Archive for November, 2013

Gone to Maui

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November 24th, 2013



Since my last blog, UH played Missouri tough in Kansas City before losing by 12, and destroyed UH Hilo in what was not much more than a scrimmage. Frankly one game against a Pac West team is more than enough and the RainbowWarriors still have a game against Chaminade on Kauai in December. These games do nothing to help Hawaii's RPI and although i understand playing one of these on a Neighbor Island, that's about all that can be justified.

Meanwhile I am on Maui for the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Frankly, its not the best Maui field in recent years, but my alma mater Syracuse is here along with Baylor and Gonzaga as the favorites.

In Monday's games, Arkansas plays Cal and Syracuse plays Minnesota. In the bottom half of the bracket, its Chaminade against Baylor and Dayton against Gonzaga. I expect Baylor and Gonzaga to come out of their bracket easily along with Syracuse and Arkansas .

Meanwhile UH will play New Orleans wednesday and Montana Friday. Neither shoud pose
much of a challenge. New Orleans started the season ranked 348 out of the 351 teams in Division 1 and although Montana whipped UH last year in Missoula, they are not the same team this year and the Rainbows should win this one by at least ten.

Folks keep asking me how good is this year's team. My answer is i dont know. They beat the three teams they were supposed to beat, lost to one they were supposed to lose to, and lost to New Mexico State at home, a team that is good, but not great. The games leading up to the Diamond Head wont tell us much, but the opening game against Boise will.

I still think the team needs more than one outside shooter and teams are scoring too easily once they break the press, which has been effective. Team free throw shooting seems to have improved and the team is going to the line more than their opponents. With Spearman back,there is some depth in the backcourt, although the frontcourt remains thin. Meanwhile the Big West is struggling against decent competition so in the early going, the League does not appear very strong nor deep.

Go orange.

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Lesson from the Rainbow

By
November 12th, 2013



WITH THREE GAMES UNDER THEIR BELT, SOME OBSERVATIONS CAN BE REASONABLY DRAWN AFTER THE RAINBOW WARRIORS 2-1 OPENING WEEKEND TOURNAMENT.

FIRST, HAWAII WILL CRUSH WEAK TEAMS. AS ADVERTISED, THE HAWAII BACKCOURT IS QUICKER, BETTER BALL-HANDLERS, AND JUST MORE TALENTED THEN LAST YEAR'S BACKCOURT. COMBINED WITH A STRONG FRONTCOURT, WHEN HAWAII CAN CONTROL THE BOARDS, THIS TEAM CAN DOMINATE THE WEAKER TEAMS IN TRANSITION.

HAWAII LOOKS LIKE A BETTER FREE THROW SHOOTING TEAM THAN LAST YEAR. NOT ONLY THAT, THEY WERE ABLE TO GET TO THE LINE FAIRLY OFTEN THIS WEEKEND, AND IF NOT PLAYING FROM BEHIND, THAT TREND SHOULD CONTINUE.

HAWAII'S BACKCOURT CAN AND WILL CREATE TURNOVERS. AGAINST THE RIGHT OPPONENT, THEY CAN PRESS FULL COURT AND WEAR DOWN OPPONENT'S BACKCOURTS.

SHOOTING AND HITTING THREES MAY BE A PROBLEM. THE BIG GUYS ARE STRUGGLING FROM BEYOND THE PERIMETER, AND ONLY NEVELS LOOKS LIKE A CONSISTENT OUTSIDE THREAT. SHAMBURGER HIT TWO THREES WITHIN A MINUTE IN GAME TWO, BUT OTHERWISE IS NOT SHOOTING WELL SO FAR. VALDES AND SMITH PROVIDE BACKCOURT DEPTH, BUT THE TEAM WILL NEED A HEALTHY SPEARMAN ONCE THE COMPETITION IMPROVES.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO KEEP TRACK OF TIMEOUTS. LAST NIGHT'S MISTAKE WAS VERY COSTLY. THE RAINBOW WARRIORS MADE A SPRITED COMBACK IN THE LAST 4 MINUTES COMING FROM 16 DOWN TO CUT THE LEAD TO 5, BUT A TECHNICAL FOUL BECAUSE SOMEONE MISCOUNTED TIMEOUTS MAY HAVE COST THEM THE GAME.

