LOS ANGELES - Arizona has been picked as the preseason favorite to win the Pacific-10 Conference basketball championship, according to a poll of the league's media. The Cats earned 32 of the possible 36 first-place votes and finished with a total of 356 points, outdistancing UCLA which finished in second place with 307 points.
The Bruins, who received three first-place votes, edged Stanford by 11 points for second place. The defending Pac-10 champion Cardinal received one first-place vote and earned 296 total points. Oregon and Oregon State rounded out the top five.
California, the 1999 NIT champion, edged USC for the sixth spot, while Arizona State, Washington and Washington State completed the poll.
This is the sixth time the Wildcats have been chosen as the league-favorite entering the season since the conference began the poll before the 1989-90 season. Arizona failed to live up to expectations just once when it finished third during the 1991-92 season while UCLA went on to win the championship.
The poll, which consisted of votes from league coaches for the first three seasons, has correctly predicted the eventual champion eight times in the last 10 years, including the last five in a row.