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Pac-12 preseason media poll: Arizona picked fourth, ASU sixth

Media members picked the Arizona Wildcats to finish the 2018-19 conference season in fourth place, two spots ahead of rival Arizona State in the Pac-12 preseason men’s basketball media poll.

Arizona garnered a single first-place vote out of 25 total and earned 205 points. ASU earned 165 points to come in sixth place in the poll that was released Thursday ahead of Pac-12 media day.

Oregon (288 points, 16 first-place), UCLA (264, 6) and Washington (249, 6) were selected to finish ahead of Sean Miller’s rebuilding Wildcats.

USC (203) was selected to close in fifth place.

Arizona’s pick might be surprising considering it lost its entire starting lineup from a year ago, when it went 27-8, won the conference title and postseason tournament, then fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a blowout loss to Buffalo.

First overall draft pick Deandre Ayton, guard Allonzo Trier and guard Rawle Alkins are in the NBA, while center Dusan Ristic and point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright graduated.

Only five players who earned playing time from a year ago return this season, including junior Dylan Smith, swingman Emmanuel Akot and point guard Alex Barcello. Transfers Chase Jeter (Duke) and Justin Coleman (Samford) are expected to be in the rotational mix, joining four-star recruits Brandon Williams, Devonaire Doutrive and Omar Thielemans.

Arizona State lost its guard trio of Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice to graduation. But an injection of transfers now eligible to play, a freshman class led by Luguentz Dort and Taeshon Cherry, plus a bigger role for sophomores Remy Martin and Kimani Lawrence give coach Bobby Hurley’s team depth on the perimeter to join a frontcourt led by returnees Romello White, De’Quon Lake and Vitaliy Shibel.

2018-19 Pac-12 men’s basketball preseason media poll

1. Oregon (16) 288
2. UCLA (6) 264
3. Washington (2) 249
4. Arizona (1) 205
5. USC 203
6. Arizona State 165
7. Colorado 161
8. Utah 122
9. Stanford 109
10. Oregon State 102
11. California 45
12. Washington State 35

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