By Jeff Portnoy
For only the second time this season, UH will play a road game. I doubt there is another program in the Country that got to the second week in Januray having played a single road game. That game was at UNLV, a loss to a solid team.
The Bows now go to Irvine tomorrow and Long Beach State Saturday. Irvine is 7-9 and 1-2 in the league coming off two road loses. They have wins over Nevada, Fresno, and USC, with loses to UCLA ( by a point), Pepperdine( on the road) and UNLV( a blow-out).
So fans, how do we think this team will fare on the road. Coming off three wins at home, the Bows are tied for the Conference lead with Cal Poly. But two of those wins were by a single possession, one against a Northridge team that went home and lost two games, one to a Riverside team that is simply not very good. The win against Fullerton was a quality win, even if took a prayer at the buzzer to win.
Uh will play before 1000 fans tomorrow in one the Big West band box gyms more suited to high school basketball. The last few years, the team has struggled on the road, but this team has several new players who have no history on the road. Its also a new league with much easier travel logistics. Irvine is 4-1 at home this year, but statistically these teams match up pretty well. Irvine's guards are not all that imposing, but they have a solid front line.
Uh needs to come out of this trip with a split if they want to continue to lead the pack, and I dont think the win will come at Long Beach. My guess is that irvine will be a slight favorite despite the respective records, simply because thet are playing at home. Hard to predict how the Bows will play as we have almost nothing to go on as to how this team will react to an away game. I see this game coming down to a few possessions, with a final score in the 60's. If UH can make their free throws, and minimize their turnovers, I like their chances ( i know, this is not much of a reach). If not, it could be disappointing start to the road season.