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Pac-12 team-by-team preview: UCLA, Oregon teams to beat in 2021-22

Pac-12 team-by-team preview: UCLA, Oregon teams to beat in 2021-22

Tyger Campbell celebrates with his teammates after the Bruins advanced to the Final Four last spring.

In order of predicted finish in the conference’s annual preseason media poll. (Departed players left college basketball unless noted; all players from last season were eligible to play in 2021-22).

1. UCLA

Stock: Rising. The transfer portal era isn’t really a thing at UCLA. Good weather, beaches and banners tend to keep guys around, and nearly everyone is back from a Final Four run last season.

Games vs. UA: Dec. 30 at Los Angeles; Feb. 3 at McKale Center

Coach: Mick Cronin (63-41 in two seasons at UCLA, 406-193 in 18 seasons overall)

Last season: 22-10 overall; 13-6 Pac-12 (4th), lost to Gonzaga in Final Four

Go-to guys: G Johnny Juzang (Jr., 16.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg), F Jaime Jaquez (Jr., 12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg)

Other returnees: PG Tyger Campbell (Jr., 10.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 5.4 apg), SF Jules Bernard (Sr., 10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg), C Cody Riley (Sr., 10.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg), G David Singleton (Sr., 4.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg), G Jaylen Clark (So., 2.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg), F Jake Kyman (Jr., 3.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg), F Mac Etienne (So., 2.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Kenneth Nwuba (Jr., 0.1 ppg, 0.9 rpg)

New guys: F Myles Johnson (Rutgers transfer, Sr., 8.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg), F Peyton Watson (five-star freshman), G Will McClendon (four-star freshman)

Who’s gone: F Chris Smith (12.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg), F Jalen Hill (6.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg)

Upside: Not only did UCLA bring nearly everyone back, but the Bruins also added all-Big Ten defensive pick the rim-protecting Johnson and a potential NBA lottery pick in Watson. The matchup nightmares caused by Juzang and Jaquez should continue, too.

Downside: It’s easy to forget that before the Bruins made the Final Four last season, they lost their final three regular-season games and lost in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals to Oregon State. This season, everyone will be motivated to play their best against them, too.

He said it: “We don’t ever talk about that we’ve got to get back (to the Final Four), that we lost to Gonzaga on a bank shot. We just don’t have those talks about big goals. We just try to stay focused on getting better, and (we) make it about them.” — Cronin

2. Oregon

Stock: Blue chip. Dana Altman had the transfer portal wired even before it became a thing, meaning big losses last spring won’t hurt once again.

Game vs. UA: Feb. 19 at McKale Center

Coach: Dana Altman (280-110 in 11 seasons at Oregon, 690-353 in 32 seasons overall)

Last season: 21-7 overall; 14-4 Pac-12 (1st), lost to USC in NCAA Sweet 16

Go-to guys: G Will Richardson (Sr., 11.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.9 apg), F Eric Williams (Sr., 10.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg), F Quincy Guerrier (Syracuse transfer, Jr., 13.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg), G De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma transfer, Jr., 12.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.1 apg)

Other returnees: C Franck Kepnang (So., 2.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.1 bpg), C N’Faly Dante (Jr., 8.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), F Lok Wur (So., 1.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg)

Other new guys: G Jacob Young (Rutgers transfer, Sr., 14.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.4 apg), C Nate Bittle (five-star freshman), G Rivaldo Soares (juco transfer), C Isaac Johnson (four-star freshman)

Who’s gone: F Chris Duarte (17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), F Eugene Omoruyi (17.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg), F LJ Figueroa (12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), G Amauri Hardy (3.9 ppg, 2.2 apg), F Chandler Lawson (4.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, transferred to Memphis), G Jalen Terry (2.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg, transferred to DePaul)

Upside: The Ducks should be elite defensively inside, with Bittle joining Dante and Kepnang, and Altman will have plenty of flexibility to deploy Williams, Guerrier and Harmon wherever they can exploit matchups. Richardson is one of the Pac-12’s steadiest players, joined in the backcourt this season by Young, the younger brother of former Ducks standout Joseph Young.

Downside: While the Ducks are almost always there at the end of the season, sometimes it takes Altman a while to develop chemistry and a flow to his ever-switching, multi-faceted defense. The high number of transfers suggests he will need some time with this bunch.