STANDHARDINGER DOMINATED THE TWO SMALLER TEAMS INSIDE, BUT LOOKED MENTALLY FRUSTRATED AGAINST THE TALLER AND STRONGER AGGIES. FOTU PICKED UP THE SLACK AND WAS VOTED THE MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER. I VOTED FOR MULLINGS OF NEW MEXICO STATE AS HE LED HIS TEAM TO THE VICTORY. TOO OFTEN IN LAST NIGHT'S GAME, THE HAWAII INTERIOR DEFENSE COULD NOT STOP THE SLASHING DRIVES OF THE AGGIE BACKCOURT. HAWAII STRUGGLED AGAINST A QUICK ATHLETIC OPPONENT WHILE DOMINATING THE LESS ATHLETIC TEAMS.

NOW ITS ON TO MISSOURI. FIRST, I COMMEND GIB FOR SCHEDULING AN OPPONENT LIKE THIS ON THE ROAD. ALTHOUGH THE GAME WILL BE PLAYED IN KANSAS CITY, ITS A HOME GAME FOR THE TIGERS AND HAWAII WILL BE A DOUBLE DIGIT UNDERDOG. BUT IT CAN ONLY HELP THE RPI AND THE EXPERIENCE OF PLAYING A TOP 40 TEAM CAN ONLY HELP DOWN THE ROAD.

FINALLY, THE CROWDS WERE GREAT. NOT ALL THAT BIG , AROUND 4500 THE FIRST TWO NIGHTS AND 1500 -2000 LAST NIGHT, BUT THEY WERE LOAD AND SUPPORTIVE. THIS TEAM PLAYS AN UPTEMPO EXCITING STYLE OF BASKETBALL AND SHOULD CONTINUE TO MAKE GOING TO THE GAMES FUN.
.

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The Computer Says......

By
November 8th, 2013



I am going to hold off on my Big West predictions, game by game, for a few weeks. What i have instead are the just released computer ranking from Team Rankings.com, a site that predicts every game in sports, including college basketball.

Here is what Team Rankings says about the Rainbow Warriors and the Big West. I think you will find very interesting.

First, it predicts Hawaii will go 17-12 this season and 9--7 in the Conference. It predicts that Hawaii has a 13% chance of winning the league championship and 11% chance of winning the Conference Tournament. It says Hawaii " toughest games" outside the Conference will be Missouri ( 5% chance of winning) Boise (22%) and New Mexico State (42%). In the Conference, it predicts the toughest games for UH will be 7 road games with Hawaii a favorite only at Riverside. The odds of Hawaii winning another Big West road game range from 27% at UCSB to 45% at Fullerton.

On the other end of the spectrum, Team Rankings has Hawaii as a" strong favorite" against home non league opponents Chaminade, Hilo, New Orleans ( almost a lock against these teams), Neb Omaha, TN State and Norfolk State. It has Hawaii as a strong favorite at home against league opponents UC Riverside, Fullerton, Long Beach and Irvine( ranging from 85% to 65%).

All other games are tossups as of now. It predicts Hawaii has a 93% chance to make the Conference Tournament, 48% to make the semis, 24% to make the finals, and as i said earilier, an 11% chance to win. By the way, it gives Hawaii a 1% chance of an at-large bid to the Big Dance.

As for the league, Team Rankings predicts Santa Barbara to win the league with 10 wins, with Cal Poly second. Then Cal St. Northridge followed by UH. Right behind UH is UC Davis, then Irvine, L. Beach St, Fullerton and Riverside. It says UCSB has a 21% chance to win the Conference regular season and 20% chance to win the tournament.

Interesting stuff based upon thousands of computer simulations, but that's all it is. Its the reason they lace them up, but these guys sell their services ( mostly for gambling reasons), so they work hard at it. Anyway, it all begins tonight. See you at the Arena.

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Analyzing The Schedule-Diamond Head Classic

By
November 6th, 2013



Although its not the strongest XMAS field we have seen, it is a balanced field. In fact, UH has the lowest Pomeory rating of any team in the field at 207. And ESPN didnt do UH any favors with its seedings.

