okay, so the west coast is down big time. But let's look at the teams so far. This is just my highly uneducated opinion so far on what's gone down.
Washington-length and athleticism. Isiah thomas is putting up 20 a night and Quincey Pondexter is finally showing the nba potential he was being given since his freshman year. They are one of the only pac 10 teams to hold a top 25 victory over texas a&m. They are a legit 15-25 team in the nation and should be in. Keep an eye on Venoy Overton, dude is the lockdown perimiter defender and causes havoc by getting into the lane.
Cal-No where near as good as the top 10 team I thought they would be. But they played a tough schedule and just recently got theo robertson back. They will challenge wash for the conference title and get in when it is all said and done.
USC-Just watched a couple replays of their games and pg Mike Gerrity makes all the difference in the world for them. They just handled top 10 Tennessee with him running the show. It was clear he was the mvp of the team and it was his first game of the season. Add in big men Vucevic and Stephenson along with senior sg Dwight Lewis who is one of the better players in the confernce and you have a team that should get in.
Washington St.- Klay thompson went under the radar on the national scene last year but he was all freshman in the confernece and was considered by some the top cougar recruit in the past decade. He is currently putting up like 27-8-3 while shooting lights out on a 10-2 team. Problem is that they don't have big name victories and i think they will come back down to earth in confernece play.
Biggest dissaponitment is a toss up between UCLA and Oregon St. Oregon st was expected to finish top 5 this year and they lost to my alma mater Sacramento St. Sac St went 2-27 last year and are easily one of the worst programs in the nation. UCLA will only get better, but right now coach Wooden is wondering what the heck is wrong in westwood.
Yeah its a real down year for the Pac-10. They may have as many potential ncaa tournament teams(3) as the West coast conference(Gonzaga, St. Marys, Portland). As for the biggest dissapointments I completely agree with you. We all know UCLA is a big program and to see them struggling like this especially with all the final fours this decade is just weird. But it has to be the early departures to the NBA(K-love) and the dissapointment of some top recruits(J'mison Morgan). Oregon St. was supposed to have a good year. They brought back everybody after winning the CBI tourney and seemed to be on the rise. I saw them personally beat UTEP in the finals and I thought this team had a chance to go dancing but wow have they dissapointed.
ucla, they have lost a lot of early guys the last few years in farmar, afflalo, mbah a moute, love, westbrook, and holiday. Plus their "top" recruits have been dissapointments. I mean J'Mison Morgan was a 5 star recruit who was supposed to start immmediatley and ease the loss of Love. 2 years in and he looks like a D2 player out there. Bruins will be competitive by the end of the year and should be tournament level next season.
He was the catalyst in their come from behind win yesterday against the Western Michigan Bronco's.
I would also put Oregon has a disappointment along with UCLA, and Oregon St. They actually have been disappointing for the last couple of years. Don't know what's going on up there, but they better pick it up, especially with their new arena in the works. It maybe time for Ernie Kent to go, who I've always had high regards on.
USC can either finish anywhere from Top 3, or bottom 5. It all depends whether or not they can stay healthy. They obviously have the best front line in the conference, and have seemed to have found their point guard to make the offense flow consistently. Also throw in veteran athletic wings like Dwight Lewis, and Marcus Johnson. USC just might be able to battle Washington for the PAC-10 crown (barring any injuries of course).
The recruiting also hasn't missed a beat with Tim Floyd's resignation. They recently got a transfer from former St. Anthony/Fordham PG Jio Fontan who played alongside his High School running mate Mike Rosario for Puerto Rico's U19 squad this past summer.
Can't sleep on ASU either. No they don't have much talent but they win by playing as a team and their matchup zone defense will win games. Their only 3 losses came to Duke, BYU, and Baylor. All 3 of those games were competitive. The most likely scenario is NIT but they could end up making the tourney if they do well in the PAC