He said it: “We’ve got a good group of guys. With so many new guys it’s taking a little longer and frustrates players and the coaches sometimes, but I think if we keep working at it, we have a chance to be OK.” — Altman

Guard Will Richardson returns to an Oregon roster that is expected to be among the best in the Pac-12.

3. USC

Stock: Steady. Despite the loss of lottery pick Evan Mobley, this team is still heavy on talent and experience.

Games vs. Arizona: Jan. 2 at Los Angeles; Feb. 5 at McKale Center

Coach: Andy Enfield (157-109 in eight seasons at USC, 198-138 in 10 seasons overall)

Last season: 25-8 overall; 15-5 Pac-12 (2nd), lost to Gonzaga in NCAA Elite Eight

Go-to guys: F Isaiah Mobley (Jr, 9.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg), F Drew Peterson (Sr., 9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.8 apg), G Boogie Ellis (Memphis transfer, Jr., 10.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.5 apg

Other returnees: F Isaiah White (7.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg), F Chevez Goodwin (5.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg), G Ethan Anderson (Jr., 5.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.2 apg), G Reese Waters (So., 0.5 ppg, 0.6 rpg), F Max Agbonkpolo (Jr., 3.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg), F Boubicar Coulibaly (So., 1.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg), F Joshua Morgan (Jr., 0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg)

Other new guys: G Malik Thomas (four-star freshman), F Harrison Hornery (three-star freshman), G Kobe Johnson (three-star freshman)

Who’s gone: C Evan Mobley (16.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg), G Tahj Eaddy (13.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg), G Noah Baumann (3.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg, transferred to Georgia)

Upside: Mobile and versatile, Isaiah Mobley could jump out of the shadow of his younger brother with a bigger offensive role. The perimeter has vastly different looks with the big-bodied Thompson, the speedy Ellis and the long Peterson. Collectively, USC’s depth and mobility could lead to a more uptempo pace.

Downside: The Trojans were not known for exceeding expectations before Evan Mobley arrived and turbocharged USC’s efficiency on both ends of the court.

He said it: “We still have a big front line. We also have big wings … and the freshmen guards are all big. So I think we’ll be a little more dynamic. We have always tried to play to our strengths offensively and defensively. I think this year’s team will have some similarities, but I think we have more flexibility of how we play — whether we play big or small at times.” — Enfield

4 (tie). Arizona

Stock: Hold. The Wildcats may need time to mesh with Tommy Lloyd’s new system but a strong core of returnees means this is not a total rebuild.

Coach: Tommy Lloyd (first year as head coach)

Last season: 17-9 overall; 11-9 Pac-12 (5th)

Go-to guys: F Bennedict Mathurin (So., 10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg), F Azuolas Tubelis (So. 12.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg)

Other returnees: Kerr Kriisa (So., 5.5 ppg, 2.4 apg), G Dalen Terry (So., 4.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), C Christian Koloko (5.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg), F Tautvilas Tubelis (So., 0.2 ppg, 0.2 rpg)

New guys: C Oumar Ballo (So., Gonzaga transfer, 2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg), F Kim Aiken (Sr., Eastern Washington transfer, 11.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg), G Pelle Larsson (So., Utah transfer, 8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg), G Justin Kier (Sr., Georgia transfer, 9.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 apg), G Shane Nowell (four-star freshman), G Adama Bal (four-star freshman from France)

Who’s gone: G James Akinjo (15.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 5.4 apg, transferred to Baylor), G Jemarl Baker (12.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, transferred to Fresno State), G Terrell Brown (7.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, transferred to Washington), F Ira Lee (3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, transferred to George Washington), F Daniel Batcho (DNP, transferred to Texas Tech)

Upside: A more free-flowing style could benefit the games of Mathurin, Terry and Koloko, while additions of transfers Larsson, Aiken and Kier bring much-needed experience and leadership. Kriisa appears to be a born leader, too.

Downside: There’s only three true post players, though one of them is consistently productive Azuolas Tubelis. And even if Larsson returns quickly after August foot surgery, giving the Wildcats experience and talent at both guard spots, there isn’t much depth at the point.

