Saturday’s game at Connecticut is the first time Washington plays UConn since their meeting in the 2006 NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Their last encounter – a 98-92 overtime defeat – still haunts Lorenzo Romar.
“The circumstances surrounding the other two times that we played them are different than right now,” Romar said referring to a 1998 75-75 loss to UConn in the NCAA Sweet Sixteeen. He did not refer to a 69-48 blowout defeat at Connecticut on Dec. 1, 1998.
“Those were Sweet Sixteen games that went down the buzzer,” Romar said. “This game is a non-conference game, I believe the last one for both teams as we enter conference. It’s a lot different.”
Romar said the NCAA games against UConn were two of the hardest he’s endured.
“One was as a fan watching and an alum,” he said. “Richard Hamilton hit his shot and ‘Owww. The Huskies.’ The second time, yeah probably the toughest loss. To this day you realize how close you were to a Final Four. It’s a matter of inches. I think about that one.
“I remember sitting in the locker room after the game, after we’ve addressed our team and spoken to the media just thinking you got to work hard. It’s hard to get in this situation where you have this opportunity. You have to work hard to try to get back because they don’t come along every day.”
Washington returned to the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 and lost 69-56 to West Virginia.
Here’s a few more notes from today’s press conference.
— Romar didn’t have an update on when Austin Seferian-Jenkins would make an announcement. He said circumstances are different this time than the were last year when ASJ played 17 games for the basketball team after completing his freshman football season.
— Romar said Shawn Kemp Jr. is still “rusty” after missing the first seven games due to a knee injury. He added: “It’s a matter of time before the rust comes off.”
— Romar said he knows former UConn coach Jim Calhoun and spoke positively about current UConn Kevin Ollie, who spent the 2002-03 season with the Sonics. Ollie played 13 years in the NBA for 12 teams. Said Romar: “He’s a tremendous people person. Man of integrity. Someone that you feel you can trust when you talk to him. He played 13 years in the NBA and I don’t think anyone would have guessed when he came out maybe high school or college that he would play 13 years in the NBA. He did it because he’s a talented basketball player, but he’s a great teammates with a high basketball IQ. Teams wanted him to be a part of what they were doing.”
— When asked about the Pac-12, Romar said: “Arizona State has done far better than anyone thought they would. Oregon State is playing better basketball then some people might give them credit for.” He mentioned Colorado and Oregon and added: “The class of the conference right now is Arizona.”