Archive for February, 2014

So Near, Yet So Far

February 28th, 2014

It continues to be a woulda, coulda, so close, we had them, kind of season for UH. Yesterday's loss to Long Beach is just another example of the team falling just a little short against the better teams in the league. After leading almost the entire game, the Bows could not come up with a defensive rebound when it counted and failed to get a solid last second play in losingoan a late three to the Beach.

Other than the miracle win against Irvine, UH has not beaten the three teams above them in the standings and will finish fourth. They still have a chance to beat one of the top teams next week at Santa Barbara, but other than pride, it really doesnt mean very much.

Once again, Hawaii struggled from three. Shamburger continued his season long shooting woes going 1-6. and he would not have been my choice to attempt the last shot. Issac had an average game on the road again, and Nevels took 12 shots and made only 4. Standhardinger and Spearman had solid offensive games.

Irvine's win at home against Santa Barbara gives them a leg up in winning the league, but frankly, no team has stood out as the clear favorite to represent the league in the NCAA's.  I think Hawaii has as good chance to win three in a row as any team, and i dont give any of the bottom 4 teams any chance.  They are not very good, although on a given night, Northridge or Fullerton could spring the upset. And if Hawaii doesnt get some decent outside shooting in the Tournament, they could be one and done despite Standhardinger and Fotu's ability to dominate inside.

With two games left, I think this has to be considered a frustrating season for UH. They came so close in one big game after another, but couldnt pull off the win in all but one of those contests. But they were in almost every league game, except maybe the early loss at Cal Poly. The inability to find any consistant outside scorer will prove to have been the team's Achilles Heel. But they did win four road games  in a row, and had the nice win against St. Mary's in the Diamond Head. They played Missouri tough on the road, and beat the teams they were supposed to beat. But to be sucessful, you have to win some against teams that are competitive and even better than you ( on records alone), and this team just couldnt get it done, falling just short.

But the tournament looms ahead and all will be forgotton if the Bows win it all. If they dont, there will be those who will say year four of the Gib regime was ok, but nothing to write home about. 20 wins is still very doable, and that's saying something. But lets face it, in a weak league with no outstanding teams, some folks  want more. And not a buy-in tournament.  Ibelieve things are moving in the right direction, but some will say not fast enough. That's what makes being a fan so much fun. Just continue to support the program and let your voices be heard, no matter what your opinions maybe



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Just The Facts Ma'am

February 24th, 2014

With only one game this week, i though i would review UH's 19-8 record based upon the opponent's RPI. There has been so much discussion about Hawaii beating the bottom teams in the league, losing to the better teams, the team's non-conference schedule, and the team's RPI that i did a little research and these are the facts.

First, I used the Pomroy ratings which almos everyont says is the most accurate of all the RPI services. According to Pomroy, Hawaii's RPI is 133 ( out of 355). Its strength of schedule is 269 overall and 300 non-conference ( pretty poor).

Uh has beaten four teams with a higher RPI. St Mary's ( 62); Irvine ( 92), Oregon State (111), and Western Michigan ( 130).  Six of its eight losses have come to teams with better RPI's. Missiouri, Boise, New Mexico State, and Santa Barbara, Irvine and Long Beach in the Conference.

Hawaii has 14 wins against teams with lower RPI's, including teams with RPI's from 170 to 315, with most of these wins coming against teams in the bottom one third. These include two wins against Riverside ( 267) and Davis ( 315),  and single wins against Fullerton ( 234) , Northridge  ( 243) and Cal Poly ( 194).  Two wins have come against Div 2 teams, Chaminade and Hilo, who are not included in the RPI.

Hawaii has two  losses aginst teams with lower RPI's. Cal Poly and Northridge, both on the road.

So what conclusions can we draw from this class. Its that Hawaii has beaten up on weak teams, and has struggled against better teams. Hawaii has two games left against higher RPI teams, and teams ahead of the Rainbows in the Conference, Long Beach and Santa Barbara, both on the road, and then the final home game against Fullerton.

If Hawaii manages to win one or both of the road games, its RPI would improve slightly. Losses would not significantly hurt the RPI since both of these teams have better RPI's than Hawaii. A Fullerton loss wont improve the RPI. A loss would hurt it somewhat.

The league has only two teams in the top 100. Long Beach might sneak in, but if does, Irvine might fall out. So its clear that no Big West team is getting an at-large bid to either of the two real post season tournaments, the NCAA and the NIT. The regular season champ will go to the NIT and the Tournament champ to the NCAA. If its the same team, maybe the second place team makes the NIT. And frankly, i hope we dont play in any of the  buy-in tournaments. In year four of the present regime, I would hope both they and the fans expect we either play in a real post season tournament or we say goodby to the seniors at Senior night.