He said it: “I’ve been around a lot of really good teams, and I think this team has a chance to be in that category. … Rebuild, refresh — it may be a combination of all those things, but we’ve got a great core group of guys back that have been awesome to deal with, and I think recruiting-wise, we were able to add pieces that’ll help us win games.” — Lloyd

4 (tie). Oregon State Stock: Rising. Their surprise Elite Eight run last season may have shown the Beavers can make it work with transfers, kind of like their Willamette Valley neighbors in Eugene.

Games vs. UA: Dec. 5 at Corvallis, Oregon; Feb. 17 at McKale Center

Coach: Wayne Tinkle (113-109 in seven seasons at OSU; 271-200 in 15 seasons overall)

Last season: 20-13 overall; 10-10 Pac-12 (T-6th), lost to Houston in NCAA Elite Eight

Go-to guys: G Jarod Lucas (Jr., 12.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg), F Warith Alatishe (Sr., 9.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg)

Other returnees: F Maurice Calloo (Sr., 5.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg), G Gianni Hunt (Jr., 5.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.7 apg), C Roman Silva (Sr., 5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg), F Rodrigue Andela (Sr., 4.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg)

New guys: G Ahmad Rand (Memphis transfer, Jr., 0.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg), G Dashawn Davis (juco transfer, Jr.), G Dexter Akanno (Marquette transfer, Jr., 0.7 ppg, 0.6 rpg), G Tre’ Williams (Minnesota transfer, Jr., 5.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Xzavier Malone-Key (Fairleigh Dickenson transfer, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg), C Chol Marial (Maryland transfer, Jr., 1.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg), F Isaiah Johnson (So., 1.4 ppg, 0.9 rpg), F Glenn Taylor Jr. (three-star freshman)

Who’s gone: G Ethan Thompson (15.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Zach Reichle (7.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

Upside: The most skilled player from the Elite Eight run last season, Ethan Thompson, is gone, but OSU returns one of the Pac-12’s best frontcourts with two 7-footers and the defense and rebounding of Alatishe inside. They also have an array of zone defensive schemes that can throw teams out of rhythm.

Downside: Peel back the Beavers’ hot postseason, and you may recall they played .500 ball in the Pac-12 regular season — including a 34-point loss to Arizona in Corvallis. Plus, the sons of coaches Wayne Tinkle (Tres) and Stephen Thompson (Stevie and Ethan) are gone.

He said it: “We really felt like it wasn’t just a flash — that we’ve been building toward it. We’ve done a lot of really good things and made a lot of firsts in a long time. So it was neat to see it kind of culminate in a run like that and really made us proud of the group that bought in, and we also want to remember the guys that really laid the foundation for that to occur.” — Tinkle

6. Colorado

Stock: Hold. The Buffaloes keep doing it the old-fashioned way — by developing recruits out of high school and managing to keep them around for a while.

Game vs. UA: Jan. 13 at McKale; Feb. 26 at Boulder, Colorado

Coach: Tad Boyle (233-143, 11 seasons at Colorado; 285-185 in 14 seasons overall)

Last season: 23-9 overall; 14-6 Pac-12 (3rd)

Go-to guys: F Evan Battey (Sr., 10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg), F Jabari Walker (7.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

Other returnees: G Eli Parquet (Sr., 5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg), G Keeshawn Barthelemy (So., 3.7 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 1.3 apg) F Tristan da Silva (2.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg), F Nique Clifford (So., 1.0 ppg, 0.3), F Luke O’Brien (So., 1.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg)

New guys: C Lawson Lovering (four-star freshman), F Quincy Allen (four-star freshman), G K.J. Simpson (four-star freshman), G Julian Hammond (three-star freshman) or G Javon Ruffin (three-star freshman)

Who’s gone: G McKinley Wright (15.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.7 apg), F D’Shawn Schwartz (9.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, transferred to George Mason), F Jeriah Horne (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, transferred to Tulsa, C Dallas Walton (6.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, transferred to Wake Forest)

Upside: Even without Wright, the Buffaloes still have enough experience and talent to compete for a top-four spot in the Pac-12. Battey is a do-it-all force inside, Parquet is one of the league’s best defenders, and Walker is a breakout candidate on the wing.

Downside: A potential replacement for Wright at point guard, Western Carolina transfer Mason Faulkner, signed with CU and then flipped to Louisville. That puts more pressure on Barthelemy to make a big jump after a limited role last season while Simpson, a former UA signee who was released from his letter of intent after Sean Miller was fired, may need to help.

He said it: “The standard has been set. We always want to be in the top three in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin. If we can do that, we’re going to be in pretty darn good shape because we’ve recruited some really talented offensive players. As we all know, offense comes and offense goes, but we can defend and rebound every night.” — Boyle

7. Arizona State

Stock: Risky. Sun Devils were a chemistry bomb last season, but there’s enough talent remaining plus an infusion of transfers to suggest a high upside if things settle down.

Games vs. UA: Jan. 8 at Tempe; Jan. 29 at McKale Center

Coach: Bobby Hurley (104-83 in six seasons at ASU, 146-103 in eight seasons overall)

Last season: 11-14 overall, 7-10 Pac-12 (T-9th)

Go-to guys: G Marreon Jackson (Sr., Toledo transfer, 18.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.9 apg), F Marcus Bagley (So., 10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg)

Other returnees: G Luther Muhammad (Jr., missed last season after shoulder surgery), F Jalen Graham (Jr., 8.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg), F Kimani Lawrence (Sr., 8.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

Other new guys: C Enoch Boakye (four-star freshman from Canada), F Alonzo Gaffney (Jr., juco and Ohio State transfer), F Will Felton (three-star freshman), G DJ Horne (So., Illinois State transfer, 15.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg), G Jay Heath (Jr., Boston College transfer, 14.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.8 apg), G Justin Rochelin (three-star freshman), G Demari Williams (three-star freshman), F Jamiya Neal (three-star freshman)

Who’s gone: G Josh Christopher (14.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg), G Remy Martin (19.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, transferred to Kansas), G Alonzo Verge (14.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, transferred to Nebraska), G Holland Woods (6.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, transferred to Grand Canyon)

Upside: Boakye and Gaffney should help the Sun Devils improve their woeful rebounding and interior defense last season. The 2020-21 Mid-American POY, Jackson has the confidence, experience and talent to take over Martin’s featured role.

Downside: The face of the “Guard U” Sun Devils, Martin pulled out of the NBA draft — and opted to play his last college season at Kansas. That’s not a great sign. There’s no guarantee all the newcomers and their respective agendas will mesh, either.

He said it: “At times last year, I was scared to death when I had to go out and see just what we looked like in the warm-ups compared to what our opponent looked like, so I think that’ll be an instant gratification for me, knowing that we do have that size.” — Hurley

8. Washington State

Stock: Rising. Cougars keep upgrading their talent level under third-year coach Kyle Smith, who has a track record of maximizing it partly via analytics.

Game vs. UA: Feb. 10 at Pullman, Washington

Coach: Kyle Smith (30-29 in two seasons at WSU, 194-151 in 11 seasons overall)

Last season: 14-13 overall; 7-12 Pac-12 (10th)

Go-to guys: G Michael Flowers (South Alabama transfer, Sr., 21.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg), F Efe Abogidi (So., 14.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg), G Noah Williams (Jr., 14.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg)

Other returnees: C Dishon Jackson (So., 7.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg)., G Jefferson Koulibaly (Fr., DNP/arm injury), G TJ Bamba (So., 4.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg), F DJ Rodman (Jr., 6.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Andrej Jakimovski (So., 5.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg), F Carlos Rosario (So., 0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg), F Tony Miller (Sr., 1.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg), G Ryan Rapp (Jr., 3.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg)

Other new guys: F Mouhamed Gueye (four-star freshman), G Tyrell Roberts (UC San Diego transfer, Jr., 19.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.1 apg), G Myles Rice (three-star freshman)

Who’s gone: G Isaac Bonton (17.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg), F Aljaz Kunc (6.3 ppg, 4.3, transferred to Iowa State)

Upside: Williams is a potential breakout star, Flowers should compensate for the loss of Bonton, and Gueye is one of the Cougars’ most talented recruits ever.

Downside: WSU’s analytics actually need some work. Last season, Cougars were dreadful with ball control, losing the ball 21.6% of the time, and they could not shoot well within the arc, making just 45.7% of two-point shots.

He said it: “I think our talent is there. It’s just experience is where we’re still lacking. We’re still very youthful. … We have to address some ball-handling issues, which we have. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll have to play with some expectations. It’s a process for us, and I think we will compete.” — Smith

9. Stanford

Stock: Sliding. Upgraded recruiting under Jerod Haase still hasn’t translated into much success on the court.

