And so the Pac-12 basketball season is done and dusted for another year. The Arizona Wildcats made a clean sweep of the competition this time around, claiming the conference regular-season title and then following that up with an impressive 84-76 victory over UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.
Fans of college hoops now have an excruciating wait until the action begins all over again later this year – but it’s never too early to begin making predictions for the coming season. With that in mind, we’ve laid down what we expect to see across the 2022/23 Pac-12 basketball season, both on and off the court. Take a look at our forecast and see if you agree.
On the court
The Wildcats were undoubtedly the team to beat last season and that success has shortened their basketball odds on sites such as Sportsbet.io, which also allows basketball betting with Bitcoin. However, we’re not so sure they’re going to repeat the trick for a second year running.
That’s largely due to the fact that star performer Bennedict Mathurin is destined for the NBA Draft, while big man Christian Koloko could follow in his footsteps. Of course, Arizona still represents a highly attractive destination and the team is likely to recruit well, but replacing proven stars with unknown quantities is always a risk. That’s why we envision the Pac-12 Championship heading somewhere else come next March.
UCLA could be the team to take their place at the top of the tree. Although they are likely to lose all-star team member Jamie Jaquez, they should hang on to most of their other core names, and should they continue to recruit well, they’ll be well-placed to compete. The Utes are another promising team with a strong roster, especially after the addition of Mike Saunders Jnr, but retaining Branden Carlsen will be crucial in taking the next step.
Oregon Ducks are another outfit that could trouble the championship next year, with their height and strong offensive options likely to cause everyone they face a wide array of problems. Nonetheless, we have to agree with Jon Wilner of the East Bay Times, who doesn’t think any Pac-12 teams will make the Final Four in 2023.
Off the court
Although the 2022 Pac-12 tournament revenue fell by almost $25 million since the previous year, we expect a resurgence this year. That’s down to a number of different factors, but the signature of several lucrative contracts is the main reason why money will once again pour into the Pac-12 next year.
The media rights deal could be the biggest and most influential of those. With the Pac-12 likely to be worth upwards of half a billion dollars annually in its next deal, that would mean each team could feasibly access around $50 million per year. That’s a huge upgrade on the $21 million that each school currently receives and will undoubtedly have an effect on the region’s fortunes over the mid-to-long-term – but probably not next season.
Meanwhile, the monetization of statistical data could prove to be another lucrative source of revenue for the division. Should that go ahead, we could see deeper pockets for schools across the board, leading to stronger rosters and improved on-court performances. Again, however, the full effects of this investment (should it come to pass) are unlikely to be fully felt for at least a few years yet.
While there’s still a long, long way to go before the start of the 2022/23 Pac-12 basketball season, we’ve crunched the numbers and analyzed the trends to come up with these predictions. What do you think?