By Jeff Portnoy
Saturday night's home loss on senior night to Cal Poly was a real disappointment to the 9000 or so fans who showed up for the Bows final home game ( unless they get an invite and pay the fee to play in the Riley Wallace Invitational). Along with Pacific's last second win at Riverside, Hawaii's loss eliminated any chance of finishing in second, and as things stand now, they are in 5th place with a chance to finish anywhere from 3rd to 6th.
Its not going to make much difference since the other three teams in the mix are UC Irvine, UC Davis, and Cal Poly, all teams that defeated Hawaii on the road, with Davis and Cal Poly sweeping the season series with the Bows. If i had to pick who i think Hawaii matches up best against in Round 1, its Irvine.
The game Saturday exposed once again Hawaii's difficulites in beating teams that play disciplined basketball. They were again outrebounded by a smaller team, and allowed way too many uncontested threes. Interestingly, Cal Poly, who had won only three road games all year, decided to defend Hawaii out at the three point line, giving the Hawaii bigmen ( Vander and Issac) free reign inside. Hawaii struggled to make any perimeter shots until the final minutes when Tavita hit two threes.
The final sequence was certainly deflating. Hawaii was down three after a spirited comback from 12 down with under 5 minutes to play when Hans missed a three with about 11 seconds left, Cal Poly was fouled on the rebound. They missed the frontend of a 1 and 1, but outhustled UH for the rebound and again Hawaii fouled sending a 90 percent free throw shooter to the line. He missed, and with just about 7 seconds left, Hawaii grabbed the rebound and headed up court. The Bows had one final time out but decided not to use it, and a swarming Cal Poly defense kept Tavita from getting off a shot forcing him to pass to Jawato who had to dribble completely around the peremiter before getting off a weak three that was too late and never came close to the basket anyway.
Thursday night, Hawaii plays its final regular season game on the road at Northridge. The Matadors have nothing to play for as they are essentially eliminated from the Tournament, but it will be their Senior night. For Hawaii, it really turns out to be a relatively meaningless game, although i am sure Gib would like to go into the Tournament on a one game winning streak.
I will joining Bobby in Anaheim for both the Men and Women's games. Both teams have a chance to do some damage. As i have said many times during the past few weeks, I would not be shocked if Hawaii wins the Tournament nor will i be surprised if Hawaii loses in the first Round ( disappointed yes). The league is that balanced.
Dont forget the contest. great prizes if you pick the number of games the men will win at the tournament ( 0 to 3) and the total points Hawaii will score ( without going over). And forget Hoopstalk weds at 7 on ESPN 1420. For contest rules go back two blogs ago.