Game vs. UA: Jan. 20 at Stanford, California; March 3 at McKale Center

Coach: Jerod Haase (82-74 in five seasons at Stanford, 182-149 in nine seasons overall)

Last season: 14-13 overall; 10-10 Pac-12 (T-6th)

Go-to guys: F Jaiden Delaire (Sr., 12.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg), F Harrison Ingram (five-star freshman).

Other returnees: G Michael O’Connell (So., 6.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg), G Noah Taitz (So., 3.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg), F Spencer Jones (Jr., 8.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg), F Max Murrell (So, 2.3 ppg, 0.9 rpg.), F Brandon Angel (So., 1.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg), F James Keefe (Jr., 1.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg), C Lukas Kisunas (Sr., 3.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg), C Keenan Fitzmorris (So., 0.0 ppg, 0.2 rpg)

Other new guys: G Isa Silva (four-star freshman), G Jarvis Moss (three-star freshman), F Maxime Reynaud (three-star freshman from France)

Who’s gone: F Ziaire Williams (10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G Daejon Davis (10.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, transferred to Washington), F Oscar da Silva (18.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg), G Bryce Wills (7.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg)

Upside: With the talented Ingram joining veteran forwards Jaiden Delaire and Spencer Jones, the Cardinal could have one of the better frontcourts in the league. Michael McConnell was a mild breakout surprise at point guard.

Downside: The Cardinal still have not made an NCAA Tournament under Haase, though it probably would have if the 2020 event had not been canceled. Last season, Stanford faced possibly the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in college basketball, forced to play five home games in a neighboring county, but its women’s team managed to win it all.

He said it: “Last year, I think we had a really special group put together in terms of talent. We did have our challenges, and those have been well-documented. We did fizzle out a little bit late. I would say that I’ve reflected back on the situation, and we’ll make adjustments when I think it’s necessary.” — Haase

10. Utah

Stock: Long-term potential. Lured from Utah State, Craig Smith will need time after Larry Krystkowiak’s firing left the cupboard empty.

Games vs. UA: Jan. 15 at McKale Center; Feb. 24 at Salt Lake City

Coach: Craig Smith (first season at Utah; 153-179 overall)

Last season: 12-13 overall, 8-11 Pac-12 (T-8th)

Go-to guys: G David Jenkins (Sr., UNLV transfer, 14.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg), C Branden Carlson (Jr., 9.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg)

Other returnees: F Riley Battin (Sr.., 6.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg),: G Jaxon Brenchley (Jr., 0.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg), F Lahat Thioune (Jr., 1.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg). G Jaxon Brenchley (Jr., 0.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg)

Other new guys: G Both Gach (Sr., Minnesota transfer, 6.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 apg), F Dusan Mahorcic, (Sr, Illinois State transfer, 9.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.0 apg), G Marco Anthony (Sr., Utah State transfer, 10.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.1 apg), G Rollie Worster (So., Utah State transfer, 9.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.5 apg), G Gabe Madsen (So., Cincinnati transfer, 1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg), F Bostyn Holt (Jr., juco transfer), F Lazar Stefanovic (freshman from Serbia)

Who’s gone: F Timmy Allen (17.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, transferred to Texas), G Alfonso Plummer (13.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, transferred to Illinois), G Pelle Larsson (8.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, transferred to Arizona), G Rylan Jones (4.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg, transferred to Utah State), F Mikael Jantunen (8.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, professional basketball), G Ian Martinez (5.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, transferred to Maryland)

Upside: Worster and Jenkins bring experience to the backcourt while Carlson is developing into one of the Pac-12’s best big men, and Battin is a tough-minded stretch-four.

Downside: Gach’s boomerang return to Utah after a season in Minnesota was a surprise, but the Utes still need more talent to make a significant splash in the Pac-12 right away.

