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2013-14 College Basketball Preview: Pac-12
By: Mark Kern - StatFox
Published: 11/3/2013  at  2:32:00 AM
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The 2013-14 college basketball season tips off Friday, Nov. 8, and StatFox has you covered by previewing all the major conferences with predicted standings. The Pac-12 continues the run of the big conference previews. Last season, the Pac-12 was considered a disappointment during the regular season, but had decent success in the NCAA Tournament with Arizona and Oregon making it to the Sweet 16. The Wildcats are once again getting the headlines with a recruiting class led by star freshman Aaron Gordon, but there are plenty of other talented players in the conference such as Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado), Mike Moser (Oregon) and Jahii Carson (Arizona State) that are all capable of taking their respective schools to the top of the Pac-12.

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PAC-12 CONFERENCE 2013-14 PREVIEW

Arizona right now is getting the majority of the hype, but the Pac-12 as a whole should be the best it has been in the past five seasons.

Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Arizona
2. Colorado
3. Oregon
4. Arizona State
5. UCLA
6. California
7. Arizona State
8. Washington
9. Stanford
10. Oregon State
11. Utah
12. Washington State

ARIZONA WILDCATS
2012-13 SU Record: 77% (27-8)
2012-13 ATS Record: 52% (17-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 30% (7-16-1)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 16/1

Last season, the Wildcats made an impressive run in the NCAA Tournament, making it to the Sweet 16 before losing to Ohio State, which hit a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation. While that was a nice run by the Wildcats, this team is expected to go much farther this season despite bringing back just one starter. That guy is shooting guard Nick Johnson (11.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.2 APG), and he will be counted upon more early in the season as the newcomers get adjusted to the level of play. Johnson is an explosive athlete with a vertical jump well above 40 inches, and can be one of the best on-ball defenders in the conference with his lateral speed. However, it is freshman SF Aaron Gordon that has this team considered a legitimate Final Four contender. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound freshman has power forward size with small forward skills. He steps into college basketball as one of the most athletic players in the country from day one. Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell will step into the point guard role, and unlike last season when Mark Lyons was running the show, the Wildcats will have a traditional pass-first point guard. With Johnson and Gordon running on the break with McConnell, the Wildcats will be a nightmare to stop in the open court. They also have a couple of talented glass-eating sophomores down low in PF Brandon Ashley (7.5 PPG, 53% FG, 5.3 RPG) and seven-foot C Kaleb Tarczewski (6.6 PPG, 54% FG, 6.1 RPG). If this team brings it on the defensive end every night, it could be a special season in Tucson for head coach Sean Miller.

COLORADO BUFFALOES
2012-13 SU Record: 64% (21-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 55% (17-14)
2012-13 Over (Total): 38% (6-10)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 125/1

Despite losing Andre Roberson to the NBA, the Buffaloes should be even better than last season's NCAA Tournament team. SG Spencer Dinwiddie (15.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.0 APG) has a chance to be one of the elite guards in all of the country. The bigger the game, the better he is going to play, as he is the unquestioned star on the Colorado team. He spent time in the summer playing with the United States U-20 team, and he has come back more explosive than he was last season. He will be looking to shoot better from three-point line this season, as he hit only 33% of his attempts from deep last season, compared to 43 % two seasons ago. He will be joined in the backcourt by junior PG Askia Booker (12.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.2 APG), who is very good at getting to the basket and making plays for both himself and teammates. He is fearless when driving to the rack, and has the ability to take over games. However, the guy to look out for is 6-foot-7 freshman swingman Chris Jenkins. He is a very talented player, that has not gotten the publicity like Aaron Gordon of Arizona, but by the end of the season, could be a household name. C Josh Scott (10.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG) and SF Xavier Johnson (8.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 44% 3-pt FG) are two sophomores on the rise.

OREGON DUCKS
2012-13 SU Record: 76% (28-9)
2012-13 ATS Record: 47% (16-18-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 41% (9-13)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 55/1

Last season, the Ducks made it to the Sweet 16 as a No. 12 seed before falling to eventual champion Louisville. While they have only two starters back, those two starters happen to make up what should be the best backcourt in the conference. PG Dominic Artis (8.5 PPG, 3.2 APG, 1.5 SPG) and SG Damyean Dotson (11.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG) were tremendous together last season despite both being freshmen. Artis is an ultra-quick point guard that is able to get by most defenders, and despite being just 6-foot-1, he is very good at finishing at the rim. Dotson is more of pure scorer, but is also called upon to guard the opposing teamís best offensive player. UNLV transfer PF Mike Moser (7.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG) is coming off a disappointing 2012-2013 season for the Runniní Rebels, but just two seasons ago, averaged a double-double with 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG. If he can get back to that form, the Ducks could advance farther than they did last season.

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
2012-13 SU Record: 63% (22-13)
2012-13 ATS Record: 62% (18-11-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 33% (4-8)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1

Herb Sendek has the Sun Devils program on the rise, making it to the NIT semifinals last season before falling to Baylor. With only two starters back, there are questions on whether or not Arizona State can take it to the next level and reach the NCAA Tournament. However, star PG Jahii Carson (18.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.7 RPG) has the ability to carry this team on his back a long way. He is one of the most complete point guards in all of the country, with the ability to both score the ball as well as set up teammates for easy baskets. Joining him in the backcourt will be Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall (15.3 PPG) who can score in bunches. SF Jonathan Gilling (9.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 37% 3-pt FG) is a strong shooter from downtown, and 7-foot-2 Senior C Jordan Bachysnki (9.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.4 BPG) is outstanding at the rim, setting a Pac-12 record with 120 blocks last season. If he steps up his offensive game to become a consistent 12-to-15 point scorer, Arizona State will be tough to beat.

UCLA BRUINS
2012-13 SU Record: 71% (25-10)
2012-13 ATS Record: 42% (14-19-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 46% (10-12)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 80/1

The Steve Alford era begins at UCLA this season as he comes over from being the head coach at New Mexico. Luckily for Alford, there is still a lot of talent on the Bruins team. Swingman Kyle Anderson (9.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.5 APG) is a complete player that can take over a game in many different ways. At 6-foot-9, he can play four different positions on the court. His versatility allows other players like SG Jordan Adams (15.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG) to play off the ball, where he is at his best. Adams is as good of scorer as there is in the country, netting at least 20 points in 11 games. This duo can be one of the most prolific in all of the country, and if they play up to their talents, UCLA can be good enough to contend for the Pac-12. Bigger things are also expected out of 6-foot-10 senior twins Travis Wear (10.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG) and David Wear (7.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG).

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
2012-13 SU Record: 64% (21-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 52% (15-14-2)
2012-13 Over (Total): 41% (9-13)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 200/1

The Golden Bears return four starters from a team that made it to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament last season. Senior combination guard Justin Cobbs (15.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.5 RPG) is the teamís leading returning scorer. At 6-foot-3, Cobbs has very good size for a point guard, and is terrific at getting to the free-throw line, where he shoots 84 percent from the stripe. Six-foot-10 senior PF Richard Solomon (8.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG) gives Cal the type of player that will do anything necessary to help the team out. The Golden Bears will miss the scoring of Allen Crabbe, but have enough talent and depth with SF David Kravish (7.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG) and SG Tyrone Wallace (7.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG), plus stud freshman SF Jabari Bird, to contend for another NCAA Tournament berth.

USC TROJANS
2012-13 SU Record: 44% (14-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 39% (11-17-3)
2012-13 Over (Total): 58% (11-8)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 500/1

Like their cross-town rivals, the Trojans have a new coach in Andy Enfield, who took Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 last season. Senior SG J.T. Terrell (11.7 PPG, 36% 3-pt FG) gives Enfield a guy that proved at the end of last season that he can become a big-time scorer. He poured in at least 10 points in the Trojansí final 11 games of the season, and will be looked upon to continue that streak. The buzz around the program has been the play of freshman guard Julian Jacobs, who has the ability to play both guard positions. If he and returning junior SG Byron Wesley (10.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 40% 3-pt FG) are able to play up to their potential, then USC should have a very formidable backcourt in Enfield's up-tempo system along with Maryland transfer PG Pe'Shon Howard, who had twice as many assists as turnovers last season. The frontcourt is thin, but 7-foot-2 C Omar Oraby (6.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 61% FG in 14.6 MPG) is improving.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES
2012-13 SU Record: 53% (18-16)
2012-13 ATS Record: 52% (16-15-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 37% (7-12)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 300/1

Lorenzo Romar is looking to get the Huskies back to the NCAA Tournament, and he has one of the most talented players in the conference on his side. SG C.J. Wilcox (16.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 37% 3-pt FG) is one of the top shooters in all of the country. He is able to shoot the ball off the dribble, as well as off the screen. However, he is not one-dimensional, as he is a very good defensive player as well. PF Shawn Kemp Jr. (6.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 53% FG) started to play much better as the season wore on, and will need to continue that improvement this season to give the Huskies a second option. Like his dad, Kemp Jr. is a big time leaper that could be a terrific rebounder, and he will be counted upon to dominate the glass. SF Desmond Simmons (4.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG) is also fierce on the boards and the team is very excited about freshman PG Nigel Williams-Goss who has the size (6-foot-4) and strength to control the game.

STANFORD CARDINAL
2012-13 SU Record: 56% (19-15)
2012-13 ATS Record: 44% (14-18)
2012-13 Over (Total): 47% (9-10)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 200/1

The Cardinal will look to right the ship in the sixth season under head coach Johnny Dawkins, and they will count on junior SG Chasson Randle (13.6 PPG, 2.6 APG, 36% 3-pt FG) to help them take the next step. Randle can score in bunches, and is not afraid to take the ball in among the big men. Stanford also has a star in the frontcourt in PF Dwight Powell (14.9, PPG, 8.4 RPG, 46% 3-pt FG), who is a terrific offensive player, that is able to score from anywhere on the court. However, it is his work on the glass that makes him such an important player. He is absolutely relentless on the boards, constantly outworking opponents to get the rebound, and so is and senior SF Josh Huestis (10.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG). Senior PG Aaron Bright (9.3 PPG, 3.4 APG) is a heady floor general but he needs to find his outside stroke, shooting just 32% on threes last season, after knocking down 44% 3-pt FG as a sophomore.

OREGON STATE BEAVERS
2012-13 SU Record: 44% (14-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 50% (13-13-2)
2012-13 Over (Total): 33% (4-8)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

Off the court issues have really hurt the Beavers, as starters PF Devon Collier (12.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 51% FG) and C Eric Moreland (9.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.5 BPG) will be suspended to start the season. While Collierís suspension is only for one game, Moreland is out the first 14 games. This duo was expected to be one of the top rebounding frontcourts in all of the country. For the Beavers to survive without Moreland, they will need SG Roberto Nelson (17.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.4 APG) to play like he did last season. He shot the ball exceptionally well from deep, connecting on 40 percent of his three-point attempts. The Beavers have the experience and talent to be the surprise team in the Pac-12, but Nelson and Collier must step their game up during the non-conference schedule.

UTAH UTES
2012-13 SU Record: 46% (15-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 67% (20-10-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 43% (3-4)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

It may be a very difficult season for the Utes, as they return one starter and bring in seven guys that have not played for a game for the team. Their top returner, SF Jordan Loveridge (12.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 37% 3-pt FG) is only a sophomore. He is your typical staff-stuffer who can influence the game in many different areas. With so many new faces, for the Utes will look for him to push those numbers up to 16 points and 10 rebounds a game to help make up for the other losses on the roster. Another sophomore, 5-foot-10 PG Brandon Taylor (6.9 PPG, 2.0 APG, 42% 3-pt FG) is another guy that has the potential to take his game to the next level.

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
2012-13 SU Record: 41% (13-19)
2012-13 ATS Record: 57% (16-12-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 38% (3-5)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

The Cougars will have to replace standout forward Brock Motum, and a lot of his scoring will fall on the shoulders of junior SG Royce Woolridge. (11.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.7 APG) The former Kansas Jayhawk has found a nice home in Pullman, shooting 38 percent from deep last season, and will be given more shot opportunities now as he becomes the No. 1 option on offense. He is joined in the backcourt by PG DaVonte Lacy (10.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.0 APG). Like Woolridge, Lacy is a very talented shooter from deep (38% 3-pt FG) as he attempted 62 percent of his shots from behind the ar. The Cougars will rely on the three-ball this season as they do not have the inside presence that they did last season.

Other Conference Previews

ATLANTIC COAST Conference
BIG 12 Conference
BIG TEN Conference
PAC-12 Conference
SOUTHEASTERN Conference
OTHER Notable Schools

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