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A Vastly Different Pac-10

That's what it will look like when basketball season starts in the fall.

Departures of big name players in the Pac-10 will change the face of how the conference looks as we head into the 2008-09 season.

Ignoring the seniors that are departing and the names of underclassmen already out there, the jury is still out on just who is going to depart but the names that have already declared change the landscape already.

GONE:

O.J. Mayo - USC

The Lopez Brothers - Stanford

Jerryd Bayless - Arizona

LEANING:

Kevin Love - UCLA

Darren Collison - UCLA

Chase Budinger - Arizona

Ryan Anderson - Cal

RUMORS/WHO KNOWS:

Taj Gibson - USC

Davon Jefferson - USC

Russell Westbrook - UCLA

Josh Shipp - UCLA

Alfred Aboya - UCLA

Who'd I miss? There are more I'm sure. Heck, ucla could lose a few more than that if Dragovic decides to play in Europe and if Mbah a Moute moves on. If SC doesn't get some production from Diarrah under the basket it could be a very tough season for Tim Floyd. An inside presence is sorely needed to take the pressure off of Taj. Of course that is provided that Gibson and Jefferson stay, something I would think is 70-30 against.

Most of the teams have solid recruiting classes that will keep the competition level high. I still see ucla as the favorite to win another Pac-10 title but the disparity between them and the rest of the Pac-10 will close considerably if anyone else other than Love or Collison leaves and they will have a tough time making it to the Elite 8 let alone a 4th straight Final 4. Washington state has some issues as well with 60% of their scoring departing with three seniors who are out the door.

Coaching changes at Oregon State, Cal and Stanford will also play a factor as new blood comes in to either reinvigorate or rebuild programs. The Band is Out On the Field has some good observations on the Pac-10 coaching outlook for next season.

It's going to be interesting times in the Pac-10.