Archive for January, 2010

another difficult road trip

January 30th, 2010

what can you say aout a 23 point blow out at San Jose. you can say that the Spartans are pretty darn go od, better than they have been in years.  You can say that they have one of the best guards in the league in Oliver. You can say that HAWAII was lucky to beat them at the buzzer two weeks ago at home. Or you could say that the Bows are a poor road team, struggling to finish the season with a winning record and avoid the heartbreak of missing the WAC tournament. and now its on the Reno where Hawaii has never beaten Nevada.

things are not breaking out well for Hawaii. Boise beats Idaho and Idaho beats Fresno, so Hawaii is  now tied with Idaho for 7th, loses the tiebreaker to Idaho, and has to still play there, and the Bows have are a game up on Boise but has to play there as well. Next sat, Fresno comes into the arena and that game may be the only game left where hawaii may be favored.

i am in NorthCarolina next week and will be at the UNC-Virgina game and Georgia Tech-Duke games. Are there many better places to watch basketball than the Smith Center or Cameron Indoor Stadium. i doubt it. And one of the things that make them great are the hundreds of students who pack the sidelines at Duke and the Arena at Carolina. Sorry folks, but the student support for our team is a disgrace. Dispite the loyalty of our nonstudent fans, you dont have a bigtime college program without student support. and do you think that recruits who watch games all over the country and see the student support at places like Utah State compared to UH, dont consider that in deciding where to play. You know its a big factor.

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another frustrating loss

January 24th, 2010

last night, the rainbows lost another game that was within its grasp. La Tech showed that it is not unbeatable, particularly when their all WAC pointguard Kyle Gibson has a poor shooting night, thanks, in some part, to solid defense by Rod Flemings. But even with only a handful of turnovers, poor outside shooting doomed the home team. Jeremy Lay shooting percentage is under 30 percent, yet he continues to fire up threes instead of attempting to take it hard to the hole,  where at least he has a chance to go the line where he shoots 80 percent. And what can you say about Hiram Thompson. He is playing hurt, and wearing down, and there is no relief in site. Frankly, if the team had had Dwain Williams this week, the Rainbows might well have three wins, instead of two losses.

One bright spot continues to be the play of Brandon Adams. On both ends of the court, he is now the most improved and, in my opinion, the best player on the court right now. Flemings played well in spots, but Campbell, Balocka, and Mayen are struggling.

Now the 4 of the next 5 games are on the road. Next up is San Jose, who came off of the last second loss at Hawaii to beat both La Tech and New Mexico State.  Besides Utah State, who now appear to me to be the best team in the WAC,  the Spartans are playing great basketball. On the other end of the spectrum, Idaho and Boise look like the teams, along with Hawaii, that will battle to avoid not going to the tournament.

Hawaii is not going to win 18 games as Coach Nash predicted. They probably wont have a winning record. But let me make myself clear. This is a team that, for the most part, plays hard and competes as best it can with the limited talent it has after injuries and " absences". They never quit, and even with many of the team's goals now out of reach, i still expect them to play everygame down to the final whistle.

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a heartbreaking loss

January 22nd, 2010

what can you say about last night's loss to New Mexico State?  You can say that once again turnovers killed the Bows.  Five from Petras Balocka, who frankly was lucky he didn't have 3 more as he looked like a deer in the headlights almost every time he touched the ball. And surprisingly, 7 from Hiram who is beginning to wear down from playing 38 plus minutes, getting physically abused and knocked to the floor several times a game, and really having no one else capable of handling the ball on a consistent basis. The Aggie pressure was intense, and once again the importance of solid  guard play was magnified by the play of Jahmar Young who made a great shot to win the game with under a second to play despite being closely guarded by Rod Flemings.

