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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

UW’s Romar expects ‘real’ Zags to show up

Lorenzo Romar has seen only “bits and pieces” of the video from Gonzaga’s unsightly 89-72 loss to Illinois in Saturday’s Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis.

Still, that was enough for Washington’s third-year coach to give the production a thumbs-down rating – primarily because of poor casting. The guys wearing the Gonzaga uniforms, he reasons, must have been understudies.

“The one thing I took from the video of the Illinois game was that that wasn’t the real Gonzaga team,” said Romar, who brings his unbeaten and 14th-ranked Huskies (4-0) into the McCarthey Athletic Center today for a 5 p.m. matchup against the cross-state rival Bulldogs (3-1). “That’s not going to be the team we’ll be facing (tonight), I can guarantee you that.”

Gonzaga coach Mark Few can only hope Romar is right.

The team he put on the floor against Illinois struggled like none in recent memory, falling behind by 38 points at one point in the second half. If the same team shows up tonight, the Zags’ 3-0 record in their new 6,000 arena is in danger of being soiled with a loss.

This is, after all, the deepest and most talented Huskies team to emerge in some time, thanks primarily to the energy and determination Nate Robinson brings to the floor each game and each practice.

The 5-foot-9 junior is averaging 21.5 points, 4.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds and was named the Pacific-10 Conference’s player of the week on Monday after leading UW to the Great Alaska Shootout championship last weekend.

According to Romar, Robinson has it all – speed, savvy, hops and experience. But it is the way he completes, Romar added, that makes Robinson truly special.

Few, after losing five seniors – including two-time West Coast Conference player of the year Blake Stepp and three-time all-WCC first-teamer Cory Violette to graduation, is still waiting for that kind of competitor to emerge at GU.

The Bulldogs haven’t had many problems on offense, but their indifference on the defensive end of the floor has been a concern since the start of the season.

Opponents are shooting 48.5 percent from the field and averaging a robust 76.2 points per game against the Zags, who have been hampered by the season-long absence of junior guard and defensive stopper Erroll Knight (sprained thumb).