Pac-12 men's basketball scouting reports
A team-by-team look at Pac-12 men's basketball teams.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Teams listed in predicted order of finish:
1. Arizona (12-0)
Coach: Sean Miller (fourth year at Arizona), 81-35.
Top scorer: G Mark Lyons (13.4).
Resume: Includes two one-point wins over ranked teams in Florida (13th) and San Diego State (19th).
Telling stat: With an infusion of freshman talent up front, Wildcats have a 10.1 rebound margin.
Revelation: Xavier transfer Lyons hardly a surprise, but his toughness and don't-back-down demeanor have added a dimension.
Shortfall: Lyons isn't a true point guard, and UA's perimeter defense is a lingering concern.
Bottom line: The youthful frontcourt should keep getting better, and the league looks like the Wildcats' to win.
2. UCLA (10-3)
Coach: Ben Howland (10th year), 218-100.
Top scorer: G Shabazz Muhammad (19.6).
Resume: Bruins have a head-scratching loss to Cal Poly, but last week, a big victory over Missouri.
Telling stat: North Carolina transfer G Larry Drew II has a shockingly good 5.09-1 assist-turnover ratio.
Revelation: Muhammad and fellow frosh Jordan Adams combine to average 37.3 points a game.
Shortfall: Bruins were thinned by departures of big man Josh Smith and guard Tyler Lamb.
Bottom line: Ceiling looks high for the Bruins, if they improve a field-goal defensive percentage of .419, 11th in the Pac-12.
3. Oregon (11-2)
Coach: Dana Altman (third year), 56-30.
Top scorer: G Damyean Dotson (11.1).
Resume: Win at UNLV has cachet; only losses are to 14th-ranked Cincinnati and in 3 OTs at UTEP.
Telling stat: Led by Iranian Arsalan Kazemi, a transfer from Rice averaging 10 rebounds, Ducks have a 10.6 margin on the boards.
Revelation: Dotson and point guard Dominic Artis, both freshmen, are both averaging double-figures points.
Shortfall: Oregon commits 16.4 turnovers a game, worst in the league.
Bottom line: With solid work early, and Altman's coaching, Ducks look pointed for the NCAA tournament.
4. Colorado (10-2)
Coach: Tad Boyle (third year), 58-28.
Top scorer: G Askia Booker (14.8)
Resume: Creditable body of work includes wins over Dayton, Baylor and Colorado State, giving CU stunning No. 5 RPI ranking.
Telling stat: Springy F Andre Roberson averages 12.1 in both points and rebounds.
Revelation: Freshman C Josh Scott (6-10) is the third-leading scorer (13.2).
Shortfall: Buffs have a perplexing 0.71 team assist-turnover ratio.
Bottom line: Boyle's team, which stormed through the Pac-12 tournament last March, looks capable of return trip to the NCAAs.
5. California (8-4)
Coach: Mike Montgomery (96-51).
Top scorer: G Allen Crabbe (16.9).
Resume: 6-0 start has melted with four losses in six games. Near-miss against UNLV and gut-shot loss to Harvard are big.
Telling stat: Bears have 30 turnovers more than opponents.
Revelation: 6-3 frosh G Tyrone Wallace, a recent starter, has brought energy, defense and rebounding.
Shortfall: Post offense is a problem, as bigs Richard Solomon and David Kravish combine to shoot only .452.
Bottom line: Bears have serious limitations, starting inside. Unless they get more down low, the NIT may be the upside.
6. Stanford (9-4)
Coach: Johnny Dawkins (fifth year), 84-63.
Top scorer: F Dwight Powell (14.5).
Resume: Losses are to high-quality foes and sneaky-good Belmont. But the 2012 NIT champions have no notable wins.
Telling stat: Gs Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright, who combined to shoot .436 overall and .381 on threes last year, are a combined .361 and .228 by comparison.
Revelation: F Josh Huestis averages 9.3 points and 8.9 rebounds, four more of each than last season.
Shortfall: Swingman Anthony Brown, a 27-game starter last year, is out for the year with a hip injury.
