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Andy Katz | Correspondent | October 12, 2018

Pac-12 basketball: Andy Katz's predictions and power rankings for the 2018-19 season

USA Today Sports Images washington basketball Noah Dickerson is looking like a key player for the Washington Huskies heading into the season.

The Pac-12 had a tough postseason. The conference didn’t win a game.

But that should change this March. If it does, then a lot of that will be because of how the league handles the non-conference. Win some high-profile games early in the season, and the league should expect to get higher seeds.

Here are my predictions for the coming year.

MORE: Big Ten predictions

1. Washington: The Huskies have a great vibe right now. Mike Hopkins is comfortable in his own skin as a head coach. The Huskies have bought into the zone. And the core of this team returns. The win over Kansas early wasn’t a fluke. This team just needs to find consistency in conference — and it will. The league will run through Seattle.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament

2. UCLA: The Bruins lost two bench players to season-ending injuries/conditions in Shareef O’Neal and Tyger Campbell. But there is plenty to work with here for a run at the Pac-12 title. This team will be able to score with Kris Wilkes, Prince Ali and Jaylen Hands. That’s not the issue. As Steve Alford said, the Bruins need to defend. Do that, and this team will be just fine.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament

3. Oregon: I’m not as high on the Ducks — just yet. Payton Pritchard was raving about Bol Bol’s impact at both ends of the court. And he was certain that the Ducks will make another championship run, as in Final Four, after going in 2017 but missing the NCAA tournament in 2018. And they might. This is still a team that will hover in and around the top 25 all season.

Postseason prediction: NCAA tournament

4. USC: Bennie Boatwright is a difference-maker and a matchup nightmare. If the guard play comes on strong after losing Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart, then the Trojans can finish in the top four. But they will get pushed from the three teams below for sure.

MORE: Katz's CBB predictions

Postseason prediction: NCAA bubble

5. Colorado: I believe in McKinley Wright IV and the Buffs. Wright is from Minnesota and originally was recruited by Archie Miller to Dayton. He would be the starting point guard at either Minnesota or Indiana. The Buffs have him and he’s the reason why Colorado can finish in the top five in the Pac-12. But, as Wright IV said, the Buffs have to win on the road to have a chance to do so.

Postseason prediction: NCAA bubble

6. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are in a similar situation to their rivals to the south. ASU lost their core backcourt and the studs who produced mightily. But the return of Romeo White, Remy Martin and Mickey Mitchell gives Bobby Hurley plenty to work with for another run toward the NCAA tournament. The Sun Devils may not be as good early as they were a season ago, but this team should be a tough out in the conference in February.

Postseason prediction: NCAA bubble

7. Arizona: OK, this is where I know I differ from others. The Wildcats lost a lot. Chase Jeter is eligible and the Wildcats have a stud in Brandon Williams arriving. But let’s see how it all plays out early. This will be a young team, lacking a lot of experience. The Wildcats have the talent to be a factor in the conference but it will take time.

Postseason prediction: NCAA bubble

MORE: March Madness bracket history

8. Utah: Here’s what I know: A Larry Krystkowiak team is never going to be out of the postseason discussion. Somehow, some way, Krystkowiak will have the Utes in play. That means Sedrick Barefield will have to have a monster season. But that’s all plausible. Utah will be, like the teams above, much improved later in the season. Stay tuned.

Postseason prediction: NCAA bubble

9. Oregon State: The Beavers made my list for one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country, led by Tres Tinkle. Offense shouldn’t be an issue for the Beavers. But will this team be able to defend. And the Beavers can win on the road. Wayne Tinkle, like Krystkowiak, maximizes his talent and the expectation is the Beavers will make some form of postseason.

Postseason prediction: NIT consideration

10. California: Wyking Jones mentioned Thursday how the Bears will be smaller this season. But they’ve got a hidden gem in Paris Austin at the point. The Boise State transfer will be and needs to be a major player for the Bears to climb up from the bottom. Justice Sueing can be an all-Pac-12 type player as well. The Bears may be a much better team but it could be harder to move up the standings with the teams above for the most part also improved.

MORE: Best First Four runs ever

Postseason prediction: None.

11. Stanford: The Cardinal lost Reid Travis. But that’s not all -- they lost Dorian Pickens and Michael Humphrey too. This team is exceptionally young in key spots but has a budding Pac-12 star in Daejon Davis. This could be a bridge year for Jerod Haase. Expectations are lower and usually that means teams exceed them.

Postseason prediction: None.

12. Washington State: A mass exodus didn’t help the Cougars in their quest to get out of this funk. Robert Franks can be a difference maker. But the Cougars have to establish Pullman as a tough place to play from day one, especially on the back-end of the two-game swing through the state of Washington. Teams will be locked in on the Huskies. The Cougars have to be the spoilers. Take care of business at home, and Wazzu can be respectable again.

Postseason prediction: None.

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