The UCLA Bruins will enter the upcoming college hoops seasons with huge expectations. They brought in the nation's No. 1 ranked recruiting class, headlined by Shabazz Muhammad, and they bring back most of their front court.
The USC Trojans were miserable last season due to injuries and a lack of scorers, but that also figures to change once practice begins in October.
ESPN recently released their preseason power rankings for the Pac-12 conference. You might be surprised about where the Bruins and Trojans were picked.
Here's Doug Gottlieb's take on the conference, which should be much improved this year.
The Bruins were ranked second, just behind Arizona.
2. UCLA Bruins
The Bruins are loaded at the frontcourt positions, but their fate may be decided by their backcourt. Sure, they added Shabazz Muhammad, who is a 3, and Kyle Anderson, a point-forward type, but the last time we saw Larry Drew with a group of young future pros -- at North Carolina -- it did not work out so well. Let's see if the time off helped him fix his game. But UCLA still has the Wear twins (Travis and David), Josh Smith and the freshman wings, which makes them a strong contender to win the league.
On USC, who ranked fourth.
4. USC Trojans
The Men of Troy bring essentially an entire new team that was sitting out or injured last season. Eric Wise is an undersized low-post player who was terrific at UC Irvine. Jio Fontan is back after tearing his ACL and Dewayne Dedmon was a disappointment after all the hype, but he should be far better this season with scorers all around him. Keep an eye on Aaron Fuller, who came from Iowa. USC has some well-traveled talent, but there is at least talent now.
It'll certainly be an interesting basketball season in the city of Los Angeles.