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Lorenzo Romar having toughest year at UW

What an awkward and uncomfortable position Washington coach Lorenzo Romar found himself in on Tuesday.

With his inconsistent team preparing for the Pac-10 tournament, Romar learned about an hour before his scheduled weekly news conference that guard Venoy Overton would be charged with providing alcohol to a minor. It was a case that began in January with a sexual assault allegation and has reportedly caused the coach to experience many sleepless nights.

"This has been the toughest year since I've been a coach here, for me," Romar acknowledged. "You have a certain vision and you work hard for your program to be a certain way. You also want the best for your guys and, if something goes wrong and a guy makes a mistake, it's always a setback. You always hate to see that happen. You make mistakes and there are consequences to deal with that."

Washington has downplayed the idea that the Overton case has caused distractions that have resulted in the Pac-10 preseason favorite playing inconsistently and finishing third in the league, and that does make sense.

It was only last week when Romar was telling reporters that the team had lost its identity as a team committed to playing defense. The Huskies haven't quite figured out how to play well away from home, either.

The difference last year was that they played well down the stretch and won the Pac-10 tournament. Heading into this year's tournament, they've lost three of five and now have to deal with the Overton black eye, as he will accompany the team on the trip to Los Angeles and be available for future postseason tournaments.

The Huskies still have the talent to make a run in the NCAAs after returning most of their Sweet 16 team from last year, but the ride to get to this point hasn't been enjoyable for Romar.