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2022-2023 Pac-12 College Basketball Preview

The Pac-12 appears to be really down this season, so much so that I think the AAC has an opportunity to be ranked higher in the NET rankings at the end of the season. The conferences seem very comparable overall and the Pac-12 certainly projects to be on a tier lower than the other P5 conferences. Whereas there were about 20 or more players from all the other power conferences in the top 200 of my ADJ eff model, there were not even 20 in the top 300 in the Pac-12 returning. It’s been a rough summer for the conference with UCLA and USC leaving to play in the Big Ten and in the midwest and east coast. The prospects this winter do not seem any brighter for league basketball.

Here are our national ranks so you can see the tiers we have each of these teams on.

1-363 ranking

TiersNational Rank
8UCLAPAC 12
13ArizonaPAC 12
22OregonPAC 12
47Arizona StatePAC 12
59StanfordPAC 12
71USCPAC 12
80WashingtonPAC 12
90UtahPAC 12
91Washington StatePAC 12
119ColoradoPAC 12
143CaliforniaPAC 12
277Oregon StatePac 12

Bracketology

In Lieu of an All Conference teams, I’ve listed the Top Returning Players by Peak Adjusted Efficiency for SOS. Most will likely come from this list anyway, but the awards are more team driven. I’m more interested in who is actually doing the most when they are on the court. The players can’t control the team that was put around them. If they are putting up tangible numbers at top efficiency per possession on bad teams, that is actually more impressive to me. It’s coming under more pressure and game planning for them, with less viable options around them to take the pressure off. This list encompasses the players that have been the best on a D1 court going into the season.

ADJ effRank
19Azuolas TubelisArizona
26Jaime JaquezUCLA
57Branden CarlsonUtah
60Warren WashingtonArizona State
79Spencer JonesStanford
114Keion BrooksWashington
132Tyger CampbellUCLA
133Desmond CambridgeArizona State
139Justin PowellWashington State
144Will RichardsonOregon
191Mike JonesStanford
211Drew PetersonUSC
223Noah WilliamsWashington
255Keeshawn BarthelemyOregon
261Quincy GuerierOregon
274Harrison IngramStanford
279Ethan WrightColorado
294Marco AnthonyUtah

(Last year’s NET, Seed, and Tournament Finish on the top header line for reference. Deep bench players are not listed, only those in the projected rotation. I also included player ADJ eff rankings. ADJ eff Rankings and qualifying explanation here.)

1. UCLA

UCLA11 NET4 seedPERS16
Adem Bona6-9, 2255*Fr
Jaime Jaquez6-6, 22013.9ppg, 5.7rpg22.4Sr
Jaylen Clark6-5, 1956.7ppg, 3.8rpg20.7Sr
David Singleton6-4, 2104.8ppg, 1.5rpg15.1Gr
Tyger Campbell5-11, 18011.9ppg, 4.3apg18.2Sr
Amari Bailey6-4, 1875*Fr
Dylan Andrews6-5, 1904*Fr
Mac Etienne6-9, 2302.6ppg, 2.8rpg (2021)12.5So
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
26Jaime Jaquez
132Tyger Campbell

Jaquez seems ready for a starring role, and with the team success I expect UCLA to have, I have him projected first team All American team currently. Clark was highly productive per possession and should have no problem moving into a starting role Juzang vacates. UCLA should expect to lose some shooting from Juzang but Singleton should be able to offset it. If Bernard had returned as most expected, I would have had their 1 through 4 spots rated the best in the nation with the center spot with Bona the only question mark. I do believe Singleton can move in for Bernard in the starting lineup, but it compromises the depth.

Bona has the 5-star recruiting pedigree, but the inexperience in the age of the super senior where most everyone is a year older than their class something to consider. When you look around at 4th and 5th-year type guys like Tshiebwe, Bacot, Jackson-Davis, and Timme who project to be leading some of the other top teams in the nation it only exacerbates that concern even as good of a prospect as he may be.

I especially worry about him in a potential match-up with those guys in March. Bona will have one with Tshiebwe early in the season which might be telling. If he holds up, I will feel much better about this team moving forward. Bona averaged about 15ppg, 10rpg 4bpg in high school for reference. If he can rebound and defend the rim adequately, then UCLA seems in good shape because they should have enough offense 1 through 4.

2. Arizona

Arizona4 NET1 seedPERS16
Oumar Ballo7-0, 2606.8ppg 4.4rpg24.1So
Azuolas Tubelis6-11, 24513.9ppg, 6.2rpg24.4Jr
Pelle Larsson6-5, 2087.2ppg 3.4rpg14.4Jr
Courtney Ramey6-3, 1859.4ppg, 3.5rpg13Jr
Kerr Kriisa6-3, 1809.7ppg, 4.7apg11.7Jr
Cedric Henderson6-6, 19014.0ppg, 5.6rpg(@Campbell)18.2Jr
Adama Bal6-6, 1901.5ppg12.1So
Shane Nowell6-6, 2100.8ppg5.5So
Dylan Anderson7-0, 2154*Fr
Filip Borovicanin6-8, 1803*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
19Azuolas Tubelis

Tubelis is one of the best players in the country. Two weeks ago depth is a concern but they were able to add a couple of contributors and this team now look a lot more formidable. Having an experienced PG should help some in whip this team into shape, but they certainly need one depth PG piece moving forward I thought a month ago, they did that landing Ramey. He isn’t spectacular but he does solify the depth and gives them another experienced solid player who can handle the ball well and make three’s respectable. They were also able to get Cedric Henderson from Campbell who has been a 15ppg scorer to solidify the wing depth. It almost feels like buyout candidates in the NBA coming in to fill out the roster.

The Pac 12 appears a little down this season, especially at the bottom, and someone has to win those games. Arizona still seems to be the most equipped outside of UCLA. Having a great big and experience point guard to get him the ball is a nice floor raiser and starting point to build on. Ballo is ready for more as it appears as well. It has the makings of a big time 1-2 punch in the post. Had he played enough to qualify he would be top 30 in ADJ eff as well.

3. Oregon

Oregon76 NETNITPER2R
N’Faly Dante6-11, 2308.1ppg, 6.3rpg24.8Sr
Quincy Guerier6-7, 22010.1ppg, 5.3rpg16Sr
Tyrone Williams6-5, 20027.7ppg, 7.5rpg (JUCO)Jr
Will Richardson6-5, 18014.1ppg, 3.6apg19.3Gr
Jermaine Couisnard6-4, 21112.0ppg, 3.2appg(@S.Caro)14.1Sr
Keeshawn Barthelemy6-2, 16311.1ppg, 2.4apg(@Colorado)16.8Jr
Rivaldo Soares6-6, 2054.7ppg, 2.7rpg11.1Sr
Brennen Rigsby6-3, 18011.6ppg 3.6rpg (JUCO)Jr
Kel’el Ware7-0, 2105*Fr
Dior Johnson6-3, 1804*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
144Will Richardson
255Keeshawn Barthelemy
261Quincy Guerier

This is pretty much a new team, but returning their best player unexpectedly is a huge help. I like the way it has been rebuilt around him. I had them ranked in the 30’s but getting Richardson back really helps push them forward. The proven depth is stout on this team and Williams should help take them places. I’m a little skeptical of most JUCO’s as big difference makers in year 1 usually (see Soares), but when you average 28ppg at any level I think you got to be a pretty good player. Williams shot 43.5% from three on good volume so at worst he should be capable of being a solid shooting threat. With Richardson back, this projects to be a good shooting team now.

Hopefully for Oregon to take a bigger step Williams is more the 2nd coming of Duarte. Consider this is the same coach that recruited Duarte there I am going to trust him as the stats check out much better than they did for Soares. They add a proven D1 transfer backcourt and return solid help in the post. The addition of Ware is big but I doubt he will just be handed minutes as good as Dante was last season. If you rebuild enough that you can bring a player like Williams, Barthelemy, or Cousinard off the bench, you are in great shape. They may even want to play all 4 together around one of the solid defensive centers in a smaller “death” lineup to end games.

