Archive for January, 2012

5 minus 2 minus 1 equals a loss

January 20th, 2012

what can you say about last night's bad loss to La Tech at home?  Without Miah and Zane, the Rainbows were in for a tough night. And losing Vander to fouls with 5 minutes to play effectively ended the team's hope for a win.  Coach Arnold knew they would not have Miah, but Zane's " flu" was unexpected. When you lose your best pointguard and your only legitimate outside scorer, even against a team like La Tech that had started the WAC season with three straight home losses and hadn't won a WAC away game in 12 straight tries, you know its not going to be easy. When your most effective scorer and re bounder causes a offensive charge call when he dribbles into the paint from 20 feet away, and then picks up a foolish 4th foul trying to guard someone 25 feet from the basketball, you compound the problem. And finally, when you make only 60 percent of your free-throws in a game where no one can hit a shot from 10 feet away, you will lose to an inferior opponent.

Having said all that, lets not take too much away from last night. A Hawaii team at full strength, or even a Hawaii team with a healthy Miah, would have won easily in my opinion. The way Hawaii had played the last few weeks makes that an easy conclusion for me. Unfortunately, a loss to La Tech at home hurts, and it is not easily made-up.

I think last night , however, was disappointing for another reason. It just looked like after Vander fouled out, nobody was able or willing to step up, except Joston, and La Tech figured it pretty quickly in the last 5 minutes that if they kept 2 or 3 guys around Joston,  Hawaii had no answers. Even the Coach in our post game lamented the lack of poise and leadership down the stretch.

If anyone doubted how much Miah means to this team, watch last night's tape. Bobby Miles had a solid second half, but he and Shaq just dont run the team like Miah does. If  anybody thinks there is another consistent outside shooter other than Zane,  watch last night' tape.

Anyway, that game is history, and tomorrow is another day and a very important game against New Mexico State. These Aggies are undefeated in the WAC, just beat San Jose on the road by 16, and has one of the best players in the WAC in Wendell McKineswho leads the WAC both in scoring and rebounding.  Not sure who get the task of defending him, but it wont be easy. I look for Hawaii to bounce back in a big way. They better, as their next three games are on the road , and if the Rainbows are going to compete for the top of the conference, another home loss wont help

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A Great Effort

January 14th, 2012

What can you say about the Rainbow Warriors after their extraordinary effort against Neveda last night. You can say they lost, but that would be missing the real conclusion to be drawn after their heartbreaking loss. The real conclusion is that this team is for real and will be a force all season in the WAC.

Hawaii had a 7 point lead with 4 minutes to play against a team that had won 10 in a row and in a place they have never won. Credit Nevada with a solid comeback to win, but credit Hawaii for giving the Wolfpack all they could handle.

Vander and Thomas once again dominated inside, and Miah continues to be the prototype pass first point guard with 9 assists to only 3 turnovers. Unfortunately, Zane had just an average game with 13 points on 3-10 from three, or Hawaii might have had its most important road win in years.

Coming after the overtime win against Fresno, Hawaii's game last night has to send a message to the rest of the WAC that this team will be in the hunt for the league championship. They do trail undefeated Nevada and New Mexico State, but both still have to come here, the Aggies this Saturday night.

Its clear that Gib has basically settled on a 6 man rotation with Jefferson and Wiseman sharing that spot. Not much off the bench last night( only 9 points), and hopefully no injuries will pop up to distrupt what has become a very effective starting 5.

La Tech begins the homestand on Thursday and they are really struggling. Shouldnt be able to keep up with the Rainbows. Saturday night's game against New Mexico State should be much more competitive, and could go a long way towards Hawaii's march to the upper two or three teams in the WAC.  Nobody ever likes to celebrate a loss. But last night's loss against Nevada comes about as close as you can get

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January 13th, 2012

The Rainbow Warriors remained undefeated in the early WAC season with its overtime victory over Fresno State last night. After  Hawai1 jumped out to a 16-3 lead, Hawaii led the entire game until Fresno and took the lead with under 15 seconds to play, but Vander tied it at the 5 second mark and the Bows took it to Fresno in the overtime. It was Hawaii's first road win of the season and only the second time in 9 tries Hawaii has won at the Save-Mart Center. Hawaii is one of three undefeated teams in the WAC along with its next opponent, Nevada, and New Mexico State.