The Bows outside shooting was again suspect. Lay was 2-13 from the field, and Hiram was not much better. New Mexico State, obviously having watched film of Hawaii's shooting woes, played a surprising zone most of the night. I said at the beginning of the broadcast, and my opinion never changed, that i thought it was  a mistake for New Mexico not play man defense when they had a significant quickness advantage against a poor ball handling team. Yes i know they won, but they were, quite frankly, lucky to win as the Aggies did not seem very interested in playing defense for much of the game and had little interest in crashing the boards. Hawaii outplayed New Mexico for 30 minutes, and had a 12 point half-time lead, but a 16 -0 run to start the second half doomed the Bows. Once again, one good half and one not so good half led to the loss.

now its time to try to regroup for tomorrow nights game against La. Tech, a loser at San Jose. I blogged here earlier this week that i would not be a believer in La Tech unless they came out of this road trip with two wins. Now they may come out with two losses. La Tech has historically struggled out here when it was the second game of the trip. Yes, i know this is a better team, and Hawaii is coming off its most difficult loss of the season, and yes, still no Dwain Williams, who once again not only didn't suit-up, he didn't show up, but i think Hawaii has a solid chance to win this game. If they don't, it doesn't get any easier as 4 of the next 5 games are on the road where Hawaii lack of depth will really show its ugly head.

Utah State's win over Fresno last night is not a surprise ( at Fresno), but the 20 plus point margin is. Utah State appears to have solved its early season conference losses, and along with Nevada appear to be the teams to beat. Yes i know New Mexico St is tied for the conference lead with La Tech, but based upon Thursday nights games here and in San Jose, i am not convinced either of those teams will be there at the end.

finally, its beginning to look like the fans have given up on Hawaii, and that's wrong. Last night only 3000 showed up, and the ones who did cheered long and hard and saw the second exciting game in a row. Although the results are not what anybody wants or expected based upon preseason hype ( locally mostly), the team plays hard ( with occasional exceptions), and  although clearly undermanned and often not up to the skill level of some opponents, deserves your support. Not the 3000 who show up, the rest of us who sit back and gripe about the coaches, the losses, and the frustration of what appears to be another losing season. There is still time to come out to support this team starting with tonmorrow night. hope to see you all there.

fianlly a shout out to the site " Parsing  The WAC' " for acknowledging our blog and asking its readerssto book mark it. Its a great site for all you need to really know about WAC basketball, and I appreciate their support of my blog

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A Dramatic Win

January 19th, 2010

Sunday night's win over San Jose was not for the fainthearted. After a back and forth contest for most of the game, the Bows seemingly had the game in hand until the normally sure handed Hiram Thompson turned the ball over twice in the last minute, literally handing the game to the Spartans who sent a 89  percent free throw shooter to the line with a one point lead and 8 seconds left. But he missed and Thompson drove the lengwof the court, got fouled and made both ends of a one and one to cement a one point UH victory.

San Jose came in here shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. they left Sunday night having made 2 of 21 from three. Having said that, this is a solid Spartan team, and the outcome may well be different when the Bows travel there in a few weeks for the return game. Kudos to Brandon Adams who continues to play well. He was the hero Sunday night not only for his scoring and rebounding, but for his defense and HUSTLE

What's up withDwain Williams. It was announced he would not play Sunday because he was too distraught because of the death of his cousin. That in itself is a little hard to understand. But he wasn't even at the game, at least not on the Bench. That is beyond me since i understand he was in town. My guess. There is more to this. One of the papers printed he might be leaving town for the funeral. I wouldn't be surprised if his time on this team is coming to an end.

The two best teams in the WAC, at least record wise in the Conference, come into town this weekend. Hawaii is currently tied for 6th and will need every home win it can get based on how it has played so far this year on the road. Beating either New Mexico State or La Tech will be very difficult. The Aggies are 4-1 with close road wins at Boise and Idaho, so they can be beat. La Tech is 17-2  and undefeated in the WAC, but have to play at San Jose on Thurs before coming here for a Saturday game. I am still not a total believer in La Tech, and wont be surprised if they lose at San Jose, but if they win that one, watch out.

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The week in the WAC

January 15th, 2010

Since Hawaii's historic loss on Monday, there have been a few other games in the WAC of interest. Utah State appears to have righted its ship as it went to Nevada and won on weds. Then, on Thurs, La Tech continued its winning ways by beating a game Fresno State team at home by 8. Finally, for the first time in 15 games, San Jose beat Boise to even its WAC record at 2-2 and continue the downward Boise spiral( the only WAC team the Bows have beaten is Boise). Its beginning to look clearer everyday that that Boise, and sorry, Hawaii, are fighting for 8th place, although a win Sunday night at home against San Jose would bring Hawaii's WAC record to 2-3, tying San Jose.

Not much news on the home front this week. Practices have been closed as the team tries to regroup after a terrible road trip. Three home games coming up as the New Mexico State and La Tech come in next week.

