With a buzzer beater loss to Nevada the Washington Huskies are now under .500 with a 4-game non-conference losing streak. The talk is heating up over Lorenzo Romar and his coaching security at Washington but is this just a lot of social media chatter? Washington AD Jennifer Cohen says Romar is safe for now but how many more losses will it take before the administration seriously starts looking at new coaching possibilities?
My guess for the magic number to keep his job is winning 15 games. If Romar can not win 15 games this year I believe he will be looking for a new coaching job at the end of the season. Romar has created this situation by bringing in top tier talent with out top tier results. When one gets the #1 player in the country to sign with the Huskies the expectation of winning a lot of games comes with the reward of landing such talent. Truthfully, there is no excuse for the number of losses thus far as Markelle Fultz has more than proved he should go #1 or at least top 5 in the NBA draft. It's been a recurring theme in Washington basketball coverage that it simply comes down to defense. The Washington defense is so incredibly bad that you would think these guys are just completely raw without any coaching being drilled into their heads they can not rely on offense only to win. Unfortunately, on appearance that seems to be exactly what's going on. Romar in post-game sound bites dismissed the Nevada game as just another bump in the road. The urgency is not there for a coach who should be winning based on the talent that is on the court. As much as I am not personally a fan of Sean Miller I doubt he would tolerate the kind of inept play Washington exhibited this season when it comes to guarding men on the floor (Arizona allowing 20 points less per ball game to opponents).
It boils down to this. Romar does not seem fired up about winning. He should be expecting to go to the sweet 16 at a minimum with Fultz in the lineup. Romar seems to have the character building part of helping these young players develop into productive citizens, but more is needed when you are a power 5 conference coach who has not been to the NCAA tournament in 5 years despite having multiple first round draft picks in that time span. In the end, Romar needs to find a way to win. He needs to get his guys fired up. And most importantly, he needs to emphasize fundamentals on defense immediately in just paying attention and hustling every play down the court which these sad performances are lacking. I hope Lorenzo Romar finds a way to turn this season around quickly because having Markelle Fultz this year and Michael Porter Jr next year shows great promise for the program if it can find a way to live up to that promise.