Do I think the weak schedule has hurt the Bows in the big Conference games the last three weeks. I dont, but i do think a stronger pre-conference schedule is preferable to one with teams that dont help our RPI nor our post season chances. Yes, it helps the team get to 20 wins, but I think better competition makes you a better program in the long run. And maybe, just maybe, its an answer to why fans are not coming out like I would expect . Yes we have no natural league rivalries anymore and yes there was a State High School Tournament, and yes, the better games were on Thursday nights, and yes, you can watch the games at home on TV, but these are poor excuses for a program that will average just about half an arena for the season with an exciting brand of basketball, two of the better players in the league, and a likley 20 win season.

Meanwhile, the Long Beach game is for third place. Win, and I like our chances to finish third. Lose, and its possible we could slip to 5th. Of all the teams in the Conference, I think Long Beach is our worst match-up. Their guards are more athletic and quicker than our back court, and they have some talent in the paint. We will have to fiqure out some way to stay in front of their guards and have some second line defenders in the paint to win this game


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Its probably a 4th place finish

February 21st, 2014

The Dream of competing for the regular season championship came crashing down last night as UH lost in overtime to Irvine. That completes an 0-3 home record against the best three teams in the league. Yes Hh has beaten up  on the bottom half of the league at home and on the road, but except for the miracle finish at Irvine last month, hasnt been able to defeat the teams in the top half.

Last night again exposed what has been a real problem all league season, the inability to score from the the outside. Last night, Hawaii made only 16 field goals in an overtime game, and was a woeful 4-17 from three. And when you consider that 3 of those were made by Nevels, who has been the only consistant three point shooter all year, you see how poor the rest of the team was. Spearman and Shamburger continued their inability to score from outside 5 feet by going a combined 1-9 from three and 3-17 overall.

Standhardinger had 10 first half points, going 6-6 from the line, but was a total nonfactor in the second half, not scoring until he made 2 meaningless freethrows with under 30 seconds remaining in overtime. He was 2-9 from the field as he consistently tried to challenge Irvine in the paint without any success. In fact, if Hawaii had not had a good game from the line ( 20-23), they might not have scored 40 points. Irvine did a good job keeping Fotu from going off as did in the game at Irvine ( 30 points on 13-16 shooting).

So it now looks like UH will finist in 4th place. They have a 2 game lead over Cal Poly and Northridge ( watch out for a late charge from Fullerton), and are 2 or more games behind the top three teams. UH has to go on the road after tomorrow's game against Davis ( they are bad) and play at Long Beach and Santa Barbara before finishing up against Fullerton. Moving up to third is unlikley. Also, Hawaii will have to win 2 more games to reach 20 wins, and with those two home games  should be able to do that. But to be honest, the three home losses against Santa Barbara, Long Beach, and now Irvine , is a major disappointment to both the fans and I am sure the team.

By the way, in the most hyped game of the year, maybe 6000 fans showed up. Its beginning to look like folks here just are not into UH basketball.  Yes , the fans that do show up are loud and supportive, But if you cant draw more than this for a game with so much riding on it, its time to ask where have the fans gone. Yes, you can use the Thursday excuse, or the pay for view excuse, or any excuse you want, but in the end its troublesome. Any answers from all of you out there?

yes these are my personal views, not those of the Regents.



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Will the Third Time be the Charm?

February 18th, 2014

Ok, first credit where credit is due. Four straight road wins, something UH hasn't been able to do in four decades. Yes, three of the wins came against teams ranked 300 or worse in the RPI, but some of those teams have won a few Conference games against the league leaders.  Some timely outside shooting and consistent play from Issac and Christian contributed to the two road wins last week, although Fullerton again showed what an athletic talented guard can do to UH inside. A missed free throw probably cost Fullerton the game, but if you cant make a free throw with the game on the line, at home, you deserve to lose.

But once again UH finds itself with a chance to score a big home victory against one of the better teams in the league. They couldnt get it done against Santa Barbara or Long Beach, but there is no more margin of error this week against league leading Irvine. The Anteaters come here knowing that had they beaten UH at home back on Jan 25th, they would be sitting pretty in the league race. And if they lose again here on Thursday, they cannot afford to lose the next two games, at Northridge and home against Santa Barbara. And for Hawaii, they cant afford anymore home losses. Hawaii beat Irvine, in part, by moving Issac out of the paint and into the short corner where he scored at will. UH essentially neutralized Mamadou Ndiaye, and the hack a Ndiaye exposed his poor free throw shooting when it mattered most. Irvine has some complimentary scorers, and they have only two league losses, but I think Hawaii steps up this Thursday and does what it couldnt do the last two home thursdays, that is beat one of the top three teams in the league.


