By Jeff Portnoy
well with last night's loss to 9th place Northridge, the regular season has come to a disappointing close. Hawaii will finish either 5th or 6th depending on how Davis does tomorrow night against Irvine. Its Conference record is 10-8 in what, in my opinion, and the opinion of most observers, was a down year for the Conference, a Conference that lets be frank, was fairly weak. Hawaii ends the regular season with 17 wins ( 16 against Div 1 opponents) and 13 losses. It had a one really good win, against Long Beach, but lost to all the other solid basketball programs like Illinois( yes in overtime), UNLV, Miami, and Old Miss. It won three on the road, but those were against the bottom feeders in the league ( teams finishing 7,8, and last).
The team had been picked to finish either 2nd or 3rd pre-season so that goal was missed. I would guess another goal was 20 wins and a post season berth, but unless they win the Tournament or UH ponies up lots of cash to play in the Riley Wallace Invitational, those goals will be missed.
Were there positives. Of course. First student attendance was way up and the atmosphere at home games was big time thanks to those students. Issac Fotu showed that by the time he leaves UH ( hopefully in three more years), he will be the player of the year in the Big West ( if Hawaii is still playing basketball in that Conference). After a rough start, Jace proved to be a solid pointguard as his assist to turnover ratio was excellent. Standhardinger was the team's leading scorer at almost 16 points a game, and I believe will make the Big West first team. Vander ended the regular season with a 14 point, 8.5 rebound stat line, but in my opinion, did not have the year expected after his performance last year in a much tougher conference in a league this year, where he towered over his opponents most nights . Hans had an up and down year, starting well and ending strong after a mid season slump.
So now the Bows enter the Tournament as either the 5th or 6th seed and will play either Cal Poly ( oh no), Irvine or Pacific. Hawaii beat Irvine here and played them tough on the road. Hawaii beat Pacific here on Pacific's worst three point shooting night, and lost to them on the road on the night Spearman got injured. I will give you my tournament prediction next week, but one thing is certain, Hawaii's ultimate goal is still within reach. That is to win the Tournament and go to the Big Dance. If that happens, nobody will care about the missed goals.
Your opinions on the regular season are requested. Differing opinions are welcome. And dont forget the contest which closes on Weds of next week. You now have a better idea of the seedings and possible opponents. This team , if it plays the way it did against Long Beach both times, can win it all. If it struggles to score from outside and cant defend the three, it could go down early. Cant wait for the third season ( the Tournament) to begin