Pac-12 basketball begins its curtain call on Nov. 6. The premier West Coast conference that has been around for over a century plays its final season in 2023-24 and then UCLA, Arizona, and everyone else will go their separate ways.

This championship will carry a little extra something. Winner gets Bill Walton. Treat him well.

I’m back to give predictions for each that will absolutely prove to be 100% accurate and above reproach. If I hate your team, feel free to yell at me. If I love your team, I’m sorry for jinxing them.

Last year, I hit on my win ranges (easier than an actual record prediction, but still) on only seven of the league’s 12 teams. UCLA exceeded my expectations, though only by a win. Oregon and Stanford both failed to meet expectations in similarly disappointing fashions. I was high on Arizona State and that proved correct. I was too high on Cal and that was… sad.

We’ll try to be better this year. Here’s how far each Pac-12 side goes in 2022-23.

(Note: projected win ranges are for regular-season games only.)

Arizona Wildcats — 1st Pac-12, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Projected win range: 23-27

The Wildcats won a second consecutive Pac-12 Tournament championship last season before being humbled in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Last year’s team wasn’t as deep as Tommy Lloyd’s first squad and it didn’t have nearly enough toughness. Lloyd added Keshad Johnson and Jaden Bradley from the transfer portal to help. Caleb Love will get buckets. Kylan Boswell will be better. And I like Oumar Ballo to take a big step forward in Year 3 with Lloyd. We know Arizona can score the basketball under Lloyd. Can it find the right formula at the defensive end this season? The Wildcats are going to be tested early, with five games against KenPom Top 20 sides before Christmas.

Colorado Buffaloes — 2nd Pac-12, NCAA Tournament Second Round

Projected win range: 21-24

Colorado’s swing of consecutive 20-win seasons came to an end last year as the Buffs managed an 18-17 record and their most conference defeats since Tad Boyle took over. The defense was excellent in league play, but the offense struggled. This season, Boyle might have his best roster yet. KJ Simpson returns to run the show after a second-team all-conference selection a year ago. Tristan da Silva is also back. Those two combined to average 40 points per 40 minutes last year. CU also added TCU big man Eddie Lampkin Jr. and 5-star freshman Cody Williams. I think Colorado can make a serious run. Big Buff guy.

USC Trojans — 3rd Pac-12, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Projected win range: 21-24

Andy Enfield and the Trojans have settled into the Steady Eddie role in the Pac-12. They’ve made three straight tournaments and five of the last seven. They’ve won at least 14 league games in three straight years and haven’t finished outside the top four since 2018-19. They’ve been good enough to be a problem for the league’s best, just not good enough to assume the title of “league’s best.” USC is trendy this offseason after adding the top overall high school recruit, Isaiah Collier, to a backcourt that also features senior Boogie Ellis. Those two will combine to give USC a backcourt as good as any in the country.

UCLA Bruins — 4th Pac-12, NCAA Tournament Second Round

Projected win range: 18-21

Mick Cronin will have some headaches over the first month and change. UCLA won the Pac-12 regular season last year and now has to replace each of the top five scorers from that team. Only four scholarship players are back from the group that won 31 games, and Kenneth Nwuba is the only guy on the roster with more than a year of experience playing for Cronin. The Bruin head coach demands excellence on the defensive side of the basketball — they were No. 2 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric a year ago — and with seven new players, six of them freshmen, it could take some time to get things to the level Cronin expects. Adem Bona is back, which is a big deal in the frontcourt. Aday Mara can be the best player on the court any given night, but it’s not currently clear when he’ll be available for the Bruins.   

Oregon Ducks — 5th Pac-12, NCAA Tournament First Round

Projected win range: 18-21

With consecutive seasons without an NCAA Tournament appearance, it’s fair to ask if Oregon has lost a bit of the magic. In 2021-22 and then again in 2022-23, Dana Altman’s squads felt like they were dragging at times during the regular season. There has been plenty of talent, just not the right mixture of mindset. This season, the Ducks welcome a trio of top-40 freshmen to the rotation in Kwame Evans Jr., Jackson Shelstad, and Mookie Cook. Nate Bittle is a player to watch for Most Improved. He and N’Faly Dante will form an intimidating frontcourt. Guards Jermaine Couisnard, Keeshawn Barthelemy, and Kario Oquendo — a proven SEC scorer from Georgia — give Altman a veteran starting five. There is once again a ton of talent here. Could this group take an unbeaten record into conference play? It’s possible.

