By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 24, 1997

PAC - 10 Preview

This should be the year the Arizona seniors get a ring - a Pacific 10 Conference championship ring that is.

Their three years without one is the biggest drought in the Lute Olson era and all the Wildcats have said that winning a Pac-10 title is on their to-do-list for the new season.

With that in mind, here's how the race for second place should turn out.


Last year: 22-8, 12-6 (T-2nd), Sweet 16

This year: Brevin Knight is wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform this year. That hurts. However, four starters return to the team that pulled off the second biggest upset of the tournament - a 72-66 win over Wake Forest. Added to the mix is one of the nation's best recruiting classes with the celebrated Collins twins, Jason (6-10) and Jarron (6-9) who the Cardinal considered important enough to put on the cover of the media guide.

True freshman on the cover of the media guide? That's confidence.

Prediction: A sweet return to the round of 16.



Last year: 24-8, 15-3 (1st), Elite Eight

This year: The fabulous freshman who won the NCAA title in 1995 are seniors now. Two of them, Kris Johnson, and Jelani McCoy were suspended in the off-season for breaking team policy. Johnson is on the way to making ammends but without McCoy, the Bruins lack size. They added a recruiting class that includes Baron Davis, a point guard who draws comparisons to Mike Bibby. That's a lot of hype. He'll be asked to back it up quickly with non-conference tests against North Carolina, New Mexico, Louisville and Duke.

Prediction: They'll make the tournament. How far they go depends on senior Toby Bailey. If he goes into March concerned only about his draft standiing, the Bruins will exit early.



Last year: 17-11, 10-8 (6th), NIT

This year: This is a team that has gone 16-12 and 17-11 the last two years, has a roster that includes two 7-footers, and a coach who played for and coached with Duke's Mike Krzyzewski. So, how has this team not made the NCAA Tournament?

How's this for evidence: The Huskies turned the ball over 20.6 times a game last year.

Prediction: If they can hold on to the ball, expect Washington to play well into March.



Last year: 23-9, 12-6 (T-2nd), Sweet 16

This year: Ed Gray, last season's conference player of the year, is gone. So is power forward Tony Gonzalez, who now plays football for the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, the Bears don't return a single starter. So how will they finish fifth? Because they do return Pac-10 coach of the year Ben Braun. If anybody can make the Bears respectable, it's Braun who once crafted a Tournament upset of Duke and almost upset UNC in the 1997 Sweet 16.

Prediction: The Sweet 16 may be a stretch, but a return to the Tournament is in the cards.


Oregon State

Last year: 7-20, 3-15 (9th)

This year: The Beavers would be even better if it weren't for the transfer of sophomore point guard Carson Cunningham. Cunningham gave Bibby a run for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors but moved back to his native Indiana and now plays for Purdue. Still, the Beavers return four other starters.

Prediction: A year away from greatness.



Last year: 17-11, 8-10 (7th), NIT

This year: New coach Ernie Kent returns to his alma mater to coach an Oregon team that has seen postseason action two of the last three years. The Ducks return just one starter - Jamal Curry - to their lineup but athletic 7-footer Mike Carson joins the starting five. However, Kent knows a thing or two about coaching big men. He was coach at St. Mary's last season with 7-foot-3 center Brad Millard.

Prediction: A second-straight NIT berth.


Arizona State

Last year: 10-20, 2-16 (10th)

This year: Bill Frieder is gone so the ASU bench won't be half as fun to watch. If the Sun Devils can shake the injury bug that has plagued them the last few years and if they can keep their best players off the police blotter, they could rise above eighth place. If not, it could get ugly.

Prediction: New coach, same old Sun Devils.


Washington State

Last year: 13-17, 5-13 (8th)

This year: This team is going nowhere. Just two starters return and as many as four newcomers will be expected to contribute to a team that last year was worst in the conference in rebounding and steals.

Prediction: Losses up the Wazzu.


Southern Cal

Last year: 17-11, 12-6 (T-2nd), NCAA 1st Round

This year: Elias Ayuso is the only returning starter of note and he only averaged 8.9 points a game last year. Jarvis Turner, a member of last year's All-Pac-10 freshman team will provide size but don't expect much from the Trojans.

Prediction: A bad basketball team to go with the bad football team in a town were nobody will notice anyway as long as the Lakers keep winning.

