Last nights victory over Cal Irvine was memorable for many reasons. A record tying 14 "3's"; a record student crowd of over 1400 hundred; sole possession of first place in mid-February; NCAA bracketology showing UH in the Big dance; etc, etc etc
It was a night to remember. In a game that many, including me, thought would be close and played in the 60's, it was anything but. The Rainbows took it to Irvine on both ends of the floor. Everyone is talking about the three's, but I was evenly impressed by the lock down defense on Irvine's guards and big men. It was a Big West Player of the Year night for Bobbitt, with strong support from Thomas and Valdes. Irvine was the top team in the league defensively, but they were no match for UH last night. And as predicted, they remain offensively challenged.
If you listened to Hoopstalk or the pregame, I said the key for UH was to make 10 threes and shoot better than 50% from beyond the arc. They had 10 threes with 16 minutes left in the game, and ended with a three point percentage close to 50%. Will Irvine get some measure of revenge next Saturday? Its quite possible as UH will not shoot like that again, especially there, but for one night, the magic returned to the Arena unlike anything I have seen in years.
There is still much basketball to be played. UH has 4 more road games, including games at Irvine and Long Beach ( watch out for the Beach). Irvine has an easier schedule with Hawaii and Long Beach at Home. But for now, and until next Saturday, UH is the top dog. ( I know, they have Fullerton Saturday nite and Northridge on the road next Thursday, but they are both bottom-feeders).
Its been several years since UH basketball fans have been looking at predictions for the NCAA Tournament. I remember those days and how much fun it was to see UH in the mix. I still don't think an at-large is possible because of UH's mediocre RPI and poor strength of schedule, but an NIT bid and/or a Conference Championship is certainly within reach. The next goal is to hopefully crack the top 25. It wont be easy because most of the remaining games are against poor teams, but its going to be hard to ignore a potentially 24-25 win team.