By Jeff Portnoy
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