Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar met with reporters on Monday afternoon to preview Tuesday’s 6 p.m. first-round NIT game against Long Beach State at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
One note: Romar purchased all of the Dawg Pack tickets for Tuesday’s game, so students will be able to attend for free with their Husky Card.
(On team’s reaction to being picked to play) “There wasn’t a whole lot of cheering at all. But based on our practice yesterday, I think our guys are excited to go and continue to play.”
(On benefit to playing in postseason, even if not NCAAs) “Again, you get to compete at a high, high level. You get to play for a championship. Our fifth-year senior, Andrew Andrews, gets to play more games. And then our younger players get more game experience. It’s a home game, so we have a chance to let our people come out and watch us play again, and we get to play in front of them, so we’re ready to go.”
(On some NIT teams not playing like they want to be there) “I’ve seen that. I doubt that’s the case with Long Beach State, but I’ve seen some teams look at it that way. I’ll tell you what happens, too – after you play a game, if you’re able to advance, you embrace it a little more. For those type teams that weren’t interested in playing in the first place, you embrace it more as you move on.”
(On Long Beach State) “They are very, very scrappy, and just about everyone that they put on the basketball floor can shoot the ball. It’s one thing to say they shoot a lot of 3s and it’s generated by a couple of guys, but just about everyone they put on the floor can knock that 3 down, so that makes it difficult. We played them I believe in 2013 and we played them last year, in Anaheim, and both times the game went down to the wire. We were able to get a lead on them early and they came back. Every time we’ve played Long Beach State recently it’s been a competitive game.”
(On Dan Monson’s teams) “I think good play epitomizes Dan Monson. He’s been a good coach everywhere he’s been, and been very successful.”
(On buying all the Dawg Pack tickets) “We appreciate the Dawg Pack. They’re wonderful, and they have been for many years, and this year you could see that they were back, and their presence was felt. As a token of appreciation, just kind of wanted to show that, other than just saying ‘thank you.’ This is how much we believe in you and how much we appreciate you.”
(On knowing how well the Pac-12 did in the NCAA tournament seedings and being frustrated that UW was so close) “Well, in situations like this, you’re frustrated because we had our chances. We could control our own destiny and we didn’t. we let a couple get away that we had the opportunity to capitalize on. That part is the most frustrating. But you’ll think about it from time to time, but we are playing in another tournament now and we’ve got to move on.”
(On seven Pac-12 teams making the NCAA tournament) “Awesome. We’ve been saying all year that our conference – around December, you could see our conference was doing quite well, before the league (schedule) started. We knew it was a special year for our conference, and I think the NCAA field reflects that, that the Pac-12 was very good this year.”
(On missed opportunities this season) “Preseason, Santa Barbara and Oakland. Everyone that doesn’t have as good of a year as they would have liked, or didn’t win as many games as they would have liked, everyone has a song and dance about how we were up two and this happened, we were up 12 with two minutes to go and this happened – I don’t really count some of those games. You lost. Oakland came in here and just beat us. Kay Felder was playing at a high, high level. They beat us. We had a couple other games won that we didn’t finish, and those are the ones that you lament a little more. And those were more conference games. Obviously, Oregon State was one that you were right there. Colorado, at Colorado, thought we were right there.”
(On the team responding to disappointment and getting excited to play) “Again, our guys had a lot of energy. I’ve continued to answer this question all year, basically, will your guys answer the bell after what just happened. Even after a victory, such an emotional victory, come back from 22, will you answer the bell in the next game? Or a tough loss, will you answer the bell? And almost every time our guys have. So I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t from here.”
(On whether beating Oregon State would have made a difference) “It’s interesting – if we win the game against Oregon State, we’re 10-8 with 19 wins and they’re 8-10 with 17 D-1 wins. They had a higher RPI than we did, though. But that would have meant we tied for fifth in our league. So with one game, we’re tied for fifth. It would have been interesting to see if we still had got our name called or not. But that with one more victory, slam dunk. No doubt. Especially if we would have been able to finish the Oregon game. Slam dunk.
“I think the Oregon State win, coupled with one other win, I think it’s a slam dunk. This is the same guy that told you we wouldn’t be in when we won the league in 2012, now, so I’m not just being biased.”
(On finishing where they did this season and making the NIT) “I think it shows progress. Hopefully we have everyone back except for Andrew, but it definitely shows progress. You rewind the clock, this exact day last year, I don’t know how many thought we would be playing in postseason, regardless if it was NCAA or NIT. And as strong as the league was, that we would finish tied for sixth. I don’t know if anyone would have thought that. So I think we made progress this year, and that’s what you want to be able to do. And I think playing in this will do nothing but take us a step further in making progress going into next year.”
(On if they can play as well in the NIT as they did in the Pac-12 tournament) “I don’t know, but I know we played pretty good basketball. The Stanford game, I thought we played great, and then the Oregon game, I thought we did a really good job. You look at Oregon, I don’t think Oregon played badly that game. Maybe we got out ahead, but then they came roaring back and they competed and they played, and they’re a No. 1 seed, and then you look at their next two games, what happened in their games, I would have to say we were playing at a pretty high level in that tournament.”
(On talking to the team about how close they were) “Well, for one, we were (just) able to get together yesterday. After the game was not the time to talk about it a lot. Our guys know. Our guys know exactly what just happened, and I think that’s where the disappointment comes in, that we were all conference long able to compete with anyone in our league. All conference long, we didn’t win them all, but we were right there, and with just a little better defense or rebounding or being able to make shots, whatever it is, stay out of foul trouble, do just a little better in one of those areas, we’re in the NCAA tournament. And that Oregon game, after we played that, the guys watched – they know. Our guys are aware.”
(Did you stick around for the rest of the Pac-12 tournament?) “I ended up going recruiting.”
(On whether he watched the NCAA selection show) “I was driving home from the airport, so I didn’t get a chance to watch it. I was just getting updates.”