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One more year?

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Report indicates Lorenzo Romar will be back for his 16th year, but will he?

NCAA Basketball: Washington at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas is a fun place.

With the Pac-12 Tournament opening up Wednesday at the T-Mobile Arena (very cool venue, I saw Bon Jovi there the other week...don’t judge), there’s some added excitement.

But, if you read the odds makers, it’s likely that the UW men’s basketball team won’t be in Nevada too long and will be heading back to Seattle on Thursday morning after yet another loss to end its season.

As a 12-point underdog to the USC Trojans, not many expect the Huskies to make it out of the first round. It makes sense considering the Trojans are playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. As a bubble team, USC will be playing with a lot on the line. Also, the Dawgs are on a 12-game losing streak and finished conference play 2-16. They will also be playing without Markelle Fultz who likely will not return next year.

Which leads to the obvious question as to whether Lorenzo Romar should keep his job as head coach.

A report by Yahoo’s! Pat Forde indicated that sources have told him that Romar will be staying another year as head coach at the University of Washington.

But, just as that report surfaced on Monday night, Percy Allen and Dave Mahler countered it with news from their sources that the school has yet to make a decision on the program. Allen’s report in the Seattle Times indicated that there was no confirmation on Forde’s initial report.

So, either Forde is absolutely wrong or the program is in disarray as the UW defense was most of this year. I would tend to think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Sources told Forde he’s staying when the news was not supposed to be made public.

To keep Romar would make sense from the perspective that it solidifies the incoming class featuring the nation’s number 1 player Michael Porter, Jr.

Just in case you forgot, this guy should be in a Husky uniform next year:

From a financial standpoint, there is a $3.2 million buyout if the UW decides to buyout Romar’s contract prior to next year. Former AD Scott Woodward signed Romar to a 10-year contract at a time when we thought there would be endless tournament appearances. Looking back, locking him in at $1.7 per year was a bad deal.

Interesting enough, attendance is up over last year. This may be attributed to the hype over Fultz. The Tacoma News Tribune article states the UW attributes it to marketing and half-season ticket plans. As a cynic, I sense this is a way to negate the fact that amateur athletes are fueling the financial success (i.e., Fultz is helping the Huskies sell tickets). The UCLA blowout (the only matchup between Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz) was the first sellout in two years. Overall, attendance has been down over the years but that can be expected without a team that has not made the tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Washington State
Fultz will sit out against USC on Wednesday
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming the program is still thinking about Romar’s future, Jen Cohen has a hard decision. She would have to decide whether to go through a buyout at a time when the Athletic Department is operating at a deficit. Despite the current situation, Romar is a popular, well-liked coach that has run a clean program devoid of scandal. It also would mean the disassembly of one of the top recruiting classes in the nation assuming Porter, Jr., et al signed on for Romar and not the school.

It would make sense to go through one more season to “see how it goes” and if Romar does not come through, it would be all the evidence to show that it’s just no longer working out and a buyout would be warranted.

If Romar turns it around with Porter, Jr., then it buys time for the next year.

Of course, it does seem like putting a band-aid over a huge gash.

As we’ve seen this season, even with a potential top pick in the NBA draft, Romar could not get his team to the NCAA tournament. Barring a Vegas-like hot streak, the Huskies will miss the tournament for the sixth straight year. While you may mitigate the losses due to the fact that Fultz sat out several games including the last 3 due to a nagging injury, the team still lost at an alarming rate and its inability to either find a basket or their defensive assignment made even the most ardent Husky basketball fan turn away.

Even if Romar stays, can he turn the team around with another number 1 pick in the NBA?

Just like in Vegas, let’s roll the dice.