Oregon may not have a commitment from 2014 power forward Ray Kasongo (UPDATED)

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(UPDATE: After the news broke on Wednesday night that Kasongo had picked the Ducks over UConn, the big man tweeted out the following:

Maybe Kasongo isn’t committed to Oregon after all. Stay tuned.)

At the conclusion of the 2013-14 season the Oregon Ducks will lose three front court upperclassmen in Richard Amardi, Waverly Austin and Mike Moser. This fact means that the Ducks, who would return Ben Carter and Jordan Bell (and Arik Armstead, who’s a member of the Ducks’ football team), needed to land some more interior muscle for its 2014 recruiting class.

On Wednesday evening head coach Dana Altman received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-9 power forward Ray Kasongo, who chose the Ducks over UConn according to multiple outlets. UConn, which received a commitment from Buford, Ga. power forward Rakim Lubin on Monday, was looking to land a second 2014 power forward within a three-day span.

Kasongo joins point guard Casey Benson and wing Dwayne Benjamin in Oregon’s 2014 class. A native of Canada, Kasongo currently attends Phase 1 Academy in Phoenix and has the athletic ability needed to be an impact player for the Ducks when he arrives on campus next summer.

And that’s important given the aforementioned roster issues for the Ducks at the end of this season. Bell has yet to play a college game, and Carter posted averages of 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a freshman last season. Carter played an average of just 10.4 minutes per game in 2012-13, a number that’s likely to rise given the fact that Arsalan Kazemi and Tony Woods are no longer a part of the front court rotation.

But it should be noted that under Altman the Ducks have enjoyed success when it comes to recruiting transfers, and given the rising number of players who seek “greener pastures” thanks to possibilities such as the graduate student waiver many have taken advantage of there may be additional options from which to choose next spring.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.

Tyler Ulis injured as No. 1 Kentucky beats South Florida

Tyler Ulis, Ky Howard
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MIAMI (AP) Jamal Murray had 21 points and No. 1 Kentucky scored the final 15 points of the first half on the way to beating South Florida 84-63 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Friday.

Skal Labissiere added 17 points for the Wildcats (6-0), who led by as many as 31. Charles Matthews scored 11 points and Isaiah Briscoe finished with seven assists for Kentucky, now a winner of 37 consecutive regular-season games and 39 in a row against unranked opponents.

Chris Perry scored 14 points for USF (1-5), which has lost 18 consecutive games against teams ranked in the Top 25. Jaleel Cousins added 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, and Jahmal McMurray scored 11 points for the Bulls.

Kentucky played the second half without starting guard Tyler Ulis, who departed with a right elbow injury after getting hurt while fighting for a ball loose on the floor.

Kentucky announced after the game that the injury was a hyperextension of the elbow and that he will be day-to-day.

The Bulls were within 27-21 with 6 minutes left in the first half after McMurray banked in a 3-pointer only a few feet away from where John Calipari was standing, and the look of anguish on the Kentucky coach’s face was clear.

It didn’t last long.

The Wildcats scored on seven of their next nine possessions and the game was over by halftime, Kentucky going into the break with a 42-21 lead.

It was a reunion for plenty of people on both benches. Calipari squared off with his former assistant Orlando Antigua, now in his second year leading USF. Antigua’s staff includes another former Calipari assistant in Rod Strickland, plus former Kentucky basketball staff members Mike Malone and Dominic Lombardi.

So the staffs have plenty of familiarity. On the court, there was plenty of disparity. Kentucky finished with a commanding 23-6 edge in points off turnovers and finished with 16 assists to the Bulls’ six.