A day doesn'tgo by without someone stopping me on the street or at a meeting to ask what's wrong with the team and/or is there hope for the rest of the season.  All i can say is there are significant talent problems, aggravated by lack of depth, and at least on occasion, lack of effort on the part of a player or two. This team, as I have said before, is not good enough to win playing half-hearted basketball  or one half of basketball, and needs all 5 players on the court to contribute.  You can not overstate how critical Sunday night's game. A loss would be devastating; a win would give us hope. I am going to stay with hope.

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A Crossroad Up Ahead

January 12th, 2010

This is a painful blog to write. Painful because I am friends with the Hawaii coaching staff and have been a loyal supporter of the Basketball Program for almost 40 years. Painful because I am a longtime member of the Booster club and supported Bob Nash on his successful effort to succeed Riley Wallace. But after last night's record setting loss at Utah State, it must be clear to anyone who thinks with his/her brain, and not with their heart, that this year's team is at a crossroads in its season.

Once again, the loss at Utah State exposed so many liabilities and problems with the team. Another poor night for Flemings, bad guard play, dismal field goal shooting,  little depth, and frankly, turnovers leading to points, etc,  that one must question whether this team has the talent and perhaps,more importantly, the desire to win. I am not including everyone in this criticism. All you have to do is go to the games to figure out where the problems are. But for Nash and the coaches, this season, is in my opinion, only a game or two from a total disaster,

San Jose comes in here Sunday as the other really struggling team, along with Boise. That game will be followed by games against New Mexico State and La. Tech. La Tech is the class of the league having just won at Idaho and Boise. New Mexico St is playing well now that it has all of its " problems" addressed. If you are a fan of the program, you need to come out and support this team on Sunday. There will be no winning record, in my opinion, unless Hawaii wins 2 of 3 on this home stand and it starts with San Jose   A home loss to the Spartans will just about be the beginning of the end for any hope of a 500 record and avoiding missing the WAC Tournament. We will see how much energy and heart this team has left.  The coaches have a huge task ahead of them. Lets hope everybody is up to the task

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it could be ugly

January 11th, 2010

as i wrote here last week, hawai's inability to play two halves, and the ongoing turnovers, led to an ugly defeat at Fresno Saturday night. Hawaii was never really in the game after the first ten minutes. Flemings once again played only one half, Petras had 6 turnovers and no assists,and Mayen, despite playing 28 minutes, had no points and no rebounds. Hawaii got down by 18 by halftime, and that was it. And remember, this was at Fresno, a team picked to share the bottom of the standings with UH.

Now it doesn't get any easier as Hawaii travels to Logan tonight to take on a Utah State team that got blown out in its first two WAC games. This is a team picked to finish first in the Conference, and it will look to take its frustrations out on Hawaii. Teams have figured out that this is a Hawaii team with real shooting and ball handling woes, and Fresno played a 2-3 zone for much of the game. Even in the zone, Fresno scored 32 points off of turnovers.

In the rest of the WAC, La Tech is for real. They went to Idaho on Saturday and won. If they get by Boise tonight, and I think they will, as Boise lost at home to New Mexico State, they are going to be tough to catch. Nevada also looked good in crushing San Jose State. Its beginning to look more and more likely that Hawaii will fight Boise and San Jose for the final playoff spot.

Nationally, the undefeated are down to two as both Kansas and Purdue lost, leaving Kentucky, who could lose tonight at Florida and Texas. The Kansas loss at Tennessee was a real stunner as Tennessee played with only 6 scholarship players as a result of suspensions arising from an alleged criminal activity by several tennessee players

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after two games

January 7th, 2010

Last week, I made some predictions about how i thought the WAC would end up. After two games, some rethinking may be necessary. First, La Tech's two home wins over Nevada and Utah State could mean they are for real. After they play on the road this weekend, we will know how for real they are. On the other hand, Utah State got drilled both in Ruston and at New Mexico State, and those losses portend bad things for the Aggies who will look to get well on Monday against UH. I still think Nevada is going to be right up there, with Idaho in the top half of the league. Boise, Fesno, New Mexico St, San Jose, and yes, our beloved Rainbows will make up the bottom half.

Hawaii"s win against Boise was a big one, and proves what i have been saying all season. When four starters score in double figures, you out rebound your opponent, and continue to go to the line 25 plus times a game, you probably will win. Unfortunately, the poor outside shooting percentages and turnovers continue to haunt the team, as does an obvious lack of depth. When you are on the road, as UH will be Saturday at Fresno ,  and Monday, at Utah State, shooting percentages drop, and fouls often get called the other way.

