By Jeff Portnoy
The Bows limped home after two very difficult losses at irvine and Long Beach. Both games were winnable, with Hawaii having a chance to win in the final minute, but once again, turnovers, and at Long Beach, poor free throw shooting, were the difference. But losing two games on the road by a single posession ( i dont count the two technical free throws with a second left at Long Beach) has got its silver lining since it shows that in this league, the Bows can compete on the road.
Of course, some would say 2 of the three home wins were by a single posession. Its my view that there is no dominant team in the Big West this year, and the teams who will be at the top at the end need to hold serve at home and win half their road games. I dont see any team beating UH at home, except for maybe Pacific and Long Beach. The road is another story, but I think Hawaii will be in every game.
Hawaii left for the trip tied for first with Cal Poly. It comes home tied with two other teams for 4th. One of those is the other early leader, Cal Poly. Long Beach sits in first, followed by Fullerton and Thursday's opponent, Pacific. Pacific is 3-1 in the league, Davis, ,Saturday's opponent, is 1-3 . Neither team has played particularly well on the road, although Pacific has a league road win.
Neither Pacific nor Davis were picked to finish in the top half of the league. Pacific was picked 6th, although it did get a first place vote and some think it will be the sleeper team this year, and Davis was picked 9th. As i said earilier, I think Pacific can give Hawaii a game, but i think the Davis game wont be close. Pacific's only loss in the league was at Long Beach and they come off two easy wins at home against UCSB and Cal Poly. They lead the league in scoring defense so dont expect a run and gun game. They shoot the ball well ( 48%), can hit threes ( 39%), but they are being badly outrebounded ( what a surprise). But the Bows continue to show that they are in most games, play hard until the end, can make up ( and lose) double digit leads, and i like their chances of getting two wins this Weekend. They will need to as there next four games are on the road as they dont play again at home until they face Long Beach on Feb 7. Three of those road games are aginst solid Big West teams, including Fullerton, who Hawaii beat here by 2 at the buzzer, Santa Barbara, who play much better at home, and Cal Poly.