Gonzaga’s success underscores Washington’s struggles under Romar

Mar 23, 2015, 6:34 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2015, 4:02 pm
While Gonzaga has played in 17 straight NCAA tourneys, Lorenzo Romar and UW hasn’t been since...
While Gonzaga has played in 17 straight NCAA tourneys, Lorenzo Romar and UW hasn't been since 2011. (AP)

Mention Gonzaga’s unprecedented success – 17 straight NCAA Tournaments, on its way to a sixth Sweet 16 appearance – to a University of Washington fan, and it’s unlikely to be met with a positive response.

The two schools may not be natural rivals, as they don’t share a conference and haven’t even played each other since 2006. But with the Huskies having hit a snag in recent years, missing out on each tournament since 2011 and finishing 16-15 overall (5-13 Pac-12) this season, the fact that a smaller school from their same state has continued to win only adds insult to injury.

In the morning after Gonzaga’s dominant win over Iowa on Sunday, 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” of 710 ESPN Seattle looked at what the Zags have done and the Huskies haven’t in recent years, and whether Washington coach Lorenzo Romar should be on the hot seat. Romar has won two conference titles and reached the Sweet 16 three times in his 13 seasons with the Huskies, but with a mediocre 51-46 record over the last three years, it’s not out of bounds to wonder if a change wouldn’t benefit the Dawgs.

“When you start to compare it (Gonzaga) to Lorenzo Romar and what he’s got going on here at Washington, the comparison’s ugly,” Mike Salk said. “I love what he’s capable of doing, and we’ve seen it before. I think his program lost its way a few years ago, and unfortunately for him perception becomes reality in college sports.”

From Washington alum Brock Huard’s perspective, the Huskies are missing something that each of the 16 teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament can lay claim to.

“You think of the teams sitting there right now … what’s their program? What’s Arizona? What’s Gonzaga? What’s Kentucky? What’s Michigan State? They have an identity,” Huard said.

He went on to say that an identity is something UW used to have, but like Salk alluded to, it has lost its way in the years since.

“Ten years ago, what’s University of Washington?” Huard said. “‘Ooh man, up and down the court. I mean athletes. Gonna run ya, gonna play defense, gonna get out on the open floor, gonna be so entertaining to watch. That’s what they are.’ What’s their program right now? What is their brand? And man, when you can’t answer that definitely…”

You can find the conversation at the 15-minute mark of this podcast of the second hour “Brock and Salk” from Monday.

Brock and Salk podcast

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Gonzaga’s success underscores Washington’s struggles under Romar