Bottom line: Given last year's late rush, the start is a disappointment. A program that went to 13 of the previous 14 NCAAs has yet to make it under Dawkins.
7. Washington (8-5)
Coach: Lorenzo Romar (11th year), 227-118.
Top scorer: G C.J. Wilcox (18.5).
Resume: Defeat of Saint Louis looking better all the time, but home losses to Albany, Colorado State and Nevada are damaging.
Telling stat: Huskies allow a Pac-12-worst .423 FG shooting.
Revelation: F Desmond Simmons has five double-figures rebounding games.
Shortfall: Normally a strong rebounding team, UW has only a plus-2.8 margin, 10th in the league.
Bottom line: Still appreciable talent, but the season looks like a challenge, given spotty point-guard play and lack of inside punch.
8. USC (5-8)
Coach: Kevin O'Neill (fifth year), 46-63.
Top scorer: F Eric Wise (11.4).
Resume: Trojans have struggled against the most ambitious schedule in the league, but just beat solid Dayton team.
Telling stat: USC shoots only .416, 11th in Pac-12.
Revelation: Omar Oraby, 7-2 Egyptian center who transferred from Rice, averages 8 ppg and 4.2 rebounds in 15 minutes.
Shortfall: G J.T. Terrell, who played at Peninsula JC last season, is in a huge slump, shooting .292 with only eight assists in 324 minutes.
Bottom line: Battle-tested Trojans should improve as new parts meld with players returning from injury-devastated 2011-12 season.
9. Oregon State (10-3)
Coach: Craig Robinson (fifth year), 74-74.
Top scorer: G Roberto Nelson (15.8).
Resume: Losses are to Alabama, Kansas and a home killer to Towson State, with nothing impressive on the other side.
Telling stat: In the early reckoning, Beavers have a sickly 205 RPI.
Revelation: F Eric Moreland averages 11.2 rebounds.
Shortfall: Big man Angus Brandt tore up a knee in November and will miss the season.
Bottom line: A certain stasis seems to envelop Robinson's Beavers, who haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 1990. A first-division finish would be an upset.
10. Washington State (9-4)
Coach: Ken Bone (fourth year), 66-50.
Top scorer: F Brock Motum (19.7).
Resume: No wins of real consequence, but losses to Pepperdine, Texas A&M and Gonzaga are by a combined five points.
Telling stat: WSU has concealed some shortcomings with .373 FG defense, second-best in the league.
Revelation: Freshman F Junior Longrus (6-7) is a hustling banger with rebounding and shot-blocking capability.
Shortfall: When Bone booted senior G Reggie Moore, it left a depth-shy team and caused senior G Mike Ladd to assume primary ball-handling chores.
Bottom line: Motum is one of the league's premier players, but WSU must develop complements. Cougars loom tough at home, but road wins may be sparse.
11. Arizona State (12-2)
Coach: Herb Sendek (seventh year), 110-98.
Top scorer: G Jahii Carson (17.7).
Resume: Sun Devils beat a decent Arkansas team by 15 but lost in double digits to DePaul and 16th-ranked Creighton.
Telling stat: Carson would be the first NCAA freshman to average 17 ppg and five assists since 1997.
Revelation: Sun Devils have transitioned from mostly zone team to entirely man-to-man and are playing faster.
Shortfall: Bo Barnes, local product who transferred from Hawaii, where he set a freshman mark for threes made, has played little.
Bottom line: Carson has been a difference-maker for a team whose roster is still shy of Pac-12 talent.
12. Utah (8-6)
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (second year), 14-30.
Top scorer: G Jarred DuBois (13.5).
Resume: Utes have beaten mostly cream puffs, but trounced a good Boise State team and lost a one-possession game to BYU.
Telling stat: FG defense of .352 tops the conference.
Revelation: Local product Jordan Loveridge, 6-6 freshman, adds 13 ppg and team-leading 7.6 rebounds.
Shortfall: Utes haven't forced more than 14 turnovers by any opponent.
Bottom line: Utes will be much better than 6-25 outfit of last year, but it could be hard to make significant push upward in standings.
Note: The Sun Devils opened league play Wednesday night with an OT win over Utah.