The UCLA Bruins fell a point short of the Arizona Wildcats in being named the favorite in the top-heavy Pac-12.
The UCLA Bruins were picked to finish second in the Pac-12 preseason media poll after barely being outvoted by the Arizona Wildcats. The poll was released on Thursday morning, and UCLA fell a point short of favorite Arizona, which had 403 points.
The USC Trojans were picked to finish in ninth place with 163 points.
UCLA tallied 16 first-place votes to the Wildcats' 15. Ben Howland's squad perhaps lost ground because of freshman Shabazz Muhammad's eligibility concerns. This week, fellow freshman Kyle Anderson received clearance to play this year.
The Wildcats' own stellar 2012 recruiting class gave them the edge in what is looking to be a two-team race in the 2012-13 season. California, Stanford and Washington rounded out the top five teams in the media poll with the Golden Bears earning three first-place votes and the Huskies two.
Here's a look at the full Pac-12 preseason media poll:
1. Arizona, 403(15)
2. UCLA, 402 (16)
3. California, 325 (3)
4. Stanford, 296
5. Washington, 278 (2)
6. Colorado, 262
7. Oregon, 217
8. Oregon State, 166
9. USC, 163
10. Washington State, 111
11. Arizona State, 107
12. Utah, 78