Cal men’s basketball team was picked to finish second the Pac-12 in the preseason media poll released Friday, but the top three spots were close.
UCLA is the fvrotie to win it and Arizona is picked third, but all three got almost equal support.
UCLA, which returns all-conference forward Reeves Nelson, got 14 first-place votes, just one more than Cal, which returns four starters, including all-conference guard Jorge Gutierrez and conference freshman of the year Allen Crabbe.
Defending conference champion Arizona was close behind with 11 first-place votes despite the loss of conference player of the year Derrick Williams, the second overall pick in the NBA draft.
Arizona finished just one point behind Cal in the voting, but all three are considerably ahead of Washington, which is picked fourth.
The media expects Oregon to make a big jumpt this season, picking them fifth, while Stanford, which returns four starters and adds freshman Chasson Randle is sixth despite the departure of Jeremy Green.
The two new teams, Utah and Colorado, are not expected to be factors. The Buffaloes lost a lot of talent from the team that beat Cal in the NIT last season and is picked to finish tied for10th with Washington State, which lost Klay Thompson, is picked to finish ahead of only Utah, which received only 74 votes.
The media poll, with first-place votes in parenteses, followed by total votes.
1. UCLA (14) 421.
2. Cal (12) 405
3. Arizona (11) 404.
4. Washington 355
5. Oregon 282
6. Stanford 255
7. USC 194
8. Oregon State 188
9. Arizona State 148
10. Colorado 119
10. Washington State 119
12. Utah 74.
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