Pac-12 picks: Will Wildcats be first or second?

2012-10-31T14:15:00Z 2012-10-31T14:48:12Z Pac-12 picks: Will Wildcats be first or second?By Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

First: A reminder that tonight's exhibition game will be streamed after all.

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The Pac-12 will release its official media poll Thursday during media day in San Francisco, and it may be a close call whether Arizona is picked first or second.

 Most national publications are split, too: Lindy's and Blue Ribbon Yearbook pick UCLA, while Athlon and Sporting News go with Arizona. Doug Haller of the Republic has UA first and I picked the Wildcats second (assuming UCLA's freshmen are cleared).

Both national polls also have UA rated just above the Bruins, too.

Whatever the case, UA coach Sean Miller said he expects the conference to be better.

“Of my four times going through the conference, this will be the strongest,” Miller said. “You can make the argument that we’ve had three or four teams that can rival any conference’s middle. Where it’s been really unfortunate for our past is where our top hasn’t been nearly as good as other conferences’ top teams and our bottom has been really bad. When you have a really bad bottom, it’s an anchor that pulls.”

Since Miller has been UA's coach, the Wildcats have finished within one place of where they were picked in the Pac-12 poll. Here were the results:

Year / picked / actual

2009-10 / fourth / fifth (tie)

2010-11/ second / first

2011-12 / third / fourth

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Tucson-based analyst Matt Muehlebach said today his preparation will remain the same for both local radio and Pac-12 Networks television broadcasts, but that his on-air approach will be slightly different.

"We have a different audience (on radio) because they're not seeing the game," Muehlebach said. "So maybe there will be a little different presentation."

Muehlebach said he will work both UA and ASU games for the Pac-12 Networks. He will miss five UA radio assignments because of his new Pac-12 Networks duties, all home games, and will sometimes be able to squeeze in a home telecast at ASU while doing both UA games in the same weekend because the new Pac-12 schedule more often breaks teams out of the old Thursday-Saturday schedule.

A former player for the Wildcats, Muehlebach works as a corporate lawyer during the day, often focusing on transactional issues. He said the basketball work poses no schedule issues and often brings his work with him on road trips.

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Kyle Anderson's dad says the UCLA freshman phenom has been cleared to play. The Bruins are still waiting to hear about Shabazz Muhammad.

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UA target Aaron Gordon will take his final recruiting visit, to Kentucky, on Nov. 10-11.

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Askia Booker says the Buffs stuck together while training with Navy SEALs.

 

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Some UA stories on the web:

-- Kevin Zimmerman of Dime says chemistry is the Wildcats' biggest issue this season.

-- Jeff Goodman of CBS puts UA at No. 8.

-- Anthony Gimino says it's Solomon Hill's time to be a leader.

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