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October 27, 2006 at 3:36 PM

UW-GU scheduling fires temper

You wouldn’t have expected Lorenzo Romar to add any fuel to the fire seemingly started by Mark Few on Thursday, and predictably enough, Romar didn’t.
In case you missed it, Few said Thursday, as reported by the Tacoma News Tribune, that “if we were ever in a situation where we lost seven of the last eight games, I’d probably look to get rid of that team.”
Few made the remark after UW officials said the Huskies may not be able to schedule Gonzaga for the 2007-08 season due to other pending commitments. Gonzaga won seven straight against UW before the Huskies beat them last season.
I read the quote to Romar today hoping for fireworks and got this: “I have no reaction.”
Instead, Romar again calmly stated the reasons why the Huskies may not be able to fit GU on the schedule for the 07-08 season, and emphasized that it could be a “temporary” interruption.
“It has nothing to do with Gonzaga,” Romar said. “It’s just what we are trying to do with our schedule here. As our program continues to grow and we’ve had some success, it has given us some opportunities here on a national stage and we have to temporarily look at it [stopping the Gonzaga series].”
Among those opportunities in 2007-08 are the pre-season NIT and a possible spot in the Pac-10-Big 12 Challenge. Washington already has games set that year at Louisiana State and home to Pittsburgh, and Romar said the Huskies’ schedule is simply getting pretty full.
In fact, he said UW also had a game on the hook with another “top-10 name” and had to back off when the possibility of the Challenge arose.
The question some of you may have is why can’t UW simply schedule them all and kick off the Portland States of the world.
Romar points out that UW is already set to face a grueling 18-game Pac-10 schedule each year, followed by the conference tournament. So the nonconference schedule has to be a mix of games against top teams for exposure and to gain experience along with games against teams that the Huskies are likely to beat, that allow for working out some early-season kinks.
“We do have a very difficult schedule in the Pac-10 year in and year out,” Romar said. “You have to be smart with how you schedule and I think the schedule we are putting together for next year, when you factor in the overall schedule, will be one of the toughest schedules around. Whether you are deleting someone or not is not the issue. The issue is whether you are putting the best schedule together for your program. That’s what it is about.”
When we contacted Few today, he seemed to understand that, as well.
Few, in fact, said that his comment on Thursday wasn’t meant to be taken as literally as it might read and that he didn’t intend for it to be quoted.
“From our point of view, it’s been fun, it’s been great,” Few said today of the series with UW. “But I truly, totally understand what a bear scheduling is.”
That’s a larger point with which Romar concurs.
The Huskies took some flak for last year’s schedule, which turned out weaker than anticipated for a variety of reasons and also didn’t include a road game before Pac-10 play began. Romar said that simply pointed out the vagaries in scheduling.
“Last year was an aberration, the way things worked out,” Romar said. “Typically you would like to have a road game or two to get yourself acclimated on the road. We did not have a road game last year but we were 6-3 on the road so it wasn’t like it hurt us. But I think that you want to try to do that.
“You want to try to play some tough opponents, some that are going be very, very competitive and are going to push you. I think that it’s really good to have a couple of high-profile opponents come in and play here in our facility for our [fans] to reward them. It’s also important to play games where you can maybe experiment and do some things and play some people that you want to look at.
“Sometimes you have freshmen that aren’t getting an opportunity early and maybe that gives them an opportunity for some early looks and to gain some experience. There are a lot of things that you want covered in a nonconference schedule.”



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