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The Arizona Wildcats were picked to defend their Pac-12 men’s basketball title this morning by a poll of media who cover the conference.
The Wildcats had 18 first-place votes. Cal was picked to finish second with nine first-place votes, followed by Utah (seven), Oregon (one) and UCLA (one).
Arizona’s lofty pick has most to do with the Wildcats’ recent success under Sean Miller with consecutive Elite Eight appearances. Miller most infuse new talent into a lineup that lost four starters from last season.
When the Wildcats are picked to win the conference, they tend to live up to the expectations.
The lowest Arizona has finished when picked first since the media poll started in 1989-90 was a tie for fourth place in 2005-06. That was a year before Lute Olson’s last season as the Wildcats’ coach.
Arizona was picked to finish first 14 times and lived up to that expectation nine times. The Wildcats have finished twice and third twice as a first-place selection.
That means for the most part the Wildcats are in the running for the conference title by March as a favorite.
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