The UCLA men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, released Thursday morning.
Voted to win the league was Arizona, which received 18 first-place votes — double that of second-place pick Cal. Utah received seven first-place votes, while Oregon and the Bruins each got received one.
USC was picked to finish 10th, above only Washington and Washington State.
After losing four starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad, UCLA men’s basketball was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12.
A preseason media poll slotted the Bruins behind Arizona, Utah and Colorado — but did give them one first-place vote. All 31 other first-place votes went to the Wildcats, widely considered a national title contender.
Kevin O'Neill on the media member who voted UCLA No. 1 in Pac-12's media poll: "He was drunk that day." #ArizonaWildcats
Oregon and UCLA are both overwhelming favorites in their respective divisions, but for the fourth time in five years, the Ducks are the preseason pick to win the Pac-12.
Media members gave Oregon 24 votes to win conference title game at Levi’s Stadium on Dec. 5, nearly double the 13 votes UCLA received. Stanford and USC also received one vote each to win the league, though they only combined for three votes to take their respective divisions.
For the second straight year, UCLA was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 preseason behind Arizona.
The gap between them, though, was a little larger. A few months before winning the conference, the Bruins finished just one point behind the Wildcats in the poll, and actually edged them with 16 first-place votes to 15. This year, Arizona took 21 first-place votes to UCLA’s one.
The media have correctly selected the winner 12 times in 21 tries.
Colorado also received a first-place vote. USC was picked to finish 11th in its first season under head coach Andy Enfield.
Here are the full results of the Pac-12 preseason media poll, with first-place votes in parentheses. Few surprises down the line, as Oregon was named both the North Division and conference favorite. UCLA was named the South Division favorite, and also receive three votes as the Pac-12 champion.