Archive for December, 2009

diamond head classic review

December 26th, 2009

well, i came close with my predictions. I had UNLV beating St.Marys, but i told you that USC could win it all. And i had the Bows winning the first game and losing the next two. The loss to UNLV was embarrassing. The loss to St. Marys was a game that without 16 turnovers might have been a signature win.

UNLV exposed the Bows number 1 weakness. poor ball handling and a real problem handling pressure in the backcourt. The loss to St. Marys exposed problem number 2. A lack of depth, particularly in the back court. Without Flemings, who by the way has had a very average prewac season, it has become evident that Hawaii only has two guards. Thompson gave it his all, despite taking it " on the chin" both nights,  and Williams has begun to show the offensive skills we all heard about prior to the season. Unfortunately, the same cant be said for Jeremy Lay who has been a major disappointment. Speaking of disappointments, I haven't seen anything out of Kurtz either. Another guy who had a poor tournament was Mayen. he looked and played scared against UNLV, and didn't really bounce back against St. Marys. Kudos, however, to Petras who played well in two games and Campbell who showed some skill in the game last night.

well, with one game left before the WAC, a game the Bows should win easily, the team will probably be 7-6 before Idaho and Boise come to town. The WAC has had a poor out of conference preseason, and no team looks to be dominant. It will be a one bid league once again and i will preview the WAC  in next week's blog. For UH, an 18 win season appears way out of reach. in fact, right now, a 500 hundred record will take some luck. But if the Bows can hold service and win a road game or two, 15 wins is doable. It wont be if they don't sweep the first two WAC games next weekend.

the report card for the first 13 games is simple. Outside of the Charleston win, the Bows didnt beat anybody any decent, and they lost to solid teams except for the road loss at Irvine. But all that really doesnt matter. When you are in the WAC, the only thing that matters is winning the league championship

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day one

December 23rd, 2009

well, i wont brag, but i went 4 for 4 on day one in my predictions. Later today, St. Mary's faces off against USC and iIam picking the Gaels. Tonight its UH vrs UNLV. Let me be frank. It will take a major effort by the Bows to beat the Rebels.

Last night, the Bows dominated the College of Charleston for most of the game. Hawaii had its way inside scoring 44 points in the paint and out rebounding the Cougars  two to one. On the other hand, Charleston speed and quickness gave the Rainbow problems. The Bows turned it over 21 times, but shot 60 percent to Charleston's 40 percent to win fairly easily. A shout out to Hiram and Pedrag who continue to demonstrate how valuable they are to this team. It was another disappointing performance by Flemings. He played hard, but didnt put up the points and secure the rebounds he is capable of. he will have to have a dominating performance tonight to give Hawaii  a chance. The other thing the Bows will have to do is keep their turnovers under 10, and that will not be easy against the speed and athleticism of the UNLV squad.

Nice crowd last night. Hope to see 6000 tonight. I full report on Day 2 coming tomorrow. Happy Holidays

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The Classic-Predictions

December 19th, 2009

well its time for my fearless predictions for the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Classic.  This is the first year that the xmas tournament has been run by ESPN and most of the games  will be televised nationally. The teams are an upgrade on the past few Rainbow Classics, but it will take a few more years before we see the quality of teams we used to get or  rival the Maui Tournament.

there are two good teams, some ok, and some not so good. Lets begin with the good. there are two, UNLV and St.Marys. They both come in with only 1 loss, with UNLV having beaten Nevada, Arz and Louisville. Its loss was to Kansas State. St Mary's loss was to Vanderbilt, but they beat Utah State on the road and Oregon. The folks at ESPN must have known they would both be good as they are in different brackets. UNLV is in the Hawaii bracket.

the only other team with a chance to win the tournament is USC. tonight they beat number 8 Tennessee by 22. They will meet St. Marys in the second round. They are only 5-4, but they are coming  here on a high.

After that there is UH and its first round opponent, College of Charleston coached by my friend, Bobby Cremins. Charleston got creamed tonght at Clemson losing by 44 points. They are 5-4 and have two good players in Andrew Goudelock and Jeremy Simmons ( 14 pts and 10 rb per game). Hawaii looks to be at full strength and tends to play better in these tournaments and Charleston is coming all the way from clemson tomorrow for a tuesday night game. Advantage, slightly, to Hawaii.

The other three teams have no chance. they are Western Michigan at 4-4; Northeastern at 2-5, and SMU at 4-3.

so here are my picks. UNLV to beat St. Marys for the championship; USC to beat Hawaii for third, and Charleston to win the loser's bracket.

dont forget the contest. see thursday's blog. see you at the arena for three good days of basketball.

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win tickets

December 18th, 2009

ok i have several great seats for the Classic which i will give away on this site. They are mid court, downstairs, for the sessions on the evening of dec 23 ( UH will play in one of those games); and both sessions on Dec 25. I have 4 seats for each session.

here's the way to win them. Post  a basketball related response to my blogs and answer the following question. Who will win the tournament and why? You don't have to be right, just imaginative or funny or profound.  I will give two tickets  on Monday to the first 6 entries. And stay tuned on Sunday for an overview of the tournament. You will need to provide me with your email address by emailing me at jportnoy@cades.comif you don't want to identify yourself on the blog

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what's happening elsewhere

December 17th, 2009

with exams this week at UH< not much to report. The only news, and i reported several weeks ago, is that Bill Amis will redshirt. Not sure why it was such a secret for so long, but maybe someone thought if the team looked like to would be really good, he could make it back by mid January. Having Bill around next year makes much more sense.

