Athlon Sports put UA's Dylan Smith on a regional cover but didn't think too highly of the Wildcats overall.

Not sure what to make of the retooled Arizona Wildcats?

It isn't clear, either, after reading the first two of the major preseason college basketball publications to come out.

Athlon Sports’ college basketball preview picks the Wildcats to finish sixth in the Pac-12, with none of Arizona’s players listed among the top 100 in college basketball, while Lindy's ranked the Wildcats No. 16 overall and second behind Oregon in the Pac-12.

And while Athlon has the Wildcats in the NIT, Lindy's also projected UA to reach the NCAA Sweet 16.

"We know... we are way higher on this team than anybody else," Lindy's wrote. "We're going to get crushed for it, but here's our guess: This roster gets Miller back to his grittier Xavier days, when it was more about defensive toughness and cohesion, and less about getting a bunch of McDonalds All-Americans on the same page."

Lindy's also put Samford grad transfer guard Justin Coleman on its third-team all-Pac-12 team, while Athlon put Pitt grad transfer Ryan Luther on its third team. Neither publication listed any other UA players on its five-man Pac-12 first, second or third teams.

Athlon, meanwhile, also picked Luther the league’s newcomer of the year while Lindy's went with Oregon freshman center Bol Bol.

Among its Top 25, Athlon picked only Oregon (17), Washington (20) and UCLA (21) out of the Pac-12. In picks made by veteran analyst Frank Burlison, Lindy’s put Oregon 13th, UCLA No. 22, USC 26, Utah 27 and Washington 36. 

Three Washington players made Athlon’s list of the Top 100 players, along with nine others around the conference:

24. Kris Wilkes, UCLA; 42 Bol Bol, Oregon; 46. McKinley Wright, Colorado; 68. Noah Dickerson, Washington; 74. Matisse Thybulle, Washington; 78. Tres Tinkle, Oregon State; 79. Bennie Boatwright, USC; 82. Payton Pritchard, Oregon; 84. Jaylen Nowell, Washington; 85. Robert Franks, Washington State; 89. Daejon Davis, Stanford; 94. Jaylen Hands.

Athlon also rated Luther (grad transfer) and Chase Jeter (conventional transfer) among its transfers to watch nationally.


Sean Miller paid a visit to Seattle guard MarJon Beauchamp.


ICMYI, from July, we profiled new UA commit Nico Mannion, who was born six weeks early to parents who were both accomplished athletes.


Terry Armstrong, who is scheduled to visit UA on Oct. 6-7, is checking out Oklahoma.


Bobby Hurley took the Sun Devils for a hike.


Jack Murphy had his Lumberjacks help install smoke alarms. 


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

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball