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Skidding Cougs must right themselves

How disappointing to see the Cougs lose their first two Pac-10 games. I thought they had the chops this season to at least hang out in the middle of the conference pack. I don't know where the team that beat Baylor or Gonzaga has gone. Is it hiding in a snowbank somewhere in Pullman? A team that is 10-4 overall should not be in the Pac-10 cellar with a 7-7 Oregon team, even if both of the Cougs' conference losses came during a notoriously difficult L.A. swing.

Klay Thompson can't be the only player making things happen on the court. He seems to be the WSU equivalent of Kobe Bryant. He might be a phenomenal player, but the team will sputter if no one else gets involved offensively. In the last three games, the other Cougs have gone silent, save for Faisal Aden (19 points off the bench against UCLA) and DeAngelo Casto (18 points against USC).

Also, defense has been a problem for the Cougs during their three-game skid. Four Butler players scored in double figures against WSU in the Diamond Head Classic final in Honolulu. In the Cougs' loss to UCLA, four Bruins had at least 10 points. On New Year's Eve, three USC players finished in double figures. When you allow the other team to spread the ball around and get its offense moving, your chances of winning drop drastically. It's a basic concept, but one that teams sometimes forget.

Perhaps the Cougs will focus on the fundamentals in practice before playing host to the Oregon schools this week.

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