I will be providing a preview of the Diamond Head Classic on Sunday. UNLV is the only ranked team coming in, but it should be a step up from the last few Xmas tournaments and promises top get better every year now that big brother ESPN is running the show'

By the way, congratulations to Kanoa Leahy who will provide play by play for three games on ESPNU. It is a big opportunity for Kanoa and well deserved. If only i was 40 years younger.

Meanwhile, the best teams in the nation continue to be Syracuse, Kentucky, Purdue, Kansas and Texas. There are several great games over the next few weeks, perhaps none better than UNC/Texas in the new Cowboy Stadium. I like my Tarheels in that one.

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first semester grades

December 15th, 2009

i divide the season into threes. First, and just completed, the games before the xmas tournament. Next is the Diamond Head Classic; then the WAC.  The first third has ended with a 5-4 record. Wins against very average teams, loses to good teams and on the road.  Frankly, for this team to get to 18 wins, i thought they needed to come out of the first 9 games with 7 wins. They didn't, and now have some catching up to do.

Players who showed heart, desire, and skill in the first semester include my choice for most important Rainbow, Hiram Thompson, Petras, and Mayen. They have been consistent and have played to their potential most of the time. after that, the jury is still out. The two new guards have been up and down. Poor shooting percentages, some attitude issues, and a general lack of consistency have been disappointing, considering all the preseason hype. And what can i say about Flemings. For whatever reason, he  has not played two halves of basketball in the sane game yet. He appears unmotivated, and against poor competition, he has not taken over games the way he should and needs to. Paul Campbell has shown some skill, but overall not much. Adams has is getting better and i think will be a better player as the season goes on. The big guy looks like a mountain man and so far is basically a foul a minute , but a crowd favorite ( i am not sure why).

Not yet ready to give a grade for coaching. There have been off the court issues that need to be addressed, and frankly, the team just doesn't look ready to play in the first half. Why, i am not sure, but it better be fixed this week because the competition coming up will not be forgiving if they get up by 15 to 20 points early. You can beat the Chaminades and Chicago States of the world with one half of basketball, but not College of Charleston, UNLV, WAC teams, etc.

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It wasnt Easy

December 11th, 2009

Weds night, Chaminade lead UH for more than 36 minutes before the Bows pulled out a victory. Give the Silverswords credit. They were not in awe of their bigger brother and came to play. The same cant be said for UH. The first half may have been one of the worst performances in the Bob Nash era. Totally uninspired. The second half was a different story, but this team is not good enough to beat even average Division 1 teams without playing two halves of basketball.

It would be interesting to see how good Rod Flemings could be if he chose to play two halves of basketball. The other night no points and 2 rebounds in the first half, and 18 points and 8 rebounds ion the second. This is becoming a problem and it needs to be remedied asap. Its an attitude thing in my opinion.

if there is still anyone out there who does not believe that the most important member of this team is Hiram , then you are not paying attention. He is the leader and the most dependable player, and if he goes down, forget the rest of the season.

Saturday night is cupcake number three. Chicago State has lost its last two games by a combined score of 152 to 79, and they haven't played Syracuse ( my alma mater is playing about the best basketball in the country right now along with Kansas and Kentucky). This is the final game before real teams come in to play in the Diamond Head Classic. But as we saw Saturday night, nothing is guaranteed for this team.

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We're Back

December 8th, 2009

back from a trip to the South Pacific. Unlike, Captain Cook, i survived.

While I was gone, the team lost three straight. The losses to BYU and NewMexico were not unexpected ( they are simply better teams), but the road loss to Irvine was a disappointment. The team came out flat and never could catch up.

I mentioned in this blog before I left that Dwain Williams could be a problem and that proved to be true. He served a two week suspension for " team issues" , but returned to  the floor Sunday against Lamar. He showed some understanding of what it means to play within the team concept, but only time will tell. Another player who has shown some " issues" is Flemings. His problem has been inconsistency, and what i believe has been some unwillingness to take his game inside. If you watched or listened to the game on Sunday, you him start the game outside, missing some 14 to 16 footers, but then understand his best game is to go to the hoop for easy buckets ofrto the line as a result of fouls inside.

there is no doubt in my mind that based upon the season so far, the most indispensable Rainbow is Hiram Thompson. There is no comparison as to how the team plays when he is in the game at the point and when he is on the bench. He understands what Nash wants, and he executes the offense far better than any other guard.

How about the monster game Petras had. 20 points and 20 rebounds. You wont see that again for years, but he showed how solid a player he can be.

well after the rough start, the team needed three " easy " games before the exam break and the start of the Diamond Head Classic. The win against Lamar was a good one, but lets face it, you wont see that team in the postseason, nor will the next two opponents present much of a challenge. Chicago State and Chaminade should allow the Bows to have a winning record after this weekend. By the way, credit to Nash for scheduling Chaminade. Not much to gain by playing  its Division 2 brother, but nice to see an in season match up between the two.

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