February 27th, 2012
After three consecutive losses by big margins on the road the last ten days, the regular season comes down to two remaining home games against Idaho and Utah State. Hawaii sits in a tie for 4th place with Utah Sate and is one game behind Idaho as these teams battle for tournament seedings in the top half of the league. The good news is that Hawaii is at home while both Idaho and Utah State finish the regular season on the road. Hawaii has already beaten Idaho, but lost to Utah Sate. And looming just out of the picture is a resurgent La Tech team, but they finish the season at Fresno and Nevada. Idaho , Utah Sate, and La Tech have been less than stellar on the road, with Idaho's 5-7 mark the best of the group. On the other hand, and this is an interesting and disturbing fact, Hawaii has the worst home record in the WAC ( all games ) besides San Jose.
The three losses last week were not close. Somehow, Hawaii has lost the ability to stop teams from scoring. Giving up almost 300 points in three consecutive games in college ball is not good. Turnovers continue to plague this team, 30 percent outside shooting by Zane translates into defeats. The bench really hasn't stepped up, and giving up too many offensive rebounds is a continuing issue.
I guess you can chalk up the last three games to tired legs, but i don't think that excuse is valid. Hawaii travels to New Mexico State and La tech every year ( but no more), and even with the absurd bracket buster game in Montana, there were 5 days between the Montana game and New Mexico State. The truth is that Hawaii is not playing very good basketball right now, and they picked the wrong time to go backwards while teams like La Tech, New Mexico State and Fresno have picked up their games.
Hawaii's record against Div 1 teams, and i will include New Orleans for the benefit of the doubt, is just one game over 500. They have the longest current losing streak in the conference. Coming home will hopefully be the right medicine. A third place finish in the Conference is within their control. They have the tiebreaker against Idaho. A loss or two could mean they would drop to 6th, although i think that is unlikely for a number of reasons.
So its time to see the Hawaii team that beat Idaho on the road a month ago and beat New Mexico State and played Nevada tough twice , not the team that has struggled in February. Fan support is critical and I hope they show up on Thursday and for Senior night on Saturday. At home, I like Hawaii's chances.