Posted on October 12, 2021
These Power Rankings are based solely on my initial assessments, and are sure to change once the first games tip off.
You’ll find my Preseason All-Conference and All-Freshman team selections, along with my pick for Coach of the Year here.
The Bruins enter the 2021-22 season with their Final Four roster intact and sky-high expectations.
Five star freshman Peyton Watson has been added to the mix, while returning freshman Jaylen Clark figures to take a step forward in his second season.
The depth and experience Mick Cronin has to work with should lead UCLA to another Final Four, and perhaps a National Championship.
Front court size and backcourt scoring are the themes of Oregon Basketball for the upcoming season.
Will Richardson returns as the senior leader, but Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier might end up as the Ducks’ leading scorer.
In the paint, five-star freshman Nathan Bittle should combine with N’Faly Dante and Franck Kepnang to comprise the Pac-12’s top front court.
Andy Enfield added Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis over the offseason, a significant recruiting win after the departure of Tahj Eaddy.
Ellis should start at guard along with Ethan Anderson, while Isaiah Mobley, Chavez Goodwin, and Isaiah White all return down low.
Freshman guard Malik Thomas figures to play a role in his first season, and Joshua Morgan could see the court more often.
With an experienced roster, the Trojans project to compete for a Pac-12 Regular Season Championship.
The Tommy Lloyd Era begins in Tucson with a returning core of players that are among the elite in the Conference of Champions.
Bennedict Mathurin is a projected First Round draft pick, and Azuolas Tubelis has All-Conference potential.
Lloyd’s staple of returning starters includes Dalen Terry, Kerr Kriisa, and Christian Koloko, while Utah transfer Pelle Larsson has been brought in over the summer.
With multiple threats to score, Arizona has a roster capable of finishing fourth or better in the Pac-12.
The Buffs have the No. 1 recruiting class in the Conference, but must replace one of the all-time great Colorado guards in McKinley Wright IV.
The consistency of Tad Boyle’s back court figures to define CU’s season, with Keeshawn Barthelemy expected to take over the lead role.
Jabari Walker projects as a First Round draft pick and is one of the top players in the Pac-12, while Evan Battey is a force in the paint.
The emergence of a star or two out of the freshmen class should help lead the Buffs back to the NCAA Tournament.
6. Washington State
No longer considered a bottom-dweller, Washington State has raised the bar.
Kyle Smith changed the perception of the program with strong recruiting classes in his first two seasons, generating expectations for an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021-22.
Returning freshman Efe Abogidi is among the top players in the Conference of Champions, and the Cougars front court is loaded with the likes of Dishon Jackson, Carlos Rosario, and four-star freshman Mouhamed Gueye.
7. Oregon State
Coming off an Elite 8 run, Wayne Tinkle’s roster is capable of getting back to the NCAA Tournament.
Jarod Lucas is the primary threat to score, but the offense should run through Gianni Hunt.
Down low, Warith Alatishe figures to have another strong year, while Maurice Callo and Roman Silva continue to play their roles.
A strong conference season should set OSU on the path for another run in the Big Dance.
The Cardinal lost Daejon Davis to the transfer portal and Ziaire Williams to the NBA draft, but five-star freshman Harrison Ingram has been brought in along with four-star freshman Isael Silva.
And with starters Michael O’Connell, Spencer Jones, and Jaiden Delaire back to guide the young guns, the Tree should once again be a bubble team capable of making the NCAA Tournament.
9. Arizona State
Bobby Hurley blew up his roster and started from scratch, but Marcus Bagley, Jalen Graham, and Kimani Lawrence form a solid returning core.
Former Ohio State guard Luther Muhammad projects as the engine of ASU’s offense, and five-star freshman Enoch Boakye should be among the top freshmen in the Pac-12.
Yet, the chemistry of the Sun Devil roster is the X-Factor that could bring the program back to the NCAA Tournament.
After revamping his roster, Mike Hopkins’ Huskies should improve on their disastrous 5-21 record from a year ago.
Daejon Davis returns to Seattle to play for his hometown team, along with Seattle-native Terrell Brown Jr.
And the Dawgs added junior college transfer Langston Wilson to the front court along with four-star freshman Jackson Grant.
But the mix of new players must quickly learn Hopkins’ zone defense or the results could be more of the same.
The Bears lost Matt Bradley to the transfer portal, but Grant Anticevich, Makale Foreman, and Andre Kelly all return.
The group arguably made Cal more competitive when Bradley was sidelined due to injuries last season, as the star guard tended to dominate the ball and look for his own shot.
With a more team-centric approach, the 2021-22 season has potential to be Mark Fox’s strongest to date.
The termination of Larry Krystkowiak and the en masse transfers out of Salt Lake City dominated the headlines over the offseason.
Timmy Allen, Pelle Larsson, Alfonzo Plummer, Rylan Jones, Ian Martinez, and Mikael Jantunen all left the program.
To Craig Smith’s credit, Both Gach transferred back in. But the damage to the roster might be too tough to overcome in Smith’s first year.
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