- Stanford– The Cardinal will be young in the backcourt, dominant in the frontcourt and the biggest question will be how long does it take the freshmen to play at a Stanford-like level? Stanford might not get through the Pac-12 unbeaten this season.
USC’s Briana Gilbreath – USC athletics photo
- USC – The Trojans have considerable experience and talent and right now they look like a team that belongs in the NCAA Tournament. But USC can’t afford bad late-season losses. And in the last few years, they haven’t been able to avoid them.
- Cal. The Bears get a fresh start under head coach Lindsay Gottlieb and have experience all over the court, and some great young talent coming in. If this team underachieved last season – and they did – they are setting themselves up to be a potential spoiler in the Pac-12 race.
- Gonzaga. Time to move on without Courtney Vandersloot. The Zags still look like the class of the WCC. The Nov. 13 game at Stanford will be telling for Kelly Graves’ team.
- Arizona State. The Sun Devils, playing this season under Joseph Anders, needs offense to keep up with the best teams in the Pac-12. You probably can’t stop Stanford or USC from scoring, so you better keep up.
- UCLA. Jasmine Dixon’s injury, paired with a head coaching change (from Nikki Caldwell to Cory Close) threatens to break the momentum that’s been gained in the past few seasons.
- Arizona. How to replace the post presence of Ify Ibekwe? Niya Butts’ team has the backcourt covered with Davellyn Whyte and Shanita Arnold, but questions inside.
- Utah. The Utes return four starters from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament last season and they are young with only one senior. They will be in the mix in the top half of the conference standings.
- San Diego State. The Aztecs are back to playing “95 feet” of basketball says coach Beth Burns. Not a lot of size, but a lot of quickness and athleticism in the backcourt.