Archive for March, 2016

Onto Houston

March 28th, 2016

I leave Friday for Houston where I will be blogging for the paper on the Final Four. And what a Final Four it will be.

Clearly, the Tarheels are the favorite. With their combination of strong guards and a talented frontcourt, can anybody slow them down. I doubt it. My Orange are the biggest surprise, and they showed what great pressure defense they can play when they need to. Their 2-3 zone is hard to crack, but UNC can both shoot the ball from beyond the arc and have the ability to get the ball inside where the zone is vulnerable. Rebounding could be a key, and although the Orange are athletic, I give the edge to the Heels. It will be a tough one for me, having graduated from Syracuse and being close to the UNC program, so the good news is one of my teams will be in the Final game.

The other game should be very competitive. Can one man defeat a team. We will see. Oklahoma relies on the best player in the country. Buddy Hield has been unbelievable . He may be the best shooter besides Stephen Curry in all of basketball. Villanova has gotten the NCAA monkey off its back and is playing very good defensive basketball. No stars, but a very solid all- around team. Oklahoma destroyed the Wildcats here in Honolulu back in November, but I think this one will be a 4-5 point game. I am going with the Sooners.

Houston is not my favorite place for a Final Four. The city is so spread out, and the Stadium is miles from hotels, etc so there are not a lot of activities nearby that bring out the fans, etc. Most of the activities will take place near the Convention Center and it will be a 20-30 minute commute to the Stadium. Also, unless you sit with the rich boosters or the sponsors, you are better off watching the games on TV. With a media pass, we will see where they put me this year. I have been very lucky the past few years.

I have also been invited to a few special events including a roundtable with NCAA officials to discuss the state of college basketball. Its been a very interesting year and the conversation should be very informative.

Meanwhile back on the ranch, the Bows have" signed" a new freshman guard ( or at least they have a commitment), and I expect the coaches will be out in force after Houston. And for those who were speculating that Eran might be going to a WCC school, so far those jobs have been taken by others ( yeh!). And how about Jamie Dixon. He leaves his 10 year contract at Pitt to return to his alma mater, TCU.  Yes, Pitt is a tough job in a great Conference, but TCU?  Jamie will struggle to win there, but I guess his heart is in Fort Worth.


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A Season to Remember

March 22nd, 2016

Just back from 5 exciting days in Spokane. What a week for the team, the coaches, and the community as The Men made history with its first ever NCAA win and The women gave it their all in the loss to UCLA.

This was anything but an easy year for the Rainbow Warriors both on and off the court. The NCAA sanctions, Fleming's departure, a coaching change, you name it. Yet these guys held together to achieve a record breaking year in wins and its first NCAA win. Add to this a 7-1 road record, Coach of the Year, Big West player of the Year, two sell -outs, etc etc etc.

Both the men and the women's teams brought together the entire State in the thrill and excitement of their seasons. Both at the Big West Tournament and the NCAA  games in Spokane and UCLA everyone was talking about the support the team got from the hundreds of fans who made the trips or came to the games from their homes on the Mainland. The support of the bands, cheerleaders and fans from other schools added to the big-time atmosphere of Hawaii basketball. If our teams weren't on the map before, they certainly are now.

If anyone questioned why UH sports is so important to our State just look back on the last week. Was there a bigger more important story in our Community. Was there anything since the Sugar Bowl that had everyone glued to their TV or, hopefully, their radios. Now its time for the legislature, the governor,  the corporate community and the UH Administration to find the money needed to keep our teams competitive in the world of big-time College sports. And don't forget for a second that Eran and Laura will be hot commodities the next few weeks as coaching jobs open in major Conferences. We need to do what we can to make sure they are both here next season

Tomorrow on Hoopstalk, we hope to have Coach Ganot and Athletic Director Matlin as our guests to discuss the season and the future of UH basketball.  I , for one, will cherish this year's achievements and I am thankful that my role as the radio color person gave me a chance to get up close and personal.



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What a week

March 17th, 2016

Sorry my blogs have been sporadic, but i have been traveling for work and with the Bows.

What is left to be said about last weekend. Both UH teams are in the Big Dance. The Men, as you know, held on to defeat Long Beach and the Wahinee cruised to their victory.

Its quite an accomplishment for both teams. Its been 20 years since both the men and woman made the Tournament. Considering the adversity the Men faced and the poor start for the Women, who would have thunk it'

I am in Spojkane with the men getting ready to broadcast the game tomorrow against Cal. The big news today is Cal's starting point guard is out with a broken hand. Cal is also facing a serious investigation into sexual harassment charges against an assistant coach ( now fired) and the Head Coach ( when did he know)

 It seems that all year the Bows have not only played well, but have gotten breaks on, and now off, the Court.

Even without these issues, many folks believe Hawaii has a solid chance to win. I wasnt so sure, but now I am. Yes Cal has two possible freshmen lottery picks, but Hawaii has experience and when the bright lights come on, that could be the difference.

I think Cal will neutralize Janks, but i like the guard match-up. Cal has played well at home, but struggled on the road. yes i know Hawaii didnt play but one out of conference road game, but it has played in 4 tournaments and had a great road record in Conference.

The Men have never won an NCAA Tournament game. I think that streak comes to an end tomorrow


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One and DONE

March 1st, 2016

One and done usually refers to the NCAA tournament, but this week, it refers to something else.

The One is the one game UH needs to win to clinch the regular season championship. Its well within reach this Thursday against Davis. But if UH loses, it still can control its destiny by beating Long Beach on Saturday. Two losses and UH may drop to third.

A regular season championship guarantees an NIT berth. There are four regions and 8 teams are seeded in each. Seeds 1-4 play at home. Right now, I think it would be difficult for UH to get a top 4 seed, but its possible.

Yes, I know hardly anyone wants the NIT. But in the past 5 years, only one number 1 seed has won the Big West tournament. And whoever wins, it will be seeded anywhere from a 14 to a 12. Would UH have a better chance against Duke or Utah in the NCAA or Gonzaga or Washington in the NIT?

The DONE is Issac Fleming. Frankly, good riddance. From the time last spring when he made noise about leaving if Benji wasn't made the head coach to his antics on the bench last Saturday, he has been mostly trouble. Its a shame really. For a few weeks this season it looked like he had matured both as a player and a team-mate. He played hard and well. But the past few weeks he has been a distraction both on the court and off.

I don't know who initiated his " resignation". Whether he was asked to leave or decided on his own, in my view, it should have happened months ago. I am sure many of you disagree. You see a player with some talent and exuberance. I see an immature player who is not nearly as good as he thinks he is who caused more problems than he solved.

This team has shown it can and will play without him. And frankly, although we are just a few games from the end of the season, a couple of other folks might begin to understand that winning is not everything. As we saw last Thursday, some players have had difficulