Teams like Duke, Louisville, and Arizona will have something to say about it and a conference that’s clearly being regarded as “soft” is the Pac-12. Let’s take a look.
We look at the future odds for NCAA Teams to win the National Championship and where the Pac-12 is concerned, we see Arizona at +2000, Colorado at +5000, and the famed UCLA at +7500!! That tells us that this is a down year for the Pac-12.
Arizona Wildcats +2000
Head coach Sean Miller and his staff couldn’t have done a better job in recruiting as they land 2- 5 star-recruits in power forward, Aaron Gordon and small forward, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
As the number 4 recruit in the nation, Gordon immediately becomes the Cats best player as Arizona has lost some talent to the NBA.
Gordon is a competitor to the core. His athleticism and ability to play big at 6 foot 8, 210 pounds, will provide Arizona with one of the best frontcourts in the nation. Gordon has great hands, can rebound, play defense, and will be around the basket for tip-ins. Expect to see some highlight dunks from Gordon , but more importantly for the Wildcats, expect a dominating presence down low.
Rondae Hollis- Jefferson
Jefferson was rated the # 21 recruit in the nation and the 5 -star phenom is quite similar to Gordon in build at 6 foot 7, 215 pounds. He has the length of Tayshawn Prince and the strength of Blake Griffin. Jefferson is a left-handed player that can make great decisions and is a great ball-handler. Whether a starter or coming off of the bench, Holis-Jefferson will see major minutes on this packed team.
As the #82 recruit in ESPN’s top 100 recruits, Pitts will be hard pressed to get much playing time at all, but will be able to step in when needed as he gets on the job training.
Most Important Man on the Court
Point guard, T.J. McConnell will have the unenviable task of quarterbacking a team with great depth. McConnell rarely makes a mistake and this transfer from U.of Duquense will have players like Kaleb Tarczewski, Nick Johnson, and Brandon Ashley at his disposal.
This team is dominant is far and away the best team in the conference. To get them at 20/1 is a bargain!
Colorado Buffaloes +5000
The Buffaloes had a respectable 21 win season that saw them make an early exit in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament to the Illinois Fighting Illini.
With almost all of their starters returning, this will be a vastly improved team. The Buffaloes however do lose double-double man, Andre Roberson, to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Leading scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie (15.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3 apg) leads the Buffaloes as they add freshman Tre’shaun Fletcher into the mix.
Fletcher, the 84th ranked recruit in ESPN’s top 100, will see some playing time depending on his ability to mesh with the returnees. Fletcher has polished offensive skills and has a great 1st step off the dribble in making life tough for opposing defenses.
The experience on this team will take them farther into the tournament, but they’re simply not in Arizona’s class.
UCLA Bruins +7500
Muhammad To the NBA
It’s very rare that you see a Bruins team at this type of betting odds. UCLA loses Shabazz Muhammad to the NBA Draft and that was expected. That said, Muhammad was expected to go higher than the 14th position as he was a top recruit last season.
The Bruins are coming off of a very disappointing 2012-2013 season in which they were crushed in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament by 20 points to Minnesota as a 6th seed. Everyone in the country knew that Muhammad was a 1 year deal and the Bruins will look to replace his 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
UCLA should be much better than their future odds indicate. They have the trio of Jordan Adams (15.3 ppg, 2.2 spg), Travis Wear (10.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg), and Kyle Anderson (9.7 ppg, 8.6 ppg, 3.5 apg) all returning for the 2013-2014 season.
Incoming recruit, Zach Lavine, should make his presence felt as Lavine is the 50th ranked player in ESPN’s top 100 recruits. Lavine is a big-time scorer and the Bruins need to replace points. Lavine is slight in build, but is lengthy and UCLA hopes that his stay Pauley Pavillion is a long one.
Stay Tuned for more NCAA Basketball updates.