern me because that's the way I roll. There's never a conference game I'm not worried about.
I am going to keep my prediction for our conference standing to myself. Because I don't want to jinx it.
NorcalNick: On Friday, CGB writers will publish our pre-season poll with a quick look at the roster situation of each team. And after doing research for that, what struck me most was how deep the league should be this year. I think up to eight teams could potentially compete for a spot in the NCAA tournament, and barring injuries only four teams should be legitimately bad.
I support the consensus that Arizona is the pre-season favorite. But after the Wildcats? I think you could make a credible argument in favor of at least five teams for 2nd place. If Arizona underachieves a bit there won't be a single top-10 juggernaut, but the conference will be full of solid, 4-5-6 seed type teams.
I don't think anybody loses fewer than four games in conference this year. Road wins will be very, very tough to come by. For that reason, I'm glad that Cal doesn't have to make the Mountain road trip this year. Once we get closer to conference play and we have a better sense of how good each team is, we'll run a breakdown of who has the advantage with the Pac-12's unbalanced schedule, but I will note that the Bruins avoid the desert road trip this year.
Scott Chong: Arizona looks loaded and Colorado has been a tough out for years. Dana Altman at Oregon has shown that he knows how to re-load with a bunch of short-term mercs. That being said, I think we win the conference. In Monty we trust.
TwistNHook: Naturally, the toughest team to face will be Stanford at home with the Pac-12 on the line. It's almost tradition at this point!