Face it, after this week, Hawaii has to go to Santa Barbara and Long Beach. The chances of winning either of those games is not great so Hawaii needs the wins this week to compete for the top three spots in the tournament.  Quality wins remain an issue for the Rainbow Warriors. Despite a 18-7 record, their RPI stands about 150 with a strengrh of schedule above 200. Road wins against two of the bottom feeders in the league add to the win total, but it will take a win against Irvine to show that UH is ready to compete with the League leaders. If you plan on going to one game this season, this is the one . Anything less than 8000 will be a disappointment.

Its pretty clear that UH will hit the 20 win mark this year. Two of the wins have come against non Division 1 opponents so I would like to see 22 wins overall before the Tournament. It wont be easy, but it is doable. You dont want to play Cal Poly or Northridge in the first round of the Tournament, so a second place finish would be the goal. Down two games in the loss column to Irvine and one to Santa Barbara, Thursday's game is huge. Nice to say that with only three weeks left in the season.

These are my personal views. How about yours?


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On the Road Again

February 12th, 2014

Hawaii hits the road this week for two games against two of the worst three teams in the League. Fullerton and Riverside have a combined RPI of 625. Tthey have a total of 5 league wins and are a combined 15-30. It is a relatively simple trip with a single flight to Southern California. So the Rainbow Warriors should pick up two easy wins, right?  Not so fast.

First Hawaii still struggles on the road. This year they are 2-2 in Conference, and the losses have come in the Thursday game. Secondly, Thursday's opponent, UC Riverside, has beaten Cal Poly at home and has a 3 point overtime loss at home to Santa Barbara. Fullerton has beaten Santa Barbara at home. Hawaii is struggling to score from outside, and needs to find some offense from the guard position.

These games are critical to Hawaii's wanning chances of winning the Conference. A single loss on this trip and that chance is essentially over.  Two wins, however, will give UH a decent shot of finishing in the top three. I think UH will beat Fullerton. I am not so sure about Riverside. After this week, Hawaii still gets to play league leaders Irvine here, and Long Beach and Santa Barbara on the road. That trip is a monster.

Despite an extraordinary weekend, Issac did not receive the Big West Player of the Week. That honor went to Luke Nelson of UC Irvine. It should have gone to Issac. Previous Hawaii winners have been Standhardinger in week one and Shamburger Jan 27.

These are my views and do not reflect the view of the Regents

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Fotu rrific

February 10th, 2014

Ok. I am patting myself on my back. Before the season, I participated in the Big West Media Preseason Poll. One of the things we were asked to do was predict the all league first team. Almost everyone selected Standhardinger and that was no surprise based upon last year. I picked Issac. It’s not that I didn’t think Christian was worthy, but was based on the reality that two Hawaii players were not going to make first team, I thought then, and the last several weeks bears me out, that Issac would be a more consistent player than Christian, and frankly, I thought a better " team" player.

Last Saturdays night's game was the Issac Fotu show. Yes he got some help from Standhardinger, but Cal Poly would have won the game if Issac did not simply dominate the paint and make big baskets, sometimes three times in succession. Hawaii's outside game continued to struggle, and Shamburger has simply lost his shot. It’s kind of ironic that before the season folks were talking about how Hawaii's guards would finally compete with the top teams in the Conference as we all knew the inside game had been Hawaii's strength last year. Well folks, it’s the inside game that has continued to be Hawaii's strength while the guard play, at least offensively, is struggling.

Yes, the guards are quicker and the backcourt has more depth. Yes, we can press at times and make free throws down the stretch. But with 3 starters shooting 25% from three, this has become a major issue against the better teams.

The 4 game home stand must be considered a disappointment. Some fans and media had Hawaii going 4-0. I thought we would be 3-1. I don’t think anyone really thought we would lose two, and the losses were to teams ahead of us who we still have to play on the road. The win against Cal Poly, who had beaten UH 5 straight times, salvaged what would have been a disappointing home stand.

Hawaii now goes on the road to play two bottom feeders. Riverside, at least, has put up a fight on occasion at home. Fullerton is simply a poor team this year. Two Hawaii road wins are expected if this team wants to finish in the top half of the league. I know they are on the road, but this team seems to not let that bother them like teams in the past. And when you have Fotu rrific on you team, Hawaii will be tough to beat if it gets some solid complimentary play from Standhardinger, Nevels, and Spearman

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Simple Math 3-19=L

February 7th, 2014

Ok students, lets do some simple Math. 3 for 19 shooting from beyond the Arc against a loose 1-2-2 zone equals a very disappointing loss. Its that simple. The only way Hawaii was going to beat Santa Barbara was to hit outside shots. They didnt. And its not just this game that has exposed Hawaii's permieter shooting woes. Shamburger, Spearman, and Standhardinger are all shooting about 25% in League play from beyond the arc. Shut down Neverls, as the Gauchos did yesterday, and Hawaii struggles offensively.

