Trio of Pac-12 hoops squads land on ESPN's Way-Too-Early top 25 list
The Pac-12 did not fare well in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Only 4 squads from the conference made the field. Of those, only UCLA made it to the Sweet 16, and for the 2nd straight season zero teams from the conference advanced to the Elite 8. UCLA, which represented the conference’s best chance, fell to Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Arizona, Arizona State and USC all lost in the Round of 64.
But next season is looking up for the conference. On Monday, ESPN updated its Way-Too-Early top 25 for the 2023-24 hoops season, with 3 teams from the Pac-12 making an appearance.
Those 3 teams are the following: No. 20 Colorado, No. 21 USC and No. 24 Arizona.
Updated my Way-Too-Early Top 25 this morning — Tennessee and Gonzaga make the biggest jumps from a couple weeks ago. Kansas and North Carolina also see an uptick due to recent portal additions.https://t.co/0rC4XImoIS
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) May 1, 2023
USC and Arizona are not newcomers to the top 25. Colorado, however, finished last season with a 18-17 record. So, what gives?
Colorado returns 3 of its top players from last season, a team that beat Tennessee and Texas A&M but struggle with consistency throughout the year. But with 5-star incoming freshman Cody Williams and TCU transfer Eddie Lampkin set to join the Buffs next season, Tad Boyle’s squad could be dangerous.
USC may have the highest ceiling of any of the Pac-12 teams listed though, thanks to No. 1 overall prospect Isaiah Collier coming to town. And don’t forget about the numerous rumors that a certain NBA Superstar’s son may be staying home in Los Angeles, too.
As far as confirmed stars are concerned, Collier is not the tip of the iceberg for the Trojans. Boogie Ellis, Joshua Morgan, Vincent Iwuchukwu and Kobe Johnson are all set to return to a squad that made the tournament as a 10-seed in 2023.
Then finally, there’s Arizona. The Wildcats will look a little different in 2023 with Azuolas Tubelis and Kerr Kriisa departing from the team, but still return some talent such as Oumar Ballo and Pelle Larrson. 4-star K.J. Lewis adds to a capable returning group in Tucson.