November 04, 2014

Pre-season Predictions

Although predictions for the upcoming season made before play begins don't carry much credibility, it's fun to read (and perhaps scoff at) them.

Here is what the mega media expects of Stanford and other Pac-12 teams in 2014-15.

The AP top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll rank Stanford at #6/6, Cal at #15/14, Oregon State at #20/21 and UCLA at #23/23. Click here for the complete polls

Charlie Creme (ESPN) has a lesser expectation of Stanford and omits UCLA from his top 25:

12. Stanford
2013-14: Lost in the national semifinals.
Notable returners: Amber Orrange (10.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.5 APG); Lili Thompson (8.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.7 APG); Bonnie Samuelson (7.3 PPG).
No more Ogwumikes. Probably no more triangle. Without the bona fide stars that sisters Nneka and Chiney were the past six seasons, coach Tara VanDerveer plans to scrap the offense that has been the anchor of the program in recent years for a more up-tempo style to better take advantage of the talents of guards Orrange and Thompson. The Hall of Famer's willingness to adapt is no surprise, but it might be tough for the Cardinal to reach a seventh Final Four in eight years.

13. California
2013-14: Lost in the NCAA second round.
Notable returners: Reshanda Gray (16.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 59 FG%); Brittany Boyd (14.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.0 APG).
The Bears reached a Final Four in 2013, but still haven't gotten over the Stanford hump in the Pac-12. This could finally be the year. With Gray in the post and Boyd at the point, Cal boasts the best inside-outside duo west of the Rockies. Boyd topped the Pac-12 in assists a year ago. Gray has the potential to average a double-double. Depth could be an issue if the promising freshman class doesn't develop, but it will have time. Louisville is the only true nonconference test, and the Bears don't play Stanford or the Oregon schools until mid- and late February.

19. Oregon State
2013-14: Lost in the NCAA second round.
Notable returners: Sydney Wiese (14.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.0 APG); Jamie Weisner (12.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG); Ruth Hamblin (9.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.0 BPG).
The Beavers are ranked in a major preseason poll for the first time since 1996, coming off a season that likely even shocked fans in Corvallis. Picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 last season, Oregon State instead tied for second and reached the conference tournament title game for the first time in school history. Building on that success will be made easier with all five starters back, including sophomore shooting star Wiese. Her 112 3-pointers helped the Beavers finish in the country's top 20 in both makes and accuracy from deep in 2013-14. Junior post Hamblin is the Pac-12's top shot blocker, and lone senior Ali Gibson has started every game Oregon State has played since her arrival.

Click here for Creme's entire Top 25 analysis.

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