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Originally published Friday, December 8, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Mark Few grasps UW's stance

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Thursday he appreciates the convenience of playing other local teams. "The thing I like about regional games...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Thursday he appreciates the convenience of playing other local teams.

"The thing I like about regional games is you can get home the same night," Few said. "Selfishly, I really like that."

Otherwise, he insisted Washington's decision made official Wednesday to not continue its series with Gonzaga next season was much ado about nothing.

"I haven't spent that much time thinking about it," he said during a conference call with reporters to preview Saturday's UW-Gonzaga game, which figures to be the last for a while. "If it goes away, then we've got plenty of guys lined up to play us."

Few took the occasion to attempt to clarify his stance on the subject.

Few began an answer to the first question he got about UW's decision by saying, "It seems like I've been misinterpreted on this, especially over in your region [the Seattle area]," a reference to a comment in The (Tacoma) News Tribune that "if we lost seven of the last eight games, I'd probably look to get rid of that team."

Gonzaga has won seven of the past eight in the series. Few said later the comment wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

Thursday, he mostly expressed empathy for Washington's dilemma.

"Scheduling is really the hardest part of the business right now, even tougher than recruiting, and there are a lot of different ways to do it," he said. "Washington's way has certainly worked terrifically the last couple of years."

Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said Wednesday the Huskies don't have room for a game with Gonzaga next season because they are expecting to play games at Louisiana State and Texas A&M (the latter as part of the Pac-10-Big 12 Challenge, which has yet to be officially announced). And the Huskies also have a home game against Pittsburgh and are working on landing a spot in the Preseason NIT.

Romar said those games would give the Huskies national television exposure, adding that hasn't always been the case with the series with Gonzaga.

Few might have been referencing that comment when he pointed out that "I don't think there's a team out West that has as many national TV appearances as Gonzaga has the last couple of years and that's really served us well."

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But Few seems willing to wait for the Huskies to come calling sometime in the future.

Romar said the Huskies would "revisit" playing Gonzaga after next season.

"Yeah, whatever, it's not that big of a deal," Few said. "If they want to play, there's probably a place for them."

Like UW players, some of whom said they'd like to keep the series going and others said it didn't matter much, two Zags players registered dissenting opinions on Thursday.

Guard Derek Raivio said, "It's tough to see it go," in part because each team has so many players from the state, making it something of a showcase for Washington basketball. But center Josh Heytvelt said, "I don't really care if we play them anymore."

Notes

• Few said he was more upset with Gonzaga's 77-67 defeat against Washington State on Tuesday after viewing the film than he had been initially. "I was really disappointed [with] our general attentiveness and effort, probably in the last seven, eight minutes, defensively and on the glass especially," he said. "But we also did a really poor job of executing what we need to do on the offensive end there down the stretch."

• Only seven players saw double-digit minutes for Gonzaga against WSU. The Bulldogs are waiting for a few players to return from injuries, notably former Juanita High star Micah Downs. Downs, who transferred from Kansas, wouldn't have been eligible until Dec. 16 due to NCAA transfer rules, but is also sidelined with a broken foot. Few said Downs hopes to be ready for a game against Nevada on Dec. 30 at KeyArena.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. Read his blogs on Washington football and basketball at www.seattletimes.com/huskies.

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