First the teams and their Pomeroy preseason rankings. Iowa St 38;Boise 42;St Marys's 52: Oregon State 73:George Mason89; Akron 108: South Carolina 133, and UH 207. First every team in the Classic has a higher Pomery than any other home opponent except New Mexico State and every team has a higher Pomeory than any team in the Big West ( we will look at that part of the schedule later this week.

Uh opens up against Boise St. Boise has all 5 staters returning and is picked to finish 3rd in the Mountain West. Some say they could win the Conference( not an easy feat with schools like New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State in the MWC). You have to wonder why ESPN would have Hawaii play Boise in the first round unless they dont want the Warriors playing in the feature game in Round 2. Even though Hawaii plays well in the Classic, I have to think this Boise team is just too tough.

The other first round game in that half of the bracket is South Carolina/St Mary's. I like the Gaels. St. Mary's is picked to finish either second or third behind Gonzaga and BYU in the West Coast Conference and one of its assistants is former UH assistant Eran Ganot. They do lose last year's Conference player of the year, Matthew Dellavedova, but i think they have too much for the gamecocks who are coached by Frank Martin, easily one of the most entertaining coaches in college baskeball.

The other bracket has Iowa State vrs George Mason and Oregon State vrs Akron.Everybody remembers the incredible run the patriots had a few years ago in the NCAA's, but this is not the same team. They are picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic 10, while Iowa State is a probale NCAA team this year. I like the Cyclones. In the Oregon State/Akron game, I am hosting the Beavers so i am picking them to move on even though they are picked to end up in the bottom half of the Pac 12. I am guessing the president will make an appearance and that should be enough to get past the Zips ( one of the best nicknames in college sports).

In Round 2, i like Iowa State to get by Oregon State ( how sad) and Boise to get by St. Mary's. I think Akron will beat George Mason and in the only consolation game that matters, I like Hawaii to beat the big boys from the SEC, South Carolina. At home and in the Classic, I go with the Rainbows. I am assuming they will be at full strength by then .

For 5th place, I have Hawaii playing Akron. I will be a homer and take the Rainbows to beat the Zips.. For 7th place, i am going with George Mason. I think he signed the Declaration of Independence and that is enough for me.

In the Championship bracket, i like St Marys's to beat Oregon State, and Boise to win it all. How close will i be. probably not very close, but if you are a basketball fan, it will be the best basketball played at home all year. Might not mean as much as Conference play, but the quality will be better.

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Analyzing The Schedule Part 1. Nonconference

By
November 5th, 2013



Over the next few days, I will provide a brief review of this year's schedule and my predictions for each game. We start today with the Non Diamond Head and Non Conference schedule which begins Friday and goes thru Jan 3 In making my picks, i have used several resources, including pre-season magazines and most importantly, the 2014 Pomeroy Rankings, which many people believe is the best predictor of a teams' performance.

The season begins with this weekend's four team tournament. Hawaii opens with Tennessee State, then plays Western Michigan, and at midnite on Monday, concludes with New Mexico State.

Tennessee State is ranked 219 preseason. Hawaii is ranked 207. They play in the Ohio Valley Conference and are picked to finish 3 to 5 in the 6 team East Division. They have an all league guard in Patrick Miller. I like Hawaii to open the season with a win.

A tougher match is game 2 against Western Michigan. They have a Pomeroy preseason ranking of 153. They play in the West Division of the Mid- American Conference and are picked to finish in the top three. They were in the CBI last year, but they lost the Conference Freshman of the Year, Darius Paul, who transferred to Illinois. I like the Rainbow Warriors to make it two straight to open the season.

The midnight game, however, is against the best non Diamond Head team the Bows will face at home in New Mexico State. The Aggies are the clear favorite to win the WAC and are ranked 90 preseason. They have the league's top player in Daniel Mullings, a Jr Guard. I think they have just a little too much for Hawaii and i pick the Aggies to win the tournament championship ( but it is a midnight game so who knows).

The team then goes on the road to face SEC powerhorse Missouri. The Tigers are not as strong as they have been, but they are picked to finish 5 or 6th in a bigtime Conference. Their preseason ranking is 49. They are a probable NCAA Tournament team and have averaged 25 wins over the past 5 seasons. Credit Gib for scheduling this game. It will help the Warriors RPI, but its very likley to be a loss.

