Washington finished sixth and Washington State 12th in the Pac-12 preseason media basketball poll. Oregon is the overwhelming favorite to win the conference championship.
For the first time in the 28-year history of the Pac-12 Conference media poll, Oregon has been selected to win the 2016-17 men’s basketball title. The 27 media members who cover the league also picked the Washington Huskies to finish sixth and the Washington State Cougars 12th.
Oregon, which returns four starters from last year’s regular-season and tournament championship team, received 23 first-place votes and 320 points. Arizona, the predicted runnerup, received four first-place votes and 298 points.
Coach Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies collected 167 points while the Cougars received 30.
UCLA (259) finished third, followed by California (209) and Colorado (199). Trailing Washington were USC (163), Utah (142), Oregon State (122), Stanford (119) and Arizona State (78).
Media have correctly picked the conference winner in 16 of the 27 preseason votes.
Washington returns two starters, sophomore forwards Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulle, from last year’s club, which finished 19-15, 9-9. The Huskies lost leading scorer Andrew Andrews (20.7) as well as outstanding freshmen Marquese Chriss (drafted by Sacramento No. 8 overall, traded to Phoenix) and Dejounte Murray (29th overall, San Antonio) to the NBA.
Romar’s top newcomer is national freshman of the year candidate Markelle Fultz, a 6-4 guard from Upper Marlboro, MD., who led the Huskies in scoring (21.2) during their August tour of Australia and New Zealand. He was also named Most Valuable Player of the FIBA Americas Under-18 Tournament in Chile in July.
The Huskies open their regular season Sunday, Nov. 13, hosting Yale at Alaska Airlines Arena. Washington State opens Friday, Nov. 11 against Montana State in Pullman.