This week, the Rainbow Warriors will complete the non-league portion of their 2013-14 schedule. They should end up 11-3 after their 2-1 record in the Diamond Head Classic. I had predicted they would win 2, but I admit I did not have the second game opponent predicted correctly, although I did have them losing to Boise before winning 5th place.
The loss to Boise, in retrospect, may have been the the best predictor of how the team is doing. Boise is a solid team and played top 15 ranked Iowa State tough in the Championship game. A missed free-throw and a last second shot off the rim was all that seperated Hawaii from a win against the Broncos. The last second win against St.Marys's does not look so good now that St. Mary's lost all three games here, including that loss to South Carolina. And the win against Oregon State, a middle of the road Pac -12 team, missing its best two big men, is a nice win, but nothing to write home about.
But Hawaii enters these last two Non-Conference games with a 9-3 record with wins against two Div 2 teams, one road win, a tough loss to a very good Missouri team on the road, and a very nice won-loss record. The two games this week should be wins, although both Norfolk State and Nebraska ( Omaha) come in with winning records. Norfolk State 's best win was against Boston University on the road, but the other wins are against no-name schools. Nebraska( Omaha) will be tougher with a win at Nevada, and tough losses on the road to UNLV and Iowa.
The Big West has had its problems in Non-Conference play. Only three schools have winning records ( Hawaii has the best non-conference record so far), and very few signature wins. Hawaii has to start Conference play on the road in two tough places, Cal Poly and Northridge. Cal Poly is really struggling, but is a much better team at home and gave Hawaii fits last year. Northridge is presently 8-5, but hasnt beaten anybody decent. Then the Rainbow Warriors return home for a single game against terrible Riverside before having to go out on the road to UC Davis and UC Irvine.
I will be on the Mainland the first two weeks in Jan and will get a chance to see Duke and North Carolina play games at home. Really looking forward to it. Meanwhile, Hawaii looks to me to be one of the three best teams in the league going into League play. It will need to win a few on the road to make a run at the league championship
Tagline: Jeff Portnoy is a member of the UH Board of Regents but this blog relects only his personal opinions