A few months after competing in the national championship game and losing star guard Aari McDonald, the Arizona Wildcats will fall back to the middle of the Pac-12 according to the conference coaches. The Pac-12 coaches preseason poll placed the Wildcats fifth.
Eleven of the 12 league coaches selected Stanford to win the Pac-12 with the other vote—that of the Cardinal’s Tara VanDerveer—going to Oregon. Behind the Cardinal and Ducks are the UCLA Bruins. Those three teams are the only ones to garner over 100 ranking points in the poll.
Behind the top three, Oregon State sits with 86 points and Arizona with 83.
Arizona head coach Adia Barnes has often talked about being the hunter versus being the hunted. The Wildcats stand in a peculiar place where they have raised their national profile, but are viewed by those outside the program as one of the hunters again. It could well serve the “us against the world” rallying cry that has been so successful for Barnes for the last few years.
The question now is if a team that has more depth can overcome not having a dominant player like McDonald. If so, Arizona may be able to show the doubters a thing or two again this year.