In the final analysis, Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar knows Bob Huggins and Bob Huggins’ basketball about as well as any coach in this country, certainly more than most coaches with as low a profile as he has as he leads his team against West Virginia into the Sweet 16 at 7:27 p.m. Thursday in Syracuse.
He has watched Huggins coach up close and personal, coached against him, and spent hours looking at film of Huggins’ teams.
He also knows that all of it doesn’t mean much.
He remembers what a former coach once told him about a team he was about to play.
“They’re easy to scout,” the coach said. “They’re hard to play.”
“I think West Virginia fits that,” Romar said.
Indeed, WVU isn’t fancy. It is basic in its approach, relying on athleticism and strength, defense and rebounding to beat you.
The Mountaineers are what they are, and while it may not be exactly the way Huggins would have it at its finest, it’s pretty good.
As for Romar, well, his Huskies are seeded 10th in the East Region, which probably underrates them quite a bit because the Pac-10 really is a better conference than it has been given credit for.
“We said it many times before, early on in non-conference play the Pac-10 suffered some losses that were looked upon as not very good losses,” Romar explained. “But you have to understand, the conference was playing without some players who were injured or not quite ready to go. They came back and the league played better.
“Then, the league lost 21 players to the NBA. It was a young league and got better as they matured. The non-conference losses gave the league a label. People already made an assumption what the league was. I think the league was better than it was given credit for.”