Arizona, Arizona St. amping things up

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College basketball is alive and well in the state of Arizona.

Thanks to three-straight 20-win seasons, Herb Sendek’s managed to make Arizona State hoops relevant. Arizona hasn’t fallen off the map in the post-Lute Olsen era thanks to Sean Miller’s recruiting efforts and coaching acumen. And everything’s only going to get better.

This Arizona Republic story says that thanks to the state’s improving high school players and the relative excellence and competitiveness between the schools that enthusiasm for college hoops is at a level it hasn’t been in years.

Wells Fargo Arena was stuffed with 14,305 fans, its largest crowd in 14 years. Arizona and Arizona State both were ranked in the top 15 for the first time in two decades. The score was tied at halftime before the Sun Devils pulled out a one-point victory.

It was Jan. 5, 1995, a time when college basketball was relevant in all pockets of the state.

Hallelujah. It’s happening again.

Sure, ASU has won six of the past seven games against Arizona. But Miller’s stocking the roster with talent, just like he did at Xavier. Sendek can’t expect his in-state victories to continue, which is a good thing. It creates quite the fan atmosphere – which fosters its own competition.

As Jeff Eisenberg recounts, Arizona fans pranked ASU thanks to some savvy web work. If you type into your browser, it’ll re-direct you to Arizona’s official athletic website. Not that ASU’s happy about it. From Eisenberg:

Nobody has come forward to take responsibility for this prank, but it’s probably safe to assume a group of clever Arizona students are behind this one. A look at the domain history of shows that an anonymous individual owns the URL and updated the site on Aug. 5.

A rivalry prank like this one might seem like harmless fun, but Arizona State officials apparently aren’t taking this lightly. According to the Arizona Republic, the university is exploring all legal options since this was done without its permission.

Like I said, college hoops is alive and well in Arizona. Would people care as much if it wasn’t?

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

Brian Gregory
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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.