This has been a tougher than average year for Lorenzo Romar. The season started with the grand expectations of high initial rankings but by mid January it looked like his young team was going to underperform all the way to the NIT if they were lucky. In many ways it was mirroring Quincy Pondexter's first season at Washington. A young team full of young five star recruits that wasn't playing to its potential.
As Washington's star began to fade so did the rest of the Pac 10. The bracketologists were predicting that maybe only one or two Pac 10 teams would make the big dance this year. Washington was on the bubble going into the Pac 10 tournament while Cal and ASU were the likely squads to move on. The Huskies took care of business winning three in a row which removed all doubt and knocked the Sun Devils into the NIT.
Lorenzo and his squad picked up a lot of criticism on the way to the teams fifth tournament berth in the last seven years. Many felt that the team was suffering a hangover from the loss of assistants Cameron Dollar and Ken Bone over the last couple of years. Lorenzo could recruit with anyone but he couldn't teach the half court offense well without Ken Bone and pressure defense without Cameron Dollar.
The true judgement of any piece of work in progress in any trade is the finished product. By guiding his young team to its fifth tournament appearance in seven years Lorenzo Romar is on a roll that is unprecedented in the annals of Washington basketball.
This team worked hard and corrected a lot of problems to get this far. I would say that of all Lorenzo's teams at Washington this was among his most challenging. I think he did one helluva job pulling this team together for the second half of the season stretch run. These guys finished strong and are poised to go as deep as any of his teams have in the tournament this season.
As far as brackets go despite an eleven seed I think the Huskies lucked out in this area. I think they have an easier road ahead of them than Gonzaga and California. First up is Marquette in what looks to be a toss-up type of contest. UW needs to control the perimeter to beat Marquette to move on. The Golden Eagles live and die with the three and Washington matches up pretty well defenisively with these guys.
I am not sure how deep this team will end up going but one thing is for sure. March Madness is an annual event at Washington and we have Lorenzo Romar to thank for that.
QB Jeremiah Masoli has been suspended for the season and RB LaMichael James has been suspended for one game by the Oregon athletic department. I agree with the one game suspension for James even though it won't hurt Oregon very much. After looking through the court documents it seems that he is deserving of a second chance. Keep in mind that under Rick Neuheisel TE Jeremy Stevens was only suspended for the first half of one game after driving his car into a retirement complex by Northgate.
The Masoli suspension is something I don't agree with. I think he should have been thrown out of school period. Not only did he commit the senseless crime he also supposedly lied to Chip Kelly when asked about it. By not telling the truth he made Kelly and Bellotti look like idiots. The thinking at Oregon is that he can use this year to redshirt and return to compete for the starting job in 2011 if he hangs around that long.
You have to wonder if they will consider rescinding Masoli's suspension halfway through the season if the Ducks are struggling on offense. Blount was reinstated in November after supposedly being suspended the entire season after his nationally televised post game tirade after the Boise state game.
Once again I think Oregon is sending the wrong message to its players. I also think they have a different set of rules based on a players importance to the team. I think these type of contradictions will continue to cause further problems for the Ducks off the field.