Couple of addtional observations. First, and I have said this all year, Shamburger has  no shot.  Yes, occasionally he will hit a three, but teams have fiqured out that it is far more likley he will miss.  Last night, he missed 5 wide-open threes. But he keeps shooting. Perhaps he should have looked for Nevels a little more. And teams have begun to fiqure out how to keep Standhardinger from scoring in the paint and not foul him. yet, he failed to adjust his game for the third night in a row.

Defensively, Hawaii did what it needed to do. They forced the Gauchos into turnovers and , at times, really poor shot selection. But if you cant convert on the offensive end after making stops, you lose.

So for the second consecutive Thursday, Hawaii lost a home game they needed to win to be competitive at the top of the league. The season is only half over, but it will tough for UH to get those two games back. Can they do it in a perfect storm world?  Yes, butIi think it is more likley they will not catch all of the three teams ahead of them.

Cal Poly comes into town tomorrow. It is a team that has had Hawaii's number the last two years, but i think Hawaii will bounce back with a win. Cal Poly is really struggling and has played very poorly on the road. The two teams are tied for third fourth place at 4-4, so it an important game.

I know some folks thought UH would go 4-0 on this home stand, especially after the huge win at Irvine. I cautioned folks that was not likley, but i did think 3-1 was a reality. Now we are hoping for 2-2. I think we will get there, and next week's road trip is the easiest of the season, so all is not lost.

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The Heart or the Brian?

February 6th, 2014

Picking a winner for tonight's huge game against Santa Barbara pits my heart vrs my brain My heart says UH. The brain says not so.

First the brain. Santa Barbara was picked by many to win the Conference. Their play so far indicates they will be right there at the end. Except for a blip or two( a loss on the road at Fullerton and a home loss to Cal Poly), the Gauchos are playing well. They are back to full strength, play a wicked 1-2-2 zone and have probably the best player in Junior Alan Williams who already has been the Big West Player of the Week four times.  They have shown they can win on the road ( 5-4 record), and have one of the few quality out of Conference wins when they beat Cal. Are they perfect? no. Are they a top 25 team? No. But they are currently ranked 11 in the Mid -Major College insider poll ( Hawaii is 37th). Hawaii struggles to score from outside , the Gauchos are 1st in the Conference in field goal percentage and 3pt%, and are second in scoring defense. So the brain says the Gauchos in a tight game.

But the heart says UH. This is a game the Rainbow Warriors have to win if they have any real chance to win the Conference regular season. They came up short against Long Beach and really have little margin for error. They simply need to win the remaining home games. There should be a big crowd. They have shown they can score against anybody in the Conference. Fotu may be the league's second best player. They are getting solid play from Nevels and Spearman. And Standhardinger has been generally consistant offensively. The heart says they realize the importance of this game in year 4 of the Gib era and the hurt they felt when they failed to defend against Long Beach. So the heart says UH finds a way to win.

In any event, you wont want to miss this game. I know its a Thursday game, but even if you are a casual fan, it will be the best Conference game of the year.


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It wasn't pretty

February 3rd, 2014

Ok, a win is win. But Hawaii's home win against Northridge on Saturday is nothing to write home about. Northridge has had a pretty disappointing season so far, both in and out of Conference. Its best Conference win was against Hawaii at home. Its basically a lower half conference team with a 500 record. And yes, Hawaii was coming off a difficult loss to Long Beach and had Shamburger on the bench for the first 23 minutes ( no official explaination, but the best guess it was disciplinary coming out of the Long Beach loss), but this game was not well played by either team and was closer than it needed to be until Hawaii took control in the final 12 minutes.

Here  is a stat you wont likely see again and if you are a Hawaii fan, you hope you dont. Rozitis had more points and rebounds ( total) than Standhardinger. Davis played well so credit him for that, but Christian was essentially taken completely out of the game . Lets chalk it up to a bad day at the office. And credit Smith for a solid game in place of Shamburger.

For me the biggest home game of the year is this Thursday's game against Santa Barbara. If Hawaii hopes to win this crucial game, it will need to play like it did at Irvine, not like it played last week at hime. The Gauchos are playing well after a brief period where they did not, injury issues, and they have arguably the best player of the league in Williams, although I think Fotu will give him a run for his money before the season is over.

Hawaii stands only one game out of the first, but there are currently three teams ahead of them, Santa Barbara being one of them. After that game, Cal Poly comes in to complete the home stand. Cal Poly has had Hawaii's number, but are really playing poorly after losing two games last week at home. They should come here really reeling.

Gib went to the bench early and often last week , something he did not do on the last road trip. Got some solid minutes from the bench. Good crowd saturday night as well. Will need a full house Thursday. Should be one of the better games of the year so dont miss it.

The disclaimer. These are my views only. Would love to hear yours.

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