Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Season Preview (2020-21)
Of all the Power Five conferences in college basketball, the Pac-12 is the most wide-open heading into 2020-21. 10 players from seven different schools were drafted and a bunch of talented freshmen have arrived.
This leaves the door ajar for a number of programs to step through and claim the throne.
Let’s begin this Pac-12 basketball preview by checking in with the tournament odds.
Pac-12 Basketball Tournament Odds
Three teams bunched at the top and another three not too far behind.
The Bruins have garnered lots of respect and currently sits as the favorite. Perhaps the most value lurks with the Ducks at +425, but the Sun Devils are loaded with competent guards.
No matter which of the top college basketball betting sites you check, these are the three programs that will head the Pac-12 basketball odds. Let’s take a closer look at each of these schools.
The Top Three Contenders in the Pac-12
Had Tyrell Terry not bolted for the NBA after a sensational freshman campaign, Stanford would have earned a spot in the top three. Instead, the Cardinal barely miss out.
Mick Cronin was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in his first season in Westwood, proving that canning Steve Alford was indeed the right move. The Bruins bring back all five of their starters and welcome home Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang.
The 6’6” shooting guard is a product of Harvard-Westlake, a private preparatory school located just one mile from UCLA’s main campus.
Arizona State Sun Devils
I tabbed ASU as my Pac-12 pick when I made my initial college basketball conference tournament predictions. I’m sticking with Billy Hurley’s squad, although it’s not solely due to the superb play of Remy Martin.
On top of returning the consensus preseason Pac-12 Player of the Year, the Sun Devils signed the #3 SG in the 2020 Class (Joshua Christopher). Throw in Alonzo Verge Jr. deciding to come back for his last year of eligibility and we’re looking at one of the best backcourts in the country.
It’s impossible to replace the leadership that Payton Pritchard provided, but the Ducks took no shortcuts on their way to replenishing their roster. Four major transfers were brought to Eugene, but the “main” one is still waiting on clearance from the NCAA.
Should the former St. Johns swingman get approval, look for Dana Altman to unleash Figueroa in a big, big way.
A Pac-12 Sleeper Team
Not every Pac-12 season preview will recognize the USC Trojans as a sincere threat in the conference. After all, Andy Enfield’s top-five scorers have moved on and depth could be an issue.
Plus, how do you restore a frontcourt that waved goodbye to Onyeka Okongwu?
Easy, you ink the #3 rank recruit in the country and a guy who’s in the top-3 of every NBA mock draft for 2021.
Evan Mobley links back up with his older brother, Isaiah, who looks to play a bigger role after logging just 20.3 minutes/gamed as a freshman. A couple of key transfers are locked and loaded (Noah Baumann, Isaiah White) to boost Southern Cal’s starting five, and PG Ethan Anderson is ready to make a leap as a sophomore.
Given the upside attached to USC’s +1000 odds to win the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament, I’m willing to commit an investment in the Trojans.
Meet the Best Players in the Pac-12
This portion of a Pac-12 basketball season preview focuses on the best players in the conference. Not the “really good ones,” just the cream of the crop.
Remy Martin – Arizona State
He’s just 6’ and 175 pounds, but Remy Martin is a flashy and ultra-productive combo guard who rarely comes off the floor for the Sun Devils. The Chatsworth, CA native dropped 19.1 ppg as a junior and has averaged at least 1.1 steals/game in each of his three years at ASU.
Evan Mobley – USC
The Evan Mobley highlights featured above give you a taste of what fans in La La Land can expect from their 7’0” freshman. Not only is Evan a bonafide rim protector like the departed Onyeka Okongwu, but Mobley’s more polished on the other end of the floor.
Okongwu was drafted 6th overall, so that gives you an idea of Mobley’s potential.
Ziaire Williams – Stanford
If there’s another freshman in the Pac-12 you should start keeping tabs on, it’s Stanford’s Ziaire Williams. This 6’7” wing was rated as the #2 small forward and #6 overall prospect by 247sports.
To give you an idea of just how hellbent the Cardinal were at luring in Williams, how about getting a handwritten note from the University every day for a full year.
Additional College Basketball Conference Previews
When you are ready to read up on some more college basketball conference previews, check out the links below.