BERKELEY, CALIF. - Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has a theory that Pacific-10 Conference teams taking Thursday-Sunday road trips are at an apparent disadvantage in the second game.
A small sample of games from last season backs up his theory.
Romar’s thinking is especially relevant now because after losing at Stanford on Thursday, Washington passed an extra day in the Bay Area on Saturday while waiting to return to action tonight at California.
“Just that extra day, for some reason, teams haven’t been as successful,” Romar said. “Teams win more at home than on the road in general, but I think the odds may go up a little bit more for the home team. Figuring out why is that, what is the deal, hopefully we can figure that out to come out OK (tonight).”
The typical Pac-10 trip involves Thursday and Saturday games. Last season, only three teams were sent on Thursday-Sunday trips – and all three lost their Sunday games: Cal at Arizona, UCLA at Stanford and USC at Cal.
However, such trips are becoming more common, and even more change is coming – the conference is expected to stray even further from dependable Thursday-Saturday games next season.
For one thing, the league will become the Pac-12, with the addition of Colorado and Utah giving the league its most geographically distant pair of travel partners.
But more relevant, the conference is negotiating a new television contract. And they way USC coach Kevin O’Neill sees it, the more games available at different times, the more games become available for broadcast.
“We’ve got to do whatever is in the best interest of TV exposure,” O’Neill said. “We have to be willing – because we’re on the West Coast – to do things. So to me, whether we have to play Friday nights or Sunday afternoons or Sunday nights or Pac-10 Fridays or whatever it is, we need to make sure we’re on TV as much as we possibly can be.”
Romar said he understands, but
“You have to negotiate what’s best for the league, but you do not want to do it at the expense of our student-athletes’ academics,” he said. “ We’re playing on Sunday night, so that makes it a little tougher. We won’t get back until 11 (a.m.) on Monday, so that makes it a little more problematic. But again, I think it depends which road trip you’re taking.”
After tonight, five more Sunday games loom on the league schedule.
NO. 17 WASHINGTON (12-4, 4-1 PAC-10) AT CALIFORNIA (9-7, 2-2)
7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.
TV: FSN. Radio: 950-AM.
Series: Cal leads 77-75 overall and 48-26 in Berkeley. Last season, UW won games at home and in the Pac-10 tournament but lost at Cal.
Statistical leaders: For UW – Isaiah Thomas, 15.9 ppg and 4.9 apg; Matthew Bryan-Amaning,7.5 rpg. For Cal – Harper Kamp, 13.4 ppg; Markhuri Sanders-Frison, 8.3 rpg; Jorge Gutierrez, 4 apg.
Scouting report: Cal, the defending Pac-10 regular-season champion, is rebuilding after the loss of its top four scorers. The new-look Bears feature Gutierrez, who made the All-Pac-10 defensive team; Kamp, who is second in the league in free- throw percentage (84.5); and Sanders-Frison, a 6-foot-7 center who is third in the league in rebounding. Freshman guard Allen Crabbe scored 30 Thursday in Cal’s win over Washington State.
Next: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, vs. Arizona, Hec Ed Pavilion; FSN.
Don Ruiz, staff writer