Hawaii was led by Zane and Vander who had great games, and by Miah's 11 assists. On the other side of the ledger, they didnt get much from Thomas, Hans, or Stokes. Jefferson did a great job defensively on Fresno's leading scorer and chipped in with a solid offensive game as well, and Wiseman had his usual steady game on both ends of the court.

Two negative stats do need to be addressed. Hawaii allowed Fresno to take 20 plus more shots , primarily because Fresno had 20 offensive rebounds and Hawaii turned the ball over 20 times. It is not often that a team wins a game with those negative stats, but good Hawaii defensive pressure and 50 percent shooting compensated for these issues.

Lat year Hawaii began the WAC season with 5 straight losses, so this year's solid start is a real plus. Hawaii now travels to Reno to play at a place they have never won against the best and hottest team in the WAC. Nevada has won 10 straight and is 3-0 in the WAC with wins at Idaho and Utah State. Can Hawaii win Saturday night. Yes. Will they?. It will take almost a perfect performance. But after getting last night's road win, the team will go into tomorrow night's game with confidence. I think Hawaii will give Neveda a game, but dont think they will win. However, looking at the league results early in the conference season, I do think Hawaii is the third best team right now in the Conference behind Nevada and New Mexico State. Utah State is really struggling ( they got killed last night at New Mexico State), and Idaho is up and down ( a win last night in Ruston). I think Fresno, La Tech, and San Jose are the likeliest teams to fill out the bottom of the league.

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1 and OH

January 10th, 2012

well, as expected UH defeated San Jose State for its first season opening WAC win in 6 years. Uh controlled the game from the opening tap, although it twice let huge leads get away before winning. Strong games from the UH front line of Thomas and Joaquin, and a solid defensive effort on the Spartans guards were the keys to the win.

But now, things get real for the Rainbow Warriors. They go on the road where they have yet to win this year and play at Fresno and Reno. Uh has never won in Reno, and this year's Nevada team looks like the class of the league, having just come off the road with impressive wins at Idaho and especially in Logan where they beat Utah State. The Bows have won a few in Fresno, and after winning its last three non conference games, Fresno lost its first two WAC road games and will be looking to try to hold form at home.

 Speaking of Nevada, that win at Utah State is huge in determining how the conference leadership will look come March. Nevada has put together quite an impressive winning streak, and was my preseason pick to finish first in the WAC. New Mexico had a solid win at La Tech who had not lost at home before Sat night, and they are playing ellhough they lost one of their better players for the season. Idaho is struggling although it did get a home win against Fresno. San Jose will struggle to get many wins, and I expect Utah State, although not the Utah State team we have seen in years past, to be right in the mix .

So, what do i think will happen this week . I think it will be very difficult for Hawaii to win at Reno. sorry, but there is not enough Kool Aid out there to make that pick. On the other hand, I think Hawaii can give Fresno a game. If it was here, no issue, but on the road, this team has played poorly, although those games predated Miah's return and the team's siginificantly improved play. But you have to prove to me that you can win on the road. I give Hawaii a reasonable chance to come home from this trip with a 2-1 Conference record. Hope I am right

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Let the Games Begin

January 6th, 2012

The WAC opened conference play last night with two significant games. First Utah State showed that once again it will compete for the league title by destroying Fresno Sate by 19. Utah State has had an up and down non conference slate and Fresno had won three in a row. It didnt make much difference.  And at Idaho, Nevada won its 8th in a row beating the Vandels by 18. If anybody had any question as to whether Nevada is a legitimate choice to win the conference, look no further. But wait, Saturday night, in what will be one of the  most important games of the year in the WAC, Nevada travels to Logan to face Utah State. The winner of that game will have a leg up on the conference championship even after only two games.