He said it: “I know this: We’ve got a group of guys that have an attitude that craves improvement. They give energy back to our coaching staff, and hopefully we do the same for those guys. I’m excited. We’ve gotten a lot better in a short amount of time, and I can’t wait to see where this team goes.” — Smith

11. Washington

Stock: Falling. Two woeful seasons have eroded away the equity coach Mike Hopkins earned as the Pac-12’s Coach of the Year in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Games vs. UA: Dec. 2 at McKale Center; Feb. 12 at Seattle

Coach: Mike Hopkins (68-20 in four seasons at Washington and overall)

Last season: 5-21 overall, 4-16 (11th) in Pac-12

Go-to guys: G Daejon Davis (Sr., Stanford transfer, 10.3 ppp, 3.2 rpg, 2.9 apg), G Jamal Bey (Sr., 10.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Other returnees: G Cole Bajema (Jr., 3.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), C Nate Roberts (Jr., 5.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg), C Riley Sorn (Jr., 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.8 bpg)

Other new guys: G Terrell Brown (Sr., Arizona transfer, 7.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 apg), F Emmitt Matthews Jr. (Sr., West Virginia transfer, 7.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.1 apg), G PJ Fuller (Jr., TCU transfer, 5.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.5 apg), F Langston Wilson (Jr., juco transfer), F Samuel Ariyibi (freshman from Nigeria), C Jackson Grant (four-star freshman), G Dominiq Penn (freshman)

Who’s gone: G Marcus Tsohonis (10.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, transferred to VCU), G Erik Stevenson (9.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, transferred to South Carolina), F Hameir Wright (6.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, transferred to North Texas), G RaeQuan Battle (4.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, transferred to Montana State), G Nate Pryor (4.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, transferred to New Mexico State), F J’Raan Brooks (3.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg, transferred to UC San Diego)

Upside: The influx of Pac-12 veterans Davis and Brown, plus a veteran shooter in Bey, could give the Huskies one of the league’s better backcourts while Grant is a McDonald’s All-American who will help shape up the interior.

Downside: Washington’s roster overhaul was significant, counting even the two assistant coaches who were replaced by former Husky star Quincy Pondexter and former Cal coach Wyking Jones. But change was necessary.

He said it: “We added experience, we’ve got length and athleticism. We still have a long way to go because we’re learning a new system. But when you have leadership like (Bey and Roberts) who have helped the newer guys with how we’re going to do things, how we operate, how the coaching staff is, I think it’s been to our advantage. So we’re really excited about this season.” — Hopkins

12. Cal Stock: Stagnant. Bears flashed some promise in Mark Fox’s first season of 2019-20, then struggled under severe COVID restrictions last season — and lost their best player, Matt Bradley, after the season.

Games vs. UA: Jan. 23 at Berkeley, California; March 5 at McKale Center

Coach: Mark Fox (309-214 in 16 seasons overall, 23-38 in two seasons at Cal)

Last season: 9-20 overall; 3-17 Pac-12 (12th)

Go-to guys: F Andre Kelly (Sr., 10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg), F Grant Anticevich (Sr., 8.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

Other returnees: G Makale Foreman (Sr., 7.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg), G Joel Brown (Jr., 5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.1 apg), G Jarred Hyder (Jr., 5.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.8 apg), F Kuany Kuany (Jr., 2.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg), G Jalen Celestine (So., 2.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg), G Dimitrios Klonares (Jr., 1.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg), G Monty Bowser (So., 0.8 ppg, 0.3 rpg), C Lars Theimann (Jr., 2.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg) F D.J. Thorpe (Jr., 1.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg)

New guys: G Jordan Shepherd (Sr., Charlotte transfer, 11.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg), G Marsalis Roberson (three-star freshman), F Sam Alajiki (freshman from Ireland), F Obinna Anyanwu (three-star freshman)

Who’s gone: G Matt Bradley (18.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, transferred to San Diego State), G Ryan Betley (8.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg)

Upside: The Bears were actually more efficient both offensively and defensively last season than in 2019-20, and they now have one of the Pac-12’s most veteran rosters. That should count for something.

Downside: Bradley’s loss should make the Bears more balanced — he took 30% of the Bears’ shots last season — but Cal simply does not have a lot of high-level talent without him.

He said it: “These guys have a grateful approach to what you’re allowed to do every day because last year a lot of it was taken away. They’re grateful, and they really continue to battle forward. That’s created an environment within our team that I think will allow us to improve.” — Fox

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or bpascoe@tucson.com. On Twitter @brucepascoe

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or bpascoe@tucson.com. On Twitter @brucepascoe


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