Here are four Pac-10 story lines to watch as the 2001-02 season unfolds:
Can Arizona rebound after being dismantled by the draft?
|Will Jason Kapono and UCLA be head and shoulders above the Pac-10 competition in 2001-02?|
Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas and Michael Wright all left early for the NBA. Loren Woods finished up his career, so point guard Jason Gardner is the only returning starter. The cupboard isn't bare for coach Lute Olson, as Luke Walton and others who waited in the wings last year will get a chance, along with a super recruiting class. Don't count the 'Cats out so fast.
Will UCLA challenge for the national championship?
Coach Steve Lavin should settle in and enjoy this team after a hectic season a year ago. How good will this team be? It may depend on the performance of outstanding diaper dandy Cedric Bozeman. The return of forward Jason Kapono and center Dan Gadzuric makes the Bruins the team to beat in the Pac-10.
What will USC do for an encore?
Coach Henry Bibby's team made a lot of noise last season. Will the Trojans build on last year's Elite Eight performance? USC would love to break through the Pac-10's Big Three of Arizona, Stanford and UCLA. Bibby has to be happy with Sam Clancy's decision to return.
Will Stanford remain a Pac-10 contender?
Losing both Collins twins leaves a void up front, but any team with super guard Casey Jacobsen on it can be a big-time winner. The addition of Josh Childress will help, and Justin Davis must step up. The Cardinal have a fine coach and teacher in Mike Montgomery.