Romar looking forward to 'Big' test

With Pac-10 play closer than he'd like it to be, Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar is going to try and squeeze as much juice as he can out of his next two opponents - LSU and Weber State. But before the other WSU comes calling, it's all about putting 'Big Baby' to sleep on Wednesday. The question remains, how do you do it?

Glen Davis - known as the 'Big Baby' for his once rotund presence, has put a lasso around his waistline, and others are trying to put a lasso around his formidable game. In a 60-53 win over Oregon State in Corvallis on Sunday, the 6-foot-9, 295-pound junior from Baton Rouge had a double-double - 22 points and 13 rebounds. This is not uncommon for Big Baby. In fact, in the last four games played by the Bayou Bengals, Davis has registered a double-double in each.

The question is, are they just Big Baby and the four toddlers, or is this an LSU (6-2) team that can get after it just like the 2005-06 team that reached the national semifinals? Gone is first-round pick Tyrus Thomas, but Romar feels like this Tiger team can put points on the board with the best of them. After all, they are currently ranked as the No. 12 team in the country. Washington is ranked 17th.

"They still have firepower," Romar said on Monday. "Thomas added a different dimension as a shot-blocker and a guy that causes havoc on defense, but this team hasn't taken a backseat. They are easily the most physical team that we'll face this year."

And that 'physicality' begins and ends with Davis. Some people want to compare Davis to the last big man that made a significant impact on LSU basketball - Shaquille O'Neal. "I think that's an unfair comparison," Romar said. "I'd say a more fair comparison would be to Charles Barkley. I think Ike Diogu has been the most difficult big man that we've had to face since we've been here. And he (Davis) is right up there. He can do a lot of damage in the paint, but he can also take you off the dribble. He's unbelievable in the clutch. He just finds ways to get to the ball. He's a fantastic basketball player.

"We watched tape of LSU against Texas, and he dribbled through their zone. That's hard to do for a guard, but he's a unique player. He also looks like he's always having fun out there."

Romar also talked glowingly about sophomore guard Garrett Temple. "He's really impressive to me," Romar said of Temple. "Players can take big shots, but he hits big shots. He's great defensively, he's a big 'glue' guy for them. He's young, but he definitely plays well beyond his years."

Right now Temple is third on LSU's team in scoring behind Davis and Tasmin Mitchell, and also leads their team in assists and steals.

Romar hopes that the LSU game will give the young Huskies a dose of what they sorely need right now - a big, physical, aggressive team that will mirror a lot of what the top conference teams will show them - specifically teams like UCLA. "They are a lot like UCLA in the way they defend, and they are also very strong and physical. And a week from Wednesday we get on a plane (to Los Angeles), so each practice we've tried to get better and each game we've tried to get better, and we have to be getting better because conference play is just around the corner," Romar said.

Besides trying to get his young troops battle-tested, Romar has had to work with a deficiency in numbers. With Joe Wolfinger and Joel Smith out, as well as Harvey Perry transferring at the end of the quarter, the coaches have had to assign new duties to their already heavy workload as teachers.

"The biggest handicap (to only having 10 available players) is practice," Romar said. "Anytime you want to go 5-5 and one of your guys can't go, it limits you. Fortunately we have a couple of coaches in Coach Dollar and Fortier that are still in very good shape and can help us out, but that's the biggest handicap. In a close game, we probably wouldn't play 10."

This came into play Monday, as starting frosh guard Adrian Oliver did not practice on Monday - still dealing with the effects of suffering a concussion against Portland State on Saturday. Romar expects Oliver to start on Wednesday. "If he can go, he'll start," Romar said. "We're just going to make sure there are no lingering effects."

And so the Huskies move forward - hopefully in an upward - and at the same time consistent - manner. "What we've tried to instill in the team is that hopefully the opponent doesn't matter," Romar said. "And I think that two out of the last three games, we've played more like what we're supposed to. Whether it's LSU, Duke or the Citadel, we have to continue to play a certain way."

And now that the team only has basketball on its mind until the new quarter starts in January, Romar hopes that added focus will help raise the Huskies' game that much more. "Guys' minds are clear, they are coming in with a little more confidence," he said. "The last time we played a top-25 team (Gonzaga), we stubbed our toe, so I think our guys will come out ready to play.

"We can be a physical team too."
Basket-brawl: Romar was asked about the brawl that emerged at the end of the Knicks-Nuggets game Sunday, where former UW guard Nate Robinson had a prominent role. Robinson didn't instigate the fighting, but he certainly didn't back down when challenged. "There's no place for that," Romar said of the fighting. "Sometime tempers flare and things get out of hand. When you are around a bunch of competitors, scuffles will occur, but things should never get to that point. Nate (Robinson) has never backed down from any physical or competitive situation. So when J.R. Smith came at him, he did what we all expected Nate would probably do...he body-slammed the guy."

New scoreboard, part one: Washington fans going to the sold-out LSU-UW game on Wednesday will see a new feature added to the main scoreboard that hovers above the middle of the court at Bank of America arena. An 'LED Ring' will be placed at the bottom of the existing scoreboard, and the ring will have video graphics and text that will mainly display messages and the like. It's the first part of a major renovation of the scoreboard. The other part of the renovation will most likely be finished by the end of January, and it includes a replacement of all four screens. Top Stories