Oregon loses fifth straight, to Washington, after 13-0 start

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Dana Altman tried to make a change.

He shuffled his starting lineup, bring Jonathan Loyd off the bench and starting Dominic Artis. He mixed up his defenses, using more 2-3 zone and even using a box-and-one on a couple of possessions. He tried to snap Oregon out of their funk.

And it didn’t work.

The Ducks lost their fifth straight game, and if it wasn’t for a fluky overtime win at Utah, they would be sitting at 0-6 in the Pac-12 after starting out the season 13-0.

It’s not like we don’t know what the issue is, either. Oregon is as talented and athletic and entertaining as anyone in the country, they just don’t defend. Can’t defend. They are now 140th nationally in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, a rank that has dropped more than 40 spots in three weeks. On Thursday, they allowed Washington to shoot 57.8% from the floor, 58.3% from three and score 80 points on what was a surprisingly low 67 possessions.

It’s not like Altman doesn’t know how to coach a team defensively. Last year’s club was 10th in the nation in defensive efficiency. But last year’s team rebounded the ball, forced turnovers and, most importantly, limited penetration on the perimeter.

This year’s group is little more than a hot mess.

And they’re running out of time to turn this thing around. The Ducks may only have four more NCAA tournament teams on their schedule — Arizona twice and UCLA twice. With all of their good non-conference wins hitting the skids of late — Georgetown, Illinois, BYU, Ole Miss — this is looking more and more like a team we drastically overrated against what we now know to be a thoroughly mediocre non-conference schedule.

If that’s not the case, I’ll gladly be proven wrong.

But if they can’t defend anyone else, can I expect them to defend themselves?

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

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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.