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Andy Katz's Pre Pre-Season Top 25

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5. UCLA (32-6)
The Bruins are a natural to be in the top five and could be a contender for the No. 1 spot. UCLA will lose two key players off its title-game team in seniors Cedric Bozeman and Ryan Hollins, but the return of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo, a pair of all-Pac-10 first-team players, in the backcourt and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Luc Richard Mbah a Moute up front makes the Bruins as talented along the perimeter and wing as any team in the country. The problem is not knowing whether Farmar will test the draft and locking in on a post player. Getting Josh Shipp healthy on the wing will help ensure the Bruins have some scoring outside the backcourt.
14. California (20-11)
There were a few gasps in the RCA Dome press room when we discussed putting Cal this high, but we're projecting (for now) that Leon Powe will return to the Bears. If he does, he returns as the top player in the Pac-10, and the Bears aren't too shabby in other spots. Cal also returns Ayinde Ubaka, who had a solid junior season, as well as big man DeVon Hardin, who some think could end up being a better pro than Powe. Theo Robertson and Omar Wilkes had solid seasons in their first runs at Cal. This team has size and depth along the frontline.
15. Arizona (20-13)
Wildcats' coach Lute Olson isn't shying away from why Arizona will be a factor again next season. He said the Wildcats only lose Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers. The first one is a big hit because of his versatility, but assuming Marcus Williams doesn't declare, the Wildcats bring back their second, third and fourth scorers, including point guard Mustafa Shakur, who finally played to his potential down the stretch. The Cats also can't wait to start coaching small forward Chase Budinger, who was impressive during the McDonald's All-American game.
Others in consideration:

Washington: The Huskies lose the Pac-10 player of the year in Brandon Roy, but the talent is in place with a stellar recruiting class led by Spencer Hawes.
Oregon: The Ducks return the core of their team but this is still a squad that has underachieved for two seasons.
USC: Don't be surprised to see Tim Floyd get this squad in the Top 25 at some point next season.
I really think Cal could win the Pac-10 if Powe comes back. Hardin was playing like a monster the last month of the year and a front line of him and Powe could be disaster for every team in the Pac-10. Add in Ubaka and Omar Wilkes stepping up and they have some good guard play.

All 6 of these teams could make the tournament next season and it would be amazing to see 6 Pac-10 team back in the tournament again.
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Washington should be ranked.

Isn't Shakur going to at least go to all the NBA pre-draft stuff?
It's official: the Pac will be back WAY stronger than last year. UCLA at the head of the class, this conference will step it up BIG. I especially expect both Oregon and U$C to provide some shocking wins before starting Pac-10 play. It's gonna be a good year next year, all around.
TM said:
Washington should be ranked.

Isn't Shakur going to at least go to all the NBA pre-draft stuff?
It's a toss up right now. The reason being, if Shakur attends the draft camps he will miss UA's tour of Europe. Lute is taking the team to Europe at the end of May and I think they will be playing around 7 games against European teams and allowing guys like Ivan Radenovic and Mohamed Tangara to play close to home and to see family/friends. In fact, the entire team will attend a dinner at the Radenovic household in Belgrade.

So Shakur's decision is still up in the air.
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