Most of the coaches and the media predicted Fresno and Hawaii would bring up the rear of the conference. Fesno and Hawaii both beat Boise at home, so Saturday night's game looms large. Hawaii plays well at Fresno so it has a real change to win and gain a big advantage over Fresno for the right to avoid missing the WAC playoffs. Don't count on a win Monday night however.

Nationally, how about Cornell almost upsetting number one Kansas. Cornell lead the Jayhawks in Lawrence in the final minute before losing. It would have been the first time in history that an Ivy League team beat a number one ranked opponent. Purdue, Kentucky, and Texas re3main undefeated at the top of the polls. And a personal shout-out to Bobby Cremins and his College of Charleston Cougars, who I hosted in the Diamond Classic, who scored a major upset with its win over the Tarheels this week.

let me know your thoughts on the Rainbows and the National scene. Its great to get feedback from all of you.

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a critical game

January 4th, 2010

its hard to believe that only 1 game into the WAC season, game number 2 becomes maybe the most important game of the year. After losing to Idaho Saturday night, tonight's game against Boise looms very large. A loss tonight would mean an 0-2 start at home, and very possibility a fight to avoid missing the tournament in March as the 9th place team stays home.

The Idaho loss is not hard to explain. Once again, the Bows played only one half of basketball. Missed free throws and the continuing problem in making baskets doomed the team to a loss. Williams is either feast or famine, and he was famine Saturday night missing all ten of his field goals. And once again, Flemings looked nothing like a preseason all WAC player. Add to these problems the inability to defend the three, and the fact that it is now obvious to anyone that the Bows only have 2 guards ( sorry jeremy lay),and that even with the continuing solid play of Campbell and Thompson, this team cannot win if it doesn't get good performances from all of its starters. Not to mention that Petras had no points and 1 rebound in his limited minutes on Saturday.

You cannot shoot 43 percent from the field after 14 games, 13 of which are at home, and expect to win, even with good defense.What is going to happen to this percentage when you go on the road?  It could get very ugly.

Boise comes in after having lost at Fresno, my pick for 8th place. They lost in the last minute and will come in here tonight looking to even their WAC record.  But they can afford to lose a road game. UH cannot afford another home loss. Some " media" types are now questioning the desire of this team to win and the lack of effort of several of the players. I am not yet ready to go down that road, but tonight will tell us all what heart this team has. Boise has won here before, in fact its won the last 2 meetings.  But if the Bows have any hope of competing in the WAC, it has to win tonight.

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the wac begins

January 1st, 2010

Its time for the real season to begin. Tonight, UH opens its WAC season against Idaho with Boise to follow on Monday. If the Bows have any hope of competing for the middle of the WAC, and avoid the possibility of finishing last and missing the tournament (  i think they will avoid that disaster), they need to sweep this opening weekend.  Idaho had a surprising solid season last year, and come in with a 7-4 record, including a big win against Portland and a bad 30 point loss against Portland. They have one of the best guards  in Mac Hopson and solid guard play, but they struggle on the road. Boise has beatenortland, but lost at home to San Diego, who Fresno beat by  32.They come in here, however, with a 9-4 record.

Hawaii is at full strength ( that is as full as they can be without Bill Amis), and should have both Flemings and Thompson back. Williams is finally showing the scoring ability we all heard about, and Campbell and Adams may be coming around. So far, however, the same cant be said for Lay( despite his game against Northwestern State), and Mayen, who seems to have lost his confidence against UNLV.

It must be said that the WAC has been a major disappointment. Its non-conference record is terrible and it is ranked 14th in RPI of all conferences. It appears clear that it is another one bid league absent some team running the table and another winning the conference tournament. As in football, the Mountain West is a far superior league ( sorry Carl Benson).

Ok, here are my predictions on how the WAC will end up. Utah State, Nevada, La Tech, Boise, Idaho, San Jose, Hawaii, Fresno, New Mexico State. I reserve the right to change these predictions after week one. I am going to go out on a limb, and predict UH will sweep the games this weekend. Maybe its wishful thinking, but i dont want to think about the rest of the season if the opposite happens. Happy New Year and New Decade to all of you.

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