The Associated Press Top 25

1. Arizona (1-0)

2. Kansas (4-0)

3. Duke (2-0)

4. North Carolina (3-0)

5. Clemson (3-0)

6. South Carolina (2-0)

7. UCLA (0-0)

8. Purdue (3-0)

9. Kentucky (1-0)

10. Xavier (2-0)

11. New Mexico (4-0)

12. Connecticut (3-0)

13. Fresno State (2-0)

14. Iowa (2-0)

15. Stanford (1-0)

16. Utah (3-0)

17. UNC Charlotte (0-1)

18. Temple (2-0)

19. Oklahoma (3-0)

20. Rhode Island (1-1)

21. Mississippi (1-0)

22. Louisville (0-0)

23. Indiana (1-1)

24. Illinois State (2-1)

25. Georgia (3-1)

1997-98 Arizona Men's Basketball Schedule

Day  	Date        	Opponent                    	TV              Location	Time

Sat 	Nov.1 	        Red Blue Scrimmage 	        KTTU   	        Tucson	        7:37p.m. 
Thu	Nov.13  	Melbourne Magic (exhibition)	KTTU	        Tucson 	        7:37 p.m. 
Thu 	Nov.20  	Morgan State	                KTTU 	        Tucson	        7:37 p.m. 
 (Maui Invitational)
Mon 	Nov. 24 	Boston College	                ESPN2	        Hawaii 	        2 p.m. HST  
Tue 	Nov. 25 	Kentucky/George Washington  	ESPN  	        Hawaii	        4 p.m. HST   
Wed 	Nov. 26 	Maui Invitational 	        ESPN	        Hawaii	        tba 
 (Maui Invitational field includes: Arizona, Boston College, Chaminade,  DePaul, Duke, 
 George Washington, Kentucky & Missouri) 
Sat 	Nov. 29  	UNC Asheville                  	KTTU            Tucson          7:07 p.m.
Tue 	Dec. 2   	Kansas (Great Eight)           	ESPN   	        Chicago #    	8:30 p.m. CST 
Sat 	Dec. 6   	@Texas                         	ESPN    	Austin, Tx      8:00 p.m. CST 
Mon 	Dec. 8   	@Baylor                        	ESPN2   	Waco, Tx       	6:00 p.m. CST    
Sat 	Dec. 13  	Coppin State                   	CBS     	Tucson    	Noon 
Wed 	Dec. 17  	Marathon (exhibition)          	KTTU    	Tucson       	7:37 p.m. 
Tue 	Dec. 23  	Florida State                  	ESPN2   	Tallahassee  	7 p.m. EST 
 (Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic Tucson)
Sun 	Dec. 28   	Davidson vs. Kansas State 			                4:15 p.m.
                	James Madison vs. Arizona       KTTU      		        6:37 p.m.
Tue 	Dec. 30  	Consolation Game               			                4:15 p.m.
          		Championship (Arizona game to be televised by KTTU) 	        6:37 p.m.   
Sat 	Jan. 3   	UCLA*                          	fX      	Tucson     	8:30 p.m. 
Mon 	Jan. 5   	USC*                           	KTTU    	Tucson    	6:37 p.m. 
Thu 	Jan. 8   	@Washington State*             	None    	Spokane, Wa.    7 p.m. PST 
Sat 	Jan. 10  	@Washington*                   	Fox     	Seattle, Wa.	3 p.m. PST 
Thu 	Jan. 15  	Arizona State*                 	KTTU    	Tucson  	6:37 p.m. 
Sun 	Jan. 18  	New Mexico                     	CBS   	        Tucson 	        2 p.m. 
Thu 	Jan. 22  	Oregon*                        	KTTU  	        Tucson     	6:37 p.m. 
Sun 	Jan. 25  	Oregon State*                  	ABC    	        Tucson    	2 p.m. 
Thu 	Jan. 29  	@Stanford*                     	Fox     	Stanford, Ca.  	7:30 p.m. PST 
Sat 	Jan. 31  	@California*             	fX      	Oakland, Ca.%  	7:30 p.m. PST 
Thu 	Feb. 5   	Washington*                    	KTTU    	Tucson  	6:37 p.m. 
Sat 	Feb. 7	        Washington State*             	KTTU  	        Tucson    	6:37 p.m. 
Sat 	Feb. 14  	@Arizona State*             	KTTU   	        Tempe, Az. 	2:07 p.m. 
Thu 	Feb. 19  	@Oregon State*                 	None    	Corvallis, Ore. 7:00 p.m. PST 
Sat 	Feb. 21  	@Oregon*                       	ABC   	        Eugene, Ore.   	1:30 p.m. PST 
Thu 	Feb. 26  	California*                    	Fox     	Tucson	        8:30 p.m. 
Sat 	Feb. 28  	Stanford*                      	CBS     	Tucson	        11 a.m. 
Thu 	Mar 5    	@USC*          	                Fox or KTTU	LA, Calif. 	7:30 p.m. PST 
Sat 	Mar 7    	@UCLA*                         	Fox     	LA, Calif.    	1 p.m. PST 

# United Center
% Oakland Coliseum
* Pac-10 Conference Game

Schedule subject to change

All games broadcast on the radio by Learfield Network/KNST (790 AM in Tucson)

All Times Are Mountain Standard Unless Noted

(LAST_STORY)  - (Wildcat Chat)  - (NEXT_STORY)