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Arizona picked by media to win Pac-12 hoops; ASU sixth

Once again, the Arizona Wildcats are the media’s preseason pick to win the Pac-12 men’s basketball title.

In a poll released at Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco Thursday, Sean Miller’s team received 22 of 23 first-place votes.

Arizona, which went 32-5 last season and won the conference’s regular-season and tournament championships, returns three starters, including forward Allonzo Trier. Trier averaged a team-high 17.2 points over 18 contests after being reinstated following a suspension. Guards Rawle Alkins and Parker Jackson-Cartwright also return for Miller, who added one of the top recruits in the country in 7-foot-1 DeAndre Ayton, who played his high school ball at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix.

This season marks the 15th time the Wildcats have been tabbed by the media in the preseason to win the conference title.

The Arizona State Sun Devils, coached by Bobby Hurley, finished sixth in the preseason media poll. The Devils are coming off a 15-18 season with a roster that featured little depth. But things are looking up in Tempe under the third-year coach. ASU returns senior guards Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice and adds freshmen forwards Romello White and Vitaliy Shibel along with transfer Mickey Mitchell (Ohio State).

It’s the first time ASU has been picked to finish in the top half of the conference standings since the 2010-11 season.

The only other team to receive a first-place vote was USC. The Trojans are picked to finish second in the conference, followed by UCLA, Oregon and Stanford.

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