Last season, four Pac-12 Basketball programs made the NCAA Tournament, including the two Final Four contenders, Arizona and UCLA. But none of them made it past the Sweet 16, with the Wildcats suffering an upset Round of 64 loss to Princeton.
With the conference going through some realignment (UCLA and USC leaving after next season), there is going to be some pressure as to who’ll step up among the remaining programs to keep the league competitive nationally.
It’s been a big offseason so far, with a head coaching change and plenty of roster movement. Now at the halftime point, here’s an early grade at what each Pac-12 team has done so far, going in order from last year’s conference standings.
12. Cal Bears – Grade: A+
After winning just three games total, the Bears hit a home-run hire, getting head coach Mark Madsen from Utah Valley. He’s already landed five talented transfers, that might be better than anyone on the roster this past season. Jalen Cone averaged just under 20 ppg from Northern Arizona, while Mike Meadows is another guard from Portland.
Jaylon Tyson and Fardaws Aimaq come over from Texas Tech, while Memphis transfer Keonte Kennedy is a “3 and D” starting wing. It’s a massive talent boost for the roster, the kind that can take them from last to the top half of the Pac-12.
11. Oregon State Beavers – Grade: D-
The Beavers weren’t that much better than Cal but compared to them, this team hasn’t done anything to improve its roster. Wing Glenn Taylor transferred out to St. John’s and Oregon State hasn’t done anything to replace them.
Bringing back leading scorer and freshman Jordan Pope is the only good thing for the team and prevents them from flat-out failing. But right now, it’s hard to say that Oregon State isn’t the worst team in Pac-12 Basketball, even with the freshmen core having long-term potential.