Lorenzo Romar Press Conference
Tuesday, Mar. 6, 200
Bank of America Arena Media Room
On the most significant win this season.
"That is a tough question, because at the time they all feel so special. I think where the Arizona win fits in, in terms of your confidence and ability to play in any situation. It was significant in that we got a second seed in our tournament, and hopefully it will play into a better seed in the NCAA tournament. But you go on the road against a team that you have so much respect for, playing on senior night--down, and come back and win the game. It is just another situation like in Pauley, where you can draw from, and say that we can get this done. With that said, I would say that the win at Pauley was probably real significant too. Given the fact that we had so much trouble down there. And like you said, to come back how we did, and continue to fight. Also at the time, I believe we had lost three out of four games. So that was a crucial, crucial game for us."
On the freshman starters, still being looked at as freshman
"I think you can start to look at them as sophomores now. They havent experienced a NCAA tournament, so that will be something new for them, but certainly have enough game expereince now to where they understand how to play in hostile environments, and to understand how to play with a lead--without a lead, those type of things."
Is there a sense of desperation in this tournament
"We've been in that position. I don't know if you look at it as desperation instead of this being an opportunity to turn it around. This is an opportunity to get to the big dance. You get fired up and you rally the troops together, you all band together and you just try to go get it done. Desperation sounds like panic to me. I don't think any teams are in a panic mode. You just gather yourself and say `aright, lets get it done. We've got a chance to do something special.'
"I think the motivation is to win the thing. I don't think our guys come out to lose. I don't think they go out saying `we don't have anything else to do today.' You're going out there with an opportunity to win a Pac-10 championship, so I think that is motivation. I think when you win, you want to play again to see how many you can win. We've been fortunate enough to win eight in a row and I think our guys would like to keep that streak going.
"I've not looked statistically at how often it happens. You could argue though, why would it be difficult. We've beaten them twice, why couldn't we beat them a third time? I'm sure that's how Washington State would look at us. `We've beaten them twice, that's a great draw.'"
On how the conference tournament can affect seeding
"I think we saw last year. I don't think we went into our Pac-10 Tournament as a number one seed and I think some others did. Maybe Kentucky went in as a number one seed and lost in their tournament and dropped out of it. We were fortunate enough to win ours and we were given a number one seed. It can have some bearing on your seeding. On the importance of seeding in the NCAA tournament. Years ago when Jason Kidd was at Cal, I don't remember what seed they were, but sometimes the draw is more important than the seed. They drew ( current Washington State Head Coach) Dick Bennett's Wisconsin-Green Bay team. That was one type of team that could slow them down and they lost the game. The seeding is designed to reward those who've had a really good season to give you an opportunity to advance. If you're a number one seed you're given the best opportunity to advance, maybe to the Final Four. It is set up that way, but you could be given a certain high seed and draw your worst nightmare. A team that is just very difficult for you to play against, even though they may not be as good as you are .The draw is just as important as the seed sometimes. Location is just as important sometimes. If you can play close by it is always better than having to fly on a six hour flight, to the east coast in our case. Those are factors that play into whether you are able to advance sometimes.
On what will help the team in the NCAA tournament.
"I think the fact that we've got five or six players on our roster that have played in NCAA tournament play, that certainly helps. Guys that have been through it are not going to be intimidated by the process. I think or style of play helps us. You don't play against someone that plays up-tempo and is on the attack mode all the time. I think that potentially helps us. On the flip side, a Princeton that played in years past a very deliberate style, you're just not accustomed to playing against that style. With someone like Brandon Roy, who is able to break down defense, even though he's been scouted, and even though they've done a great job. When I was an assistant at UCLA we played against Oklahoma State in the Final Four and we couldn't score on them. They were so good defensively, they were so physical and they were so tough, but our little guard was just faster and quicker than they were. I think Brandon Roy is that type of player where he's so gifted that in NCAA play he can help you win games."
On what has improved over the season.
"Defensively number one. The numbers will bear that this is our best defensive team since we've been here. That has helped down the stretch. I think that roles have been more defined, guys have settled in on those. That includes Brandon, who felt as league play started more comfortable as a scorer, doing more than just distributing the ball, doing all the things at a high level. The freshman matured. Ryan Appleby has been more consistent now. As the season develops, guys get more comfortable. And then with the lineup chance we have two scorers coming off the bench."
On resting players for three games in three days.
"I don't think you save your best players legs at the expense of losing a game. But when there are opportunities to rest guys, you have to take advantage of those. People were critical of our preseason schedule, but there was some positives that came out of that schedule. Guys got some game experience. People were critical about not going on the road, and we've had our best road record since we've been here this year. How that worked I don't know, but it's what ended up happening."
On having a regular season champion and a conference tournament.
"I think it's great that you have both because you give more teams a chance to go to the NCAA tournament. A team gets hot and wins the whole thing, now they get to go to the tournament. It is an additional bonus for those who happen to be playing well at the right time.
On the recognition of Washington players in post-season honors.
"When you talk about the six, that is really exciting for me. We place a big emphasis on team and it's amazing what happens when no one gets the credit. When you are playing for your own individual honors it's like trying to get out of handcuffs. The more you struggle the more handcuffed you feel. If you just relax until someone takes them off it's a lot less stress and no scars. And when you see our guys go out and try to play together and then you see six guys get reward with some type of recognition, it's good to see that."
On guard play being critical in the NCAA Tournament
"I think our guards are playing well enough to where we can be fine. We are little like Louisville last year with Francisco Garcia. He was part of their guard trio last year and he handled the ball a lot. He was kind of like the adult that made sure things got done, and Brandon is like that for us. But I think in Justin Dentmon and more recently Ryan, we have more guys that can run your team, and not just Brandon."