Cal, Stanford expected to be among the top Pac-12 contenders

Getty Images File PhotoMike Monty is the head coach of the Cal Golden Bears

Predictions are not something most coaches care about this time of year. They’re focused on players and practices, not what pundits and pollsters presume.

Except for Oregon State’s Craig Robinson. During the Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball media day at the conference’s new network studios in downtown San Francisco on Thursday, Robinson admitted he has been paying attention to polls for months — just not the league’s annual media poll, which picked Arizona over UCLA by a mere point.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

Robinson, the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, has been following a much bigger campaign. He has spent his days practicing and his nights stumping for President Barack Obama ahead of Tuesday’s election against Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a race Robinson predicts is “probably going to be pretty close.”

No matter what else is on anybody’s agenda, coaches and players around the league are getting in all the last-minute work now. After all, the Pac-12 is expected to be an even tighter and tougher conference this season.

No. 12 Arizona received 403 points and 15 first-place votes to top the preseason poll by media who cover the league. That narrowly edged 13th-ranked UCLA, which received 402 points and 16 first-place votes.

Cal (325) was third, Stanford (296) fourth and defending regular-season champion Washington (278) fifth.

The media has correctly picked the conference winner 12 of 20 times. Arizona has correctly been selected in seven of the 11 times the Wildcats have been picked to capture the league title.

Stanford is looking to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time under fifth-year coach Johnny Dawkins, who led the Cardinal to the NIT title last season. Across San Francisco Bay, crafty Cal coach Mike Montgomery’s teams are never pushovers, either, and he’s more focused than ever after bladder cancer and surgery that left him cancer-free before last season. Well, sort of more focused.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed me that much. I’m still the nut case I always was,” Montgomery joked.

The only real guarantee this season is exposure will be at an all-time high.

The league’s landmark 12-year television contract with Fox and ESPN worth about $3 billion, which created the Pac-12 Networks and Pac-12 Digital Network, started this fall. The swanky studios will help increase viewership after more than 90 games — including 23 conference matchups — weren’t televised last season, said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.

Just Posted

Faced with safety fears in Chinese community, Breed pins blame on Board of Supervisors

San Francisco’s Chinese community is deeply worried about crime, and Mayor London… Continue reading

Scientists finally know how big earthquakes start: with many smaller ones

(LOS ANGELES) The vast majority of earthquakes we feel come soon after… Continue reading

Jurors replaced and deliberations set to begin again in Ghost Ship trial

Three jurors have been dismissed Monday in the trial of Ghost Ship… Continue reading

Suspect in Embarcadero attack surrenders to authorities on new allegations

Austin James Vincent has landed at the center of a battle over plans to build a homeless shelter

Rocks off! Rolling Stones sound great in Santa Clara

No Filter tour serves up classic hits

Most Read