The easy part of UH's pre-conference schedule ended with a summer league type win over a badly outmatched Chaminade team last night. The game was over at the half as UH dominated on both ends of the court. Uh had 50 plus points in the paint which more than compensated for very poor three point shooting and 21 turnovers. I guess as a " tune -up game after a two week layover it was worthwhile, but from an competitive viewpoint it was solely lacking.
But the games against schools no- one has heard of and Division 2 teams is over. Starting Monday, the Diamond Head Classic will feature one really good teams and a bunch of mid level teams from Conferences we all know. Its not a very strong field, but other than Wichita State, its a competitive one.
Hawaii will open against Nebraska. At the beginning of the season, folks thought Nebraska could be a top 25 team. Unfortunately, they haven't played like one. They do have two preseason All Big 10 players in Terran Pettaway and Shavon Shields, along with wins against Cincinnati and Florida State, but they have lost to Rhode Island, Creighton ( a rivalry game) and Incarnata Word ( WHO?). Its a game I think Hawaii can and will win.
But the winner of that game gets the opportunity to lose to Wichita State. No the Shockers are not playing as well as they did the last two seasons, but they come in here with only an overtime road loss to a solid Utah team. They all two of the best guards in the Country in Baker and Van Fleet. Bobbitt and the rest of the Bow guards will have a significant challenge on their hands. Wichita State will open with the weakest team in the field Loyola Marymount, and if Hawaii should lose to Nebraska, they will have little trouble with LMU in the Consolation Round.
The other half of the bracket is wide open. Perhaps Colorado is the favorite. The Buffalos come in6-3 with wins over Auburn and San Francisco, but they have lost to Wyoming and Georgia. Other teams in the day bracket are Ohio University ( 3-4), DePaul ( 6-4) and George Washington ( 6-3). Clearly the Shockers are the overwhelming favorite.
I think Hawaii will win 2 games in the Tournament. That would give them a 10-3 record. They have the signature win against Pitt, but the others have come against weak teams. The loss at BYU was not a surprise, and actually, the Bows played well for 30 minutes. The one that got away was the High Point loss. Hopefully Hawaii will be at full strength for the Tournament. Three games in four days is not easy. But Hawaii always plays well in this Tournament and the other teams have traveled a long way. Add all the distractions the State has to offer, and it adds up to a significant advantage for UH.
If you are any kind of a basketball fan, make your way to the arena. This team is fun to watch and can compete with every team in the field ( Yes, the Shockers will be a big favorite if the Bows win Monday). But the games should all be competitive and the team and the Tournament deserve fan support