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Arizona Wildcats ranked No. 1 in Pac-12 preseason media poll

Only one media member didn’t pick Arizona to repeat as conference champions

Mataro All-Stars v Arizona Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats are the favorites to win the Pac-12 for the second straight year, voted Pac-12 media members.

Arizona garnered all but one first place vote, which was earned by the USC Trojans, who were selected to finish second.

Here is the full poll, which was released Thursday:

It’s no surprise that Arizona was picked to finish first, as many publications have listed the Wildcats as their No. 1 overall team heading into 2017-18.

Arizona has a strong group of returners including Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and Dusan Ristic, plus added the No. 3 recruiting class, including uber-prospect Deandre Ayton.

Of course, there are two things that are clouding Arizona’s promise as a team.

The first is Alkins’ foot injury, which is expected to keep him out for the first month or two of the season.

The second is the FBI investigation that implicated Arizona in a recruiting bribery scandal. But while that ultimately could lead to sanctions down the road, it seems unlikely it will affect this year’s team.

That said, the one person who did not vote for Arizona to win the Pac-12 was the Register Guard’s Steve Mims, who believes “the scrutiny into the program will dog this team all year long.”

If you watched (Sean) Miller struggle to answer questions regarding the Allonzo Trier suspension last year, it will be even more awkward this season, beginning on Thursday.

Miller will step to a podium and likely repeat lines about "Basketball questions only" and "I can't talk about the FBI case" over and over with a couple of his players sitting uncomfortably next to him.

Those questions will keep coming throughout the season and I expect that to wear on the Wildcats, so I picked them fourth

Ironically, Mims picked USC, which is also involved in the FBI investigation, to win the Pac-12 because he believes it will face much less scrutiny.

The craziest part? Mims selected Arizona not to finish second, but fourth in the Pac-12.

In my opinion — and evidently the opinion of other Pac-12 media members — it’s hard to imagine this Arizona team finishing anywhere other than first if it stays healthy and free from suspensions, sanctions, etc.

It may very well be the most talented team Sean Miller has had during his tenure in Tucson.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire