February 23rd, 2015
With only three games remaining in the regular season, UH is tied for 6th place with a chance to move down to 7th or up to as high as third. Seeding does make a difference. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Right now, I wouldn't want to play Irvine or Santa Barbara. I would take my chances with Davis or Long Beach.
The Bows lost the two road games> Not unexpected. The Irvine loss wasn't pretty. Defensive lapses and poor decision making once again affected the result. The Davis loss, on the other hand, demonstrated that UH may match up against the league leaders better than anyone. A 7 point loss while missing three frontline players is a credit to the team's effort. What is a little disconcerting is the inability to stop Davis' late run, something we have seen time and time again in the team's losses.
The Bows again play two teams ahead of them in the standings, this time at home. They will face Long Beach on Thursday ( only one game this week), and then Santa Barbara at home and Fullerton on the road. The Gauchos will have Alan Williams for the Senior night game. Hawaii has only one win against the top 5 teams in the Conference, but if they are full strength they can beat an inconsistent Long Beach team. Santa Barbara with Williams will be tougher and Fullerton, even on the road, should be a win.
I am predicting Hawaii will end up in 5th place with a 8-8 record. Interestingly, that is where they were picked to finish before the season started when Isaac was still on the team( some had them as high as 4th). Hard to believe the season is almost over. Its been a season of highs and lows. There have been the big wins against Davis and Pittsburgh, along with a great effort against Wichita State, and some bad losses, like High Point and Riverside. But all in all, the on court play has been exciting and fan-friendly. Strengths include excellent pressure defense, a solid transition game off of turnovers, and a record number of steals. Negatives include inconsistent outside shooting, inability to hold leads late in games, and a lack of execution in the half court.
Only one team from the Big West will make it to the two major tournaments> Davis is guaranteed the League Championship and a spot in the NIT. Whoever wins the Tournament will be a 15 seed in the Big Dance. Surprises to me are Davis and Riverside on the plus side, and Long Beach and Santa Barbara on the downside ( but I think Santa Barbara has a real chance to win the Tournament). As far as Hawaii goes, I think they will win 20 games. Not too many people predicted that back in November. Yes, there have been some off court issues, and way too many technical fouls,, and yes, I think they have failed to play with discipline on occasion, but with all the off-court distractions facing this program, and the loss of their best player before the season started, its been a successful year by anyone's criteria.