The rest of the league gets started tomorrow night, including Hawaii opening at home against San Jose State. It should be a fairly easy w for the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii is playing well right now, and the Spartans are not. San Jose always seems to struggle on the road, and they come in here with a losing record despite playing a very easy schedule. Then UH goes on the road to two places they seldom win, Fresno and Nevada, where they have never won. So getting a win tomorrow is very important.

How about Duke losing to Temple. First time Duke has lost to Temple in a decade, and Duke's first loss after 45 plus consecutive wins against non BCS schools. And a shout out to my Orange. Syracuse remains undefeated. Two teams that  are struggling are Xavier and Pitt. Pitt has lost 4 in a row for the first time in Jamie Dixon's tenure and Xavier followed their losses to Hawaii and Gonzaga with a loss at LaSalle.

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Pre WAC Season Report Card

January 4th, 2012

Here is my view of how the WAC teams performed pre Conference Schedule. Let me begin by saying, that as a Conference, the WAC is really down. Their preseason opponents were weak, and except for Hawaii, only one WAC team played a ranked team. And even then, their records are nothing to write home about. The only WAC team with a RPI in the top 100 is New Mexico State at 92, followed by Nevada at 109.  Other WAC teams in the top 150 are Fresno and Utah State at 129 and 145 respectively. The next best RPI is a woeful 235 ( La tech), followed by Idaho at 245 and Hawaii at 255. Bringing up the rear is San Jose at 298.

Its not as if these RPI were the result of tough scheduling. The toughest schedule was Fresno at 94. The only WAC team with a SOS between 100 and 200 is New Mexico State at 109. No other WAC team has a SOS better than 200. Utah State is at 209, with everybody else at 235 or worse. La tech is at 235, Idaho at 245,  Hawaii, even with playing Xavier and UNLV is at 255, and San Jose is at 298.

Nevada has the best record at 10-3 followed by New Mexico State at 10-5. Hawaii's record against Div 1 schools is 7-6. Utah State and La Tech barely have a winning record, Idaho is at 500 and Fresno and San Jose are below 500.

Neavda is playing well. They only lost to UNLV by 4 in las vegas, and has beaten Washington. They lost to BYU by 19 however. New Mexico State has beaten and lost to UTEP, and has losses to Arizona and S. Miss.  Utah State is not the Utah State we remember having already lost to Denver and Pacific. In their last game however, they lost to ranked a ranked Miss State team by only 2 on the road. Fresno has won three in a row after a rough start, beating Boise in the process.

Grades pre WAC. Nevada a B, New Mexico State a B-, Hawaii a B-, Utah State a C +, La Tech and Fresno a C, Idaho a C- and San Jose a D-.  My predictions for how the WAC will end up. Nevada first, followed by New Mexico State.  Based upon the way Hawaii is playing lately, i pick them 3rd followed by Utah State and Fresno. Then La Tech, Idaho and San Jose.

Some interesting tid-bits.  Nevada has won 7 straight,  La Tech is undefeated at home and Hawaii has the most home losses (3). The most road wins is 3 ( New Mexico State).  Nevada has won 7 straight and only Hawaii has beaten a ranked team ( Xavier).

Finally, Hawaii opens at home against San Jose this Saturday. The Rainbow Warriors are playing their best basketball of the season. Miah has brought stability to the offense, Hans is giving the team the team the complimentary outside scorer they need, Zane may have re found his shot, Joston is playing well on both ends of the court, and Trevor gives the team full effort every minute he is on the court. i do think Vander needs to show he can dominate the paint against competent big men and Shaq is still struggling with his outside shot and turnovers. Gib has the team playing aggressive defense and has found a8-9 man rotation that plays hard. The win against Xavier and the tough loss against UNLV proves this team can play with anyone at home, but the road losses at Pacific and Pepperdine, and the ugly wins against Davis, Hilo, and NCA&T, show that the team sometimes plays down to its opponents. But going into conference, Hawaii is playing is best basketball and that's what counts.

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