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Oregon Basketball

Ducks Top Pac-12 Pre-Season Poll

October 8, 2019

Via Pac-12 Communications

SAN FRANCISCO – In one of the closest votes in Conference preseason poll history, OREGON edged COLORADO as the favorite to win the 2019-20 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball title in a vote of 27 media members who cover the league.

Though both programs received nine first-place votes, the defending Pac-12 Tournament champion Ducks amassed 291 points to earn favorite status for the second consecutive season and third time in the past four years. The Buffaloes, who totaled 288 points, slotted second for their highest preseason standing in the program’s nine-year Pac-12 history.

It marked only the second time in the league’s preseason poll history that two teams received the same number of first-place votes (1988-89). The three points separating the two teams were the fourth-fewest in 36 seasons of Conference preseason polling.

Defending regular-season champion WASHINGTON was picked third for the second year in a row, collecting 273 points and six first-place votes. ARIZONA received a pair of first-place nods and 263 points to come in fourth, while USC earned the final first-place vote and 198 points to place fifth. The five teams to receive first-place votes tied for the most in preseason poll history (2015-16, 1985-86).

ARIZONA STATE rounded out the top half of the preseason poll in sixth for the third straight year. OREGON STATE, UCLA, UTAH, STANFORD, WASHINGTON STATE and CALIFORNIA completed the predicted order of finish.

Media have correctly picked the Conference winner 16 times in 30 tries, while the winner has been accurately chosen in 20 of the 35 all-time preseason votes.

Five Pac-12 teams – Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, USC and Washington – appear on several national media outlets’ early top 25 rankings for the 2019-20 campaign.

Four All-Conference selections, two All-Freshmen Team performers and an All-Defensive Team honoree from last season are slated to return to the league for 2019-20. Additionally, four NBA Draft early-entry candidates elected to return to Pac-12 programs, highlighted by First Team All-Conference pick Tres Tinkle (Oregon State), All-Rookie Team member CJ Elleby (WASHINGTON STATE) and reigning Pac-12 Tournament Most Valuable Player Payton Pritchard (Oregon).

Pac-12 programs also boast five of the top 40 recruiting classes in the country according to 247Sports, including three in the top 10 (Arizona, USC, Washington). The Conference will welcome five 2019 McDonald’s All-Americans – Nico Mannion & Josh Green, Arizona; Isaiah Mobley, USC; Jaden McDaniels & Isaiah Stewart, Washington – which equals the most ever for the league (2006, 2012).

For the first time since 2014-15, three head coaches will make their Pac-12 debuts this season in California’s Mark Fox, UCLA’s Mick Cronin and Washington State’s Kyle Smith. The trio has averaged 20.9 wins and combined for 16 NCAA Tournament appearances and 27 total postseasons in 39 years of head coaching experience.

The Pac-12 regular season tips off with seven games on Tuesday, Nov. 5, the first official contest pitting preseason favorite Oregon against Fresno State on Pac-12 Networks at 6 p.m. PT. Opening week will also feature the fifth annual Pac-12 China Game between Arizona State and Colorado on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 8, as well as a pair of early power conference showdowns with Washington facing Baylor in the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 8 and Arizona hosting Illinois on Sunday, Nov. 10.

Pac-12 regular-season play begins on Thursday, Jan. 2 and culminates March 11-14 with the 2020 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

1. Oregon (9) 291

2. Colorado (9) 288

3. Washington (6) 273

4. Arizona (2) 263

5. USC (1) 198

6. Arizona State 187

7. Oregon State 161

8. UCLA 148

9. Utah 131

10. Stanford 84

11. Washington State 47

12. Cal 35

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