Pac-12: Men’s basketball outlook

Here’s how Herald writer Scott M. Johnson sees this year’s Pac-12 men’s race shaping up:

1) California

Jorge Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe are conference’s best 1-2 combination … and that might be enough.

2) Arizona

Took Wildcats time to move on from Derrick Williams, but they’re finding their rhythm.

3) Stanford

Most pleasant surprise of non-conference season has enough experience and depth to challenge for title.

4) UCLA

Bruins got better when Reeves Nelson left … but will they miss him at some point?

5) Washington

Questionable frontcourt and leadership void leave Huskies as long shots for regular-season title.

6) Oregon State

Beavers have enough talent to challenge for title, but they’re still maddeningly inconsistent.

7) Washington State

Cougars have moved on rather nicely despite losses of Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto … so far.

8) Oregon

Once considered title contenders, Ducks suffered several blows — on and off the court — during their non-conference schedule.

9) Southern Cal

Same old story in Troy: plenty of new faces, and outcome depends on how quickly they come together.

10) Colorado

Had Alec Burks stuck around, Buffs would’ve challenged for Pac-12 title; without him, they’ll just try to stay out of cellar.

11) Arizona State

Trent Lockett getting some scoring help from super-soph Keala King, but will it be enough?

12) Utah

Went 13-18 as Mountain West team last year, and competition should be tougher.

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Scott M. Johnson’s picks for the 2011-12 All-Pac 12 men’s basketball team:

G Trent Lockett, Arizona State

G Jorge Gutierrez, Cal

F Terrence Ross, UW

F Allen Crabbe, Cal

F Jared Cunningham, Oregon State

3 POSSIBLE X-FACTORS

Three less-heralded players who may end up having an impact on this year’s Pac-12 race:

G Tony Wroten Jr., Washington

G Reggie Moore, Washington State

F Solomon Hill, Arizona

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