If the 10 coaches today agreed on anything, it was that this is the best and deeped Pac-10 basketball has ever been ... and several coaches called it the best conference in the nation.
I'll write more about that in the Friday paper. Here, meanwhile, are each of the coaches on other topics (in the media's predicted order of finish):
"We've had a number of different nagging injuries throught the preseason. We are very excited about our core group returning from two Final Fours and adding the best high school player in the nation (center Kevin Love). – Ben Howland
2. WASHINGTON STATE
"We're like most teams in college basketball: We are close to being good, and close to not being good. I like my team because we have veterans. ... We rely on experience. There is no substitute for juniors and seniors." – Tony Bennett.
"We lost a great player in Aaron Brooks, he was the leading scorer in the Pac-10 last season. But we have four starters back, and we need to figure out who is going to be that guy this is going to step up and win basketball games for us." – Ernie Kent.
'We started two freshmen a year ago in Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill. ... The sophomore class is a very key class for us. We signed an outstanding group of freshmen, just like I guess everybody else in this conference did." – Lute Olson.
"I'm as relaxed as I've been at this point. ... We're clearly a much better basketball team than we were last year. We should be a very good defensive team and a good rebounding team." – Trent Johnson.
"We lost more than anybody in the Pac-10 last year. ... We lost 44 points per game. But hopefully we have gained more than anybody in the league. That's the only way we'll be able to compete." – Tim Floyd.
"I'm really encouraged by our big guys. We were one of the smallest teams last year, and this year we are one of the biggest. We hope our big guys will be our strength." – Ben Braun.
"We're ready to go. We've got a group coming back that will allow us to be a little more expereinced, as opposed to last year when we were embryos, basically, trying to win basketball games." – Lorenzo Romar.
9. ARIZONA STATE
"Right now we have some very healthy competition in practice. Guys are really working to fill out their roles. I don't know that everyone will retain their starting role from last season because we've really improved our depth and we do have some healthy competition." – Herb Sendek.
10. OREGON STATE
"We did have turnover – five players that had eligibility did not return, including one senior. We had six scholarships that we were able to fill with better players, so we will be a better team than we were a year ago." – Jay John.