Tuesday was Pac-12 basketball media day in California, which signaled the release of the conference’s 2019-2020 preseason poll, in which Oregon claimed the top projected spot in the league with 291 points. The Ducks were trailed by Colorado, Washington, Arizona and USC to round out the Top 5.
Oregon State was selected 7th by the league’s media members, behind Arizona State and one spot in front of UCLA.
The two most obvious things to notice from the poll are that five different teams garnered at least one first-place vote, including Oregon and Colorado tying with one another with 9 top selections, and that the league seems to be largely competitive for the top 8 spots. The Buffs, who some had originally pegged as a middle of the pack squad, seem to be garnering some serious respect to miss out on claiming the top spot by just three overall points.
Since 2008, no team selected fifth or lower in the preseason poll has won the actual regular season championship and overall, the media members have correctly selected the upcoming league champion in 16 of the 30 years of the poll’s existence.
The Pac-12 also announced the creation of the “Coast To Coast Challenge” at media day, which will begin in 2020 and feature three squads from the league each year challenging non-league foes during the month of December.
The first display of the challenge will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with Colorado, Washington and Oregon committed to the event and all sizing up against Big 12 foes. In 2021, the games will move to the American Airlines Center in Dallas for return games, while Arizona, Arizona State and USC join the mix to battle off against teams from another power conference.
Jamie Zaninovich, the league’s men’s basketball Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, was quoted on the event, stating, “this first-of-its-kind conference Challenge will serve as a great opportunity for our Pac-12 schools to showcase their men’s basketball brands in high-profile, priority markets around the country against elite peer-conference competition, while also providing additional quality non-conference scheduling opportunities.”