(Photo: Josh Orcutt/WCSN)
Having lost so much talent in the offseason due to the NBA draft or graduation (or both), the Pac-12 was left with plenty of questions heading into the 2015-2016 season. Most of those questions will be answered throughout the conference schedule which kicked off this week, but many teased potential answers due to the exceptional non-conference season the Pac-12 had.
As a conference, the Pac-12 went an overall 117-33 in the nonconference season which may come as a surprise to many with the top-heavy identity many thought the conference would have heading into the season. Seven of the 12 teams have at least 10 wins and knocked off plenty of ranked opponents including Kentucky, Gonzaga, and Baylor.
The depth of this conference is so astounding that two of the three ranked teams in the conference, Utah and UCLA, lost their first game of Pac-12 play to unranked programs in Washington and Stanford, who were projected to finish in the bottom third of the conference by the preseason media poll.
With so much depth and talent in the veterans as well as newcomers across the board, selecting nonconference awards was as difficult as ever.
All-Pac-12 Non-Conference Team
G – Andrew Andrews, Washington – leads conference with 20.8 ppg, three games of 30 points or more
G – Bryce Alford, UCLA – 17.6 ppg, second in conference with 5.1 apg
G – Gary Payton II, Oregon State – 16.8 ppg, 5.0 apg, 8.2 rpg, 2.5 spg
F – Josh Scott, Colorado – 18.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg
C – Jakob Poeltl, Utah – 17.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg leads Pac-12 shooting 71.4 percent from the floor
F – Josh Hawkinson, Washington State – 16.7 ppg, leads conference with 10.8 rpg
F – Ryan Anderson, Arizona – 15.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg
G – Tyrone Wallace, California – 15.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, 5.1 rpg
G – Tra Holder, Arizona State – 14.5 ppg, 3.4 apg
G – Tyler Dorsey, Oregon – 15.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3 apg
G – Allonzo Trier, Arizona – 13.7 ppg, three 20-point games
G – Dejounte Murray, Washington – 13.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.6 spg
F – Chris Boucher, Oregon – 11.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, leads conference with 3.3 bpg
F – Jaylen Brown, California – 14.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Biggest Surprise: USC
The Trojans got off to an electric 11-2 start as the second highest scoring team in the conference, and found a huge win over Wichita State. Their only two losses came at the hands of Xavier and Monmouth, who are a combined 21-5. With six players averaging double-figure scoring led by redshirt junior guard Katin Reinhardt, the Trojans are legit.
Biggest Letdown: Cal
They got off to a hot 5-0 start but lost back-to-back games against San Diego State and Richmond. Their only other loss came in overtime to Virginia, and while it was going to take a while for this newly-loaded Cal team to fully develop, they lost two very winnable games.