ESPN updated its way-too-early Top 25 for the 2019-20 college basketball season last weekend, and the Arizona Wildcats dropped one spot from 15 to 16.
UA was leapfrogged by the Florida Gators, who jumped all the way from 18th to sixth after adding Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.
While other rosters settled down over the past month, Arizona had plenty of movement. Devonaire Doutrive entered the transfer portal, then decided to return to the Wildcats. Point guard Alex Barcello also announced he was transferring. ESPN 100 prospect Terry Armstrong elected to pursue professional options -- as he was in danger of not qualifying. There are also questions about Brandon Williams’ health moving forward. So the Wildcats are still in some flux entering the summer. But what’s not in question is the talent. Top-10 prospect Nico Mannion and Josh Green enter the fold, while UC Irvine grad transfer Max Hazzard brings shooting. Top-50 recruit Zeke Nnaji could surprise some people, and Chase Jeter was productive last season.
While these rankings aren’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the college basketball landscape, one takeaway from them is that the Pac-12 should be much better this season.
Washington (22), Colorado (23) and USC (25) are also in the Top 25, while Oregon is one of five teams “next in line.”
That is a nice improvement from 2018-19 when, for some stretches of the season, there were zero Pac-12 squads in the Top 25. So while ESPN considers Arizona to be the Pac-12 favorite, it’s at least shaping up to be a competitive race.