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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 11, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Washington is NIT-bound

Programming note: NIT Selection Show live chat at 6 p.m.
Washington’s three-year NCAA tournament run ended today.
The Huskies (21-10) failed to receive an at-large berth and are headed to the NIT.
The NIT Selection Show is 6 p.m. on ESPNU.
Washington is the first team from a major conference in the modern era to win the league and not make it to the tournament.
“I’m much more disappointed than surprised,” coach Lorenzo Romar said today on the teleconference. “We talked to our team how we had to finish strong ever since that Oregon game when we lost and played the way we did. That was a huge, huge setback. I thought we had righted the ship and we were doing really well. Then the last two really hurt us. So I’m not surprised at all. Just really disappointed.”
MORE FROM ROMAR:
— When asked what does it mean when the regular-season winner from a traditional power conference doesn’t make the Big Dance, he said: “I just don’t see this happening again. Unfortunately we have to be the team that’s involved in it this year when it does happen.”
— (When did you realize the NCAA tourney may not happen?) “When we lost to Oregon State, I got real concerned. Really concerned. When Cal lost, I got more concerned. Then St. Bonaventure (won) and Saint Louis lost. A number of things like that started to happen. But what we’ve been saying, I’ve been saying this for the last three week is control what you can control. We had control of the situation and we lost control. So then we’re at the mercy of upsets and all kinds of things that might or might not happen.”
— (How do you motivate players for the NIT?) “Mentally I’ve kind of been preparing myself for this a little more. Now I’m even moved on a little bit or as much as you can right now because you still hold for the one little bit of hope that maybe they’ll call your name. It didn’t happen. I say all of that to say, there’s more games. We get to play more games. We get to be with this team longer. Darnell Gant and whoever else is not going to be here next year. We all get to be together a little longer. There’s a lot of players coming back next year. We can continue to grow. It’s something that I’m looking forward to doing.”
— Romar said if UW had won just one more game, then the Huskies would be playing in the NCAA tournament. “If you take any (away) anyone of those losses and I think we’re looking for tape to find out how we’re going to scout the opponent in the NCAA tournament,” he said.
— (How are the players?) “Our guys are very disappointed. After winning the conference outright, I don’t think they could see any way of why we would not be in the tournament. In their minds,”
— Romar doesn’t feel UW needs to change its approach to non-conference scheduling.
— He said maybe he’ll change the way he coaches the non-conference games. In the past, Romar liked to use those games to get ready for the Pac-12 season. “Maybe in terms of your rotations early in the year,” he said. “Maybe we get into our rotation quicker because of how important these games are. Sometimes we try to play a lot of guys early to figure out who is going to be the best out there on the floor. But we’ll see how it goes.”
— (Does this send a dangerous message that the conference season doesn’t matter?) “No doubt. The selection process is done a lot by numbers. You can almost feed information to the computer and then let it spit out the field of 68. If that’s the case you’re numbers have to be right. Do I believe we’re better? Are we the 69th best team or 70th? No way in the world. We’re definitely one of the best 68 teams, but the numbers didn’t bear that according to the selection committee. That’s how they evaluated our conference. Usually it is worth something us winning our conference. In the Summit League, I believe Oral Roberts went 17-1 and won the conference but their league was ranked so low that didn’t matter. Nevada had a heckuva year and they won their conference by 2-3 games I believe and they didn’t make it. Our conference was just not ranked as high based on the numbers this year. That’s why we suffered.”
— When Iona was announced, Romar thought it would be very difficult. He said: “I thought we would have been in before them.”
— (On the NIT) “There’s teams that are in the NIT and they’re disappointed and it’s a letdown for them because their sights were set on the NCAA tournament. They kind of have to get up to play in this tournament. And there’s other that were waiting to see if they would get in the NIT like we were waiting for the NCAA tournament. The trick is that if you’re one of the teams that is down and you’re playing one of the ones that is so excited, they can get you. It’s past us. We are in a tournament. It’s another challenge. You have a chance to win a championship. It’s not what we wanted. It wasn’t our first choice, but we need to take a hold and seize the moment and get ready to go.”
Updated: 5:18 p.m.

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