November 30th, 2011
if you needed anymore evidence of how difficult it is to travel to Hawaii to play basketball and then play your next game against a quality opponent on the road, look no further than last night Duke loss to Ohio State and Michigan's loss to Virgina. In my view, the two best teams in Maui last week were Duke and Michigan. Yet, both were beaten badly last night in their first games back on the Mainland, after traveling home on either Thurs or Friday, and then going on the road on Monday to play Tuesday games. Is Ohio State really good? S ure, but its not that they beat Duke, its how badly they beat them. And Virgina is a solid team, but they had little trouble with a very good Michigan team.
I remember when teams used to come out for the Rainbow Classic and i would talk to the coach of the team i hosted about their next game after the classic. How soon after their return? Was it on the road? it didn taket a team long to discover that it was important to play at home against a weaker opponent. In fact, some schools stopped coming here to play in the Rainbow when conference games began to be played right after Christmas.
So the next time someone complains about Hawaii's play on the road, think of how you feel the first few days after you travel from here to the Mainland ( especially to the East Coast). and then imagine having to play a basketball game. Yes i know its supposed to be easier on younger folks, and yes, there is a difference between a team first coming here and then going back, and a Hawaii team that starts its journey here, but its still tough.
Having said all that, I am picking Hawaii to win both games at Pepperdine and Pacific. Pepperdine scored 11 points in the first half against a weak UCLA team the other night ( yes, it was UCLA's first game after the Maui Classic, but it was at home against a weak opponent so my theory still stands), and Pacific was destroyed at Stanford ( by more than 40), in its first game back after beating Hawaii here on Friday night. Realistically, a split is probably more likely, but two losses against this competition would be hard to explain.