Next up for Hawaii are two easy home games. First up is the game against UH Hilo. Its the first of two games against Hawaii Div 2 schools and really should have been an exhibition. But with Hawaii finding it tough to get Div 1 schools to come out here and play, what can you do.

That game is followed by a home game with New Orleans, a new member of the Southland Conference and Division 1 for two years. They are a bad team. ranked 349 out of 352 Div 1 teams. They are picked to finish in the bottom four of their 14 team league

After those two wins, Hawaii gets a much tougher home game against Montana. Ranked 139 preseason, they are picked either 1 or 2 in the Big Sky. They are the two time defending champs, but lost their two best players to graduation. They beat Hawaii badly when they last played in Montana, but i am going with the Bows at home this time.

Hawaii then goes on the road for a single game at another Big Sky school, Northern Arizona. They are not very good. They have a preseason ranking of 284 are picked to finish in the lower half of their Conference. Dispite the game being on the road where Hawaii has not played well, especially against Non-Conference teams, I see hawaii coming home with a win.

Next up is another of those Div 2 Hawaii opponents,this time Chaminade. This is the last game before the Diamond Head, and i dont think Hawaii will be looking ahead. This game will be played on Kaua'1, and Hawaii previals.

Finally, there are two non-league games after the Diamond Head Classic. The first is against Norfolk State. Their preseason ranking is just ahead of UH at 204. They went undefeated in thier Conference last year, finishing 16-0 in the Mid Eastern Conference. They lost in the quarterfinals of the Conference Tournament. But their Conference is very weak, and dispite being picked to win the Conference again this year, I think they are out here to celebrate New Year's and the Bows will win.

That game is followed by the last Non-Conference game of the season against Nebraska-Omaha. Ranked 307, they are picked to finish in the middle of the Summit League. They have the league's top returning scorer, but they will be no match for Hawaii.

Adding it all up, I think Hawaii will go 9-2 against the Non-Conference, Non Diamond Head opponents. Frankly, against these teams, anything less than 8-3 would be a disappointment. But as you will see over the next few days, things get much tougher in the Diamond Head and the Conference.

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Observations from The Exhibition

By
November 1st, 2013



Last night, the Rainbow Warrriors ( i think that's the latest nickname) easily defeated an overmatched BYUH squad in a game that was not as close as the final score. Gib subsituted freely and the UH starting five was just way too quick for a slow BYUH team.

There were no surprises in the starting five of Standhardinger, Fotu, Shamburger,Nevels, and Spearman. But Spearman's night ended just a few seconds into the game when he left the floor with what appeared to be an ankle injury. He was last seen leaving the Arena on crtuches at the end of the game, not a good sign for a critical player who has the 3 spot locked up. He was replaced by Aaron Valdes who had a solid game with 8 points and 11 rebounds ( led the team in rebounding).

Standhardinger led the scoring with 27 points, but made less than 50% of his 19 attempts. One thing is certain. He will shoot from all over the court this year. He attempted 5 threes, making 2, and was not hesitant in taking the ball to the hoop (sometimes inadvisedly in my opinion).

Garrett Nevels had an outstanding game. He shot 11-17 and played aggressive defense. In fact the the team showed that it can effectively press as they caused 15 steals.

Shamburger did a solid job at the point with 11 assists with only 4 turnovers, but his offense contiues to struggle as he made only 1 of 7 from the field. The team had 19 turnovers against a non pressure defense and that will have to improve.

Issac had a very average game. He had only 8 points and only 3 rebounds. Dont expect that to continue. Off the bench, the team got solid performances from Quincy Smith ( the team does have some depth in the backcourt) and Mike Thomas. Against a small frontcourt, Rozitis chipped in with 7 rebounds and 7 points in only 12 minutes.

Hard to really get a good reading on the team from this one exhibition. BYUH is not the team it was just a few years ago, and it was the first " real game" for both squads. But there were encouraging signs of the uptempo, pressing, transition game Gib wants to play this year. One concern is the lack of real depth in the frontcourt and if Spearman is out for any lenght of time, that will hurt. Another issue down the road against better quality teams is the lack of height in the backcourt. But all in all, I am sure the UH coaches were pleased with the team's overall performance.

The season starts for real next Friday in a four team tounament where UH will play one poor team, one average team, and one pretty good team. It should give all of us a real clue as to how the team will perform this year. cant wait.

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