4. Arizona State

Arizona State100 NET
Warren Washington7-1, 21510.5ppg, 6.6rpg(@Nevada)22.9Sr
Devan Cambridge6-6, 2158.9ppg, 3.6rpg(2021)11.3Sr
Desmond Cambridge6-4, 18016.2ppg, 5.1rpg(@Nevada)20.2Gr
DJ Horne6-0, 17512.5ppg, 2.9rpg13.1Jr
Marcus Bagley6-1, 20010.4ppg, 4.0apg15.6Gr
Frankie Collins6-1, 1852.8ppg, 1.4apg(@ Mich)8.7So
Luther Muhammad6-3, 1855.2ppg, 2.3rpg7.8Gr
Alonzo Gaffney6-9, 2004.2ppg, 3.6rpg11.1Sr
Enoch Boakye6-10, 2402.0ppg, 3.5rpg9.8So
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
60Warren Washington
133Desmond Cambridge

This team was not very inspiring at first glance, but when I looked at what else was left at the bottom of the Pac 12 I concluded someone has to win games. I generally wouldn’t have thought some parts off a #125 NET Nevada would make them this level of team, but they were some of the few good parts. They also get a little bonus for bringing in teammates and brothers which should help them get off to a little better start with early season chemistry that most teams with new pieces won’t have.

The roster just seems a lot better and there will still be enough strength at the top in the Pac 12 someone has to fall in this range. I would say having an experienced backcourt and continuity helps, but this offense was atrocious 328th last year. Washington and Desmond Cambridge should help at least help it run more efficiently. This team probably needs to get to an NCAA to save Hurley’s job and I think they are capable.

5. Stanford

Stanford106 NET
James Keefe6-92255.3 Pts, 4.8 Reb16.3Sr
Spencer Jones6-722512.0 Pts, 4.5 Reb,20Sr
Harrison Ingram6-823010.5 Pts, 6.7 Reb14.9Fr
Mike Jones6-521011.8 Pts, 3.6 Reb18.4Sr
Michael O’Connell6-21807.1 Pts,3.6 Ast9.9Jr
Brandon Angel6-82107.7 Pts, 2.9 Reb14.7Jr
Maxime Raynaud7-12354.5 Pts, 3.8 Reb18.1So
Isael Silva6-41903.5 Pts, 1.2 Ast5.9So
Max Murrell6-92002.4 Pts, 1.1 Reb6.9Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
79Spencer Jones
191Mike Jones
274Harrison Ingram

Stanford returns most of their important players and added a nice shooter from an NCAA top 45 Davidson team in Mike Jones. They should be improved but I’m not a big believer in Jerod Haase. I think Stanford will still have a ceiling on just how much improvement under his instruction. It’s a nice collection of talent but no one that is overwhelming. The continuity from a lot of returners should be the biggest advantage they have over most teams early. Ingram is inefficient but a nice passer for his size. Having a new shooter like Michael Jones will be a nice outlet from him to hit playing an inside out game.

6. USC

USC40 NETNCAA1R
Vince Iwuchukwu7-0,2205*Fr
Kijani Wright6-9, 2354*Fr
Drew Peterson6-8, 18512.4 Pts, 6.2 Reb17.9Sr
Reese Waters6-6, 2104.8 Pts, 1.8 Reb15.3So
Boogie Ellis6-3, 18012.5 Pts, 2.4 Ast15.5Sr
Tre White6-6, 1904*Fr
Joshua Morgan6-11, 1953.2 Pts, 2.9 Reb15.3Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
211Drew Peterson

Andy Enfield’s team is coming off a very strong NCAA season, but they only return 2 significant contributors. Drew Perterson (12.4 Pts, 6.2 Reb, 3.3 Ast, 17.9 PER) and Boogie Ellis (12.5 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 2.4 Ast 15.5 PER). Neither were that productive or efficient in the roles they had last season and will need to expand them for this team to keep pace. Isaiah Mobley will be tough to replace with what returns. 5 star top 25 incoming recruit Vince Iwuchukwu will have some big shoes to fill. He comes with the pedigree but he’s still just a freshman in college basketball that’s as old as it’s ever been with super seniors. If he can’t 4 star top 50 recruit Kijani Wright will have the next chance but more likely it will be by committee. It’s a strong freshman class overall but this teams just a little too young to expect the kind of season they are coming off off.

7. Washington

Washington113 NET
Franck Kepnang6-11, 2254.7ppg, 3.1rpg(@Oregon)16.3SO
Keion Brooks6-7, 20510.8ppg, 4.4rpg(@Kentucky)18.9JR
Jamal Bey6-6, 2109.4ppg, 4.1rpg10.9Sr
PJ Fuller6-4, 1857.4ppg, 1.1apg10.4Jr
Noah Williams6-5, 18714.1ppg, 2.7apg (@ Washington St 2021)17.5SR
Braxton Meah7-1, 2502.2ppg, 2.2rpg(@Fresno St)14.1FR
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
114Keion Brooks
223Noah Williams

Adding Noah Williams was a nice get from rival Washington State with in the conference. That return to Pullman should be interesting as should Kepnang going back to Oregon. Keion Brooks from Kentucky is the big add though. He had a nice productive role at Kentucky, the only explanation here is he was looking to expand that and become a leading man. He’s a good player but I don’t know that he’s good enough to carry this team to the places Washington fans are getting anxious to return too. It’s been an uninspiring trajectory for Mike Hopkins coming off a great start. They really needed Brooks and Williams to tread water with the loss of Terrell Brown who averaged 21.7 Pts, 4.2 Reb, 4.3 Ast with 25.9 PER. Those are big shoes to fill just to maintain the 113th NET they were last year. I think there is enough added enough in the aggregate to be a little better, but not much.

8. Utah

Utah133 NET
Branden Carlson7-0, 21513.6 Pts, 6.0 Reb24.2JR
Marco Anthony6-5, 2259.1 Pts, 7.0 Reb,16.1SR
Lazar Stefanovic6-7, 1867.5 Pts, 2.8 Reb8.4FR
Gabe Madsen6-5, 1956.7 Pts, 1.0 Reb12.5SO
Rollie Worster6-3, 2007.5 Pts 3.1 Ast11.8SO
Mike Saunders6-0, 1907.3 Pts, 2.7Ast12.6Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
57Branden Carlson
294Marco Anthony

Carleson (13.6 Pts, 6.0 Reb, 1.6 Blks 24.4 PER) is pretty under rated as a player nationally. He gives Utah a nice starting point to build around. His defensive is a little underwhelming but he was certainly not the weakest spot on last years #133 NET team. Also back is Marco Anthony giving Utah one of the best and most experienced 1-2 punches in the league. Continuity will have to lead to most of the improvements, that and Craig Smith becoming more acclimated to the Pac 12 in his 2nd go around. It’s not the step up from the MWC it has been in previous years, still it will be helpful having more exposure to what he’s facing from certain coaches in this league he is now facing regularly. Most of the team returns and Utah was able to add Mike Saunders a transfer from Cincinnati 7.3 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 2.7 Ast 12.6 PER who should help some.

9. Washington State

Washgington State55 NETNIT
Mouhamed Gueye6-11, 2107.4 Pts, 5.2 Reb17.3So
Dishon Jackson6-10, 2106.0 Pts, 4.1 Reb20.1So
Andrej Jakimovski6-8, 2155.4 Pts, 3.9 Reb13.3So
TJ Bamba6-5, 2087.7 Pts, 3.4 Reb14.8Jr
Justin Powell6-6, 20511.7 Pts, 4.7 Ast(@Auburn 2021)20.1Jr
DJ Rodman6-6, 2154.2 Pts, 4.1 Reb13.5Sr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
139Justin Powell

Washington State seemed to be building pretty well and had a 55th ranked NET team last year. Now they have to deal with attrition and start over. Kyle Smith was able to convince Mouhamed Gueye (7.4 Pts, 5.2 Reb 17.3 PER) to return after he entered to portal, but that’s about the only that went well. The biggest addition was Justin Powell from Tennessee who only played 14 minutes a game for them. Tennessee was a loaded team though so I wouldn’t worry to much about that. He had been very good at Auburn the season before, although Auburn as a team wasn’t good with a losing record. Powell averaged 11.7 Pts, 6.1 Reb, 4.7 Ast and they are going to need that and probably a lot more to stay competitive. This team has a little spunk to them. The size is excellent but I’m not sure the part fit the best and the overall depth is kind of weak. They might be the sleeper to move up from the bottom.

10. Colorado

Colorado74 NETNIT1R
Tristan Da Silva6-9, 2179.4 Pts, 3.5 Reb14Jr
Maddox Daniels6-6, 2115.3 Pts, 2.4 Reb (2021)12.4Sr
Nique Clifford6-5, 1756.7 Pts, 4.6 Reb13.3Jr
Ethan Wright6-3, 18014.7 Pts, 6.9 Reb (@ Princeton)21.1Sr
KJ Simpson6-2, 1707.4 Pts, 2.7 Ast12.1So
Jalen Gabbidon6-5, 19011.3 Pts, 3.6 Reb (@Yale)16.4Jr
Lawson Lovering7-0, 2201.9 Pts, 1.9 Reb2.4So
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
279Ethan Wright

Ethan Wright was very good for Princeton, but even a down Pac 12 is far superior to the Ivy League. His 14.7 Pts, 6.9 Reb, 1.7 Ast 21 PER value was built a lot off of averaging 7 rebounds per game as a 6-3, 180lb guard. I can’t see him being as effective and while my adjusted efficiency model still has him in the top 300 if he’s your top player in a top 6 or 7 conference you are probably in the bottom half of the league. Tristan da Silva (9.4 Pts, 3.5 Reb, 2.0 Ast 14.0 PER) and KJ Simpson(7.4 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 2.7 Ast 12.4 PER) return but I have about as much faith in them as I do Wright to step into a bigger role. All three would be better suited as role players on good teams. Tad Boyle is a solid coach but this roster isn’t one I think you excel with. He’s probably able to keep them some what competitive and respectable but I can’t see much more than that. The size and rebound is suspect and Wright will have to help there.

11. California

The Mark Fox hire was always a strange one to me. If the guy couldn’t win at Georgia in 9 years what was really going to change at California. I suppose the thinking was get him back to the west coast where he had success at Nevada and things would go better. Still how much better are we talking here when Nevada is a program that is positioned well to have success in the MWC as one of the best programs. California is more an uphill job in the Pac 12.

Cal has had a 163 average net since the NET was created 4 seasons ago. I can’t see them being much better this year as well. Gone off of a 150 NET team last year are the 2 best players in Jordan Shepard and Andre Kelly. In what has to be a blow Kelly transferred to the University of California

-Santa Barbara-

When you are losing your best player to UCSB in the Big West things aren’t going the best. I shouldn’t even say that as UCSB has been better than Cal lately though. They had a top 50 NET team just 2 seasons ago, still you get point. There isn’t much else to really talk about, they have to try to figure a way to win with role players off a 150 NET team from last year and a 2ppg transfer from Texas. Good luck with that. I’m probably giving them to much credit with my 143rd ranking projection talking through it.

12. Oregon State

This program WOW. They followed up an Elite 8 run with a 3-28 (1-19) # 255 NET season. That’s almost amazing when you think about the turnaround they had. Even while the Elite 8 run was kind of a Cinderella run as a 12 seed, it still has to be the biggest falls in history. This isn’t even the first fall Wayne Hinkle has talent at Oregon State either. The only other time he took Oregon State to the NCAA’s he followed that season up with a 5-27 (1-17) season the next season. That’s pretty incredible you can hit those kind of highs and lows at the same place.

Oregon State is a tough job no doubt but you would like to see some consistency or at least the bottom not completely fall out. He rebounded pretty nicely from the 5-27 season to go 16-16 last time but unfortunately for Oregon State I don’t see that this time. I think at least on paper they managed to get worse losing their only bright spots in Lucas and Davis to Nevada and Mississippi State. Hinkle will be tasked to win with a handful of the 6ppg role players off the 3-28 team from last year or some freshman. The only addition of note really with any proven track record is Christian Wright who averaged 5ppg for a terrible Georgia team. This is as bad a preseason rank as you will ever see for a P6 team. I think it’s completely justified though.

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  1. Pingback: NCAA College Basketball Rankings: All 363 teams in 2022-23 – The Hoops Resource

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