Dana Altman was self-effacing when it was announced that his 664th career win Thursday night tied him with John Wooden for 28th place in Division I history.
“I’m glad they don’t put the losses with that,” Altman said after the 17th-ranked Ducks beat No. 16 Colorado 68-60. “Or the lack of championships.”
Altman’s 343 defeats are 181 more than Wooden compiled during a 29-year coaching career and “The Wizard of Westwood” won 10 NCAA championships at UCLA.
Altman continues to seek his first national title while passing some of the biggest names in the history of the sport on the wins list as he chases a third Pac-12 regular-season title with the Ducks.
Oregon’s win over Colorado on Thursday moved it back into a tie with the Buffaloes for first place in the conference at 8-4 with one-third of the conference schedule remaining. Colorado moved to 9-4 in the Pac-12 with a win over Oregon State on Saturday.
“All we did was put ourselves back in the hunt,” Altman said after Oregon rallied from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Buffaloes. “It is right there. We have four games at home and two on the road and nobody ahead of us.
"We control our own destiny and at this point in the season, that is what you hope for. We’d like to have back a couple games we didn’t play well in, but we have won four overtime games so I consider that fortunate. We are not where we want to be, but we control our own destiny. Sunday is a big ballgame, but they are all big now because when you are tied, every game counts.”
Utah (14-10, 5-7) arrives at Matthew Knight Arena at 6 p.m. Sunday following a 70-51 loss at Oregon State on Thursday. The Ducks (19-6) and Utes each have one more day that usual to prepare for a matchup that closes out the weekend slate in the conference.
“This time of the year, we are not practicing as long,” Altman said. “I am hoping the guys are doing a lot more film work and studying scouting reports so we don’t make as many mental mistakes. We are not going as long as we did in December and January because we still have to have energy to play the games.”
The race for the Pac-12 title is tight with the top six teams separated by one game.
“It is now or never if we want to win the Pac-12 championship,” Oregon sophomore guard Will Richardson said. “I think guys are buying in and knowing that we made a run late last year, we can turn it on at the end of the season. That gives us hope so we can realize it now. We don’t have to take losses to understand that, we can turn it around now.”