Romar's name is getting tossed about as the conference coach of the year because of his success in getting his young players to contribute quickly and the Huskies' rebound from a miserable nonconference slate during which they were 7-5 with no impressive victories.
"He's done a great job of taking the younger guys and being patient with them but still making sure we get a lot done," Gant said.
Before the Los Angeles trip even begins, Romar believes the Huskies' resume is strong enough to warrant an NCAA tournament bid. While he has that confidence, his players don't intend to take any chances in a year when the conference might get anywhere from one to four bids and only the winner of the conference tournament is certain to make the NCAAs.
But there is history on the Huskies' side. The last time a regular-season champion — or co-champ — of the conference failed to make the NCAA tournament was 1958, when Oregon State shared the regular-season title of the Pacific Coast Conference with California after each finished the conference season with 12-4 marks. The Golden Bears received the NCAA bid thanks to a one-game playoff victory over the Beavers.
"I think we are good enough defensively to compete in the NCAA tournament," Romar said. "I think if and when we begin to get everyone healthy and hit on all cylinders offensively, I think we can be dangerous offensively. And you put those two together and you have a chance to be competitive with anyone."
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