Washington Huskies — 6th Pac-12, NIT

Projected win range: 17-20

Mike Hopkins could field an entire starting five’s worth of seniors in what is a critical season for him in Seattle. The Huskies have a pair of former Kentucky transfers in Keion Brooks Jr. and Sahvir Wheeler, they have Rutgers transfer Paul Mulcahy, they have 7-foot-1 big man Braxton Meah, and they have a whole mess of things to prove. This group went 16-16 last year and lost seven of its final 10 games, landing Hopkins on a very, very warm seat. UW has missed each of the last three NCAA Tournaments, but this team could be the surprise bunch in the conference. Hopkins is ditching the zone defense; if Meah can provide enough rim protection, I like this group — seven seniors, always a good sign — to have a relatively high floor and be competitive most nights.

Arizona State Sun Devils — 7th Pac-12, NIT

Projected win range: 16-19

The Sun Devils lost four starters and nine players total from the squad that won 23 games last year. They’re going to face six KenPom top-100 teams before Christmas, which gives coach Bobby Hurley very little time to get things operating smoothly. Is former LSU guard Adam Miller available for the year? If not, it’s a dart throw as to who takes over for Desmond Cambridge, who consumed the largest share of possessions on the team last season.

Utah Runnin’ Utes — 8th Pac-12, Pac-12 Tournament First Round

Projected win range: 15-18

Branden Carlson is back for his fifth season, which means coach Craig Smith could start two 7-footers in the frontcourt if he wanted to. Utah added former Colorado center Lawson Lovering from the transfer portal. Lovering started 34 times for Colorado last season, but averaged just shy of 23 minutes a game. He comes to SLC with per-40 career averages of 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals. After Carlson hit 33% of his triples last year (on four takes a game), there’s a way to play them both. Gabe Madsen is a career 38% shooter from 3. Cole Bajema is a career 36% shooter. If those two can knock down enough shots, Utah — which had a problematic offense last year — could make some noise.

Stanford Cardinal — 9th Pac-12, Pac-12 Tournament Second Round

Projected win range: 13-16

No matter how much talent has been on hand for Jerod Haase, Stanford has managed to underperform. Stanford has had a winning record in conference play only once under Haase, with last year’s 7-13 finish marking the worst since his arrival. Stanford’s defense fell apart in league play and the team ended the year 14-19. A five-game winning streak in January salvaged things a bit and Haase somehow managed to get himself another year. But he lost Harrison Ingram to North Carolina in the process. Spencer Jones and Brandon Angel are both back as guys who can knock down shots from the perimeter. Freshman wing Andrej Stojakovic — the son of former NBA All-Star Peja Stojakovic — joins the roster and he could very well be the No. 1 option by the time the conference tournament rolls around. But until Haase shows something, I’m out on Stanford as anything more than a lower seed that can hurt someone on Day 1 of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Oregon State Beavers — 10th Pac-12, Pac-12 Tournament First Round

Projected win range: 12-15

An eight-win improvement from the 2021-22 season to last year is nothing to sneeze at. Rather than a band-aid over the issues that led to a three-win year, coach Wayne Tinkle tore down to the studs for a complete rebuild and turned loose a bunch of youngsters. Jordan Pope set an Oregon State freshman record for 3-pointers made and averaged 12.6 points a game to both lead the Beavers and land himself a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

California Golden Bears — 11th Pac-12, Pac-12 Tournament First Round

Projected win range: 10-13

Cal was horrendously bad on offense a season ago as it limped to a 3-29 record. The offense ranked 320th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metric — by far the worst of any high-major team in college basketball. Cal lost its first 12 games to open the year, and then it lost 16 straight to end the year. I really like first-year head coach Mark Madsen, who guided Utah Valley to a 28-9 record last year. The Wolverines were 29th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric, and they paired that with an efficient (though turnover-prone) offense. Utah Valley was really good on 2s; perhaps Madsen can get Devin Askew to shoot those instead of 3s. Between Askew (15.5 a game last season before an injury) and forward Fardaws Aimaq, who averaged 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds for Madsen last season at Utah Valley, there’s a discernible base from which to build in Year 1. Cal is a hard job, and it’ll take some time.

Washington State Cougars — 12th Pac-12, Pac-12 Tournament First Round

Projected win range: 10-13

The Cougs have to replace all of their top four scorers from last year’s 17-win team. This program hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament since Tony Bennett was coaching on the Palouse and I just don’t see how that changes with this current group. I like Jaylen Wells, a DII forward making the jump from Sonoma State to Washington State. Last season, Wells led his league in scoring at 22.1 points a game while also tying for first in rebounding with 8.7 boards a night. He shoots it at 52% from the field and looks the part. Jabe Mullens (8.4 points) and Andrej Jakimovski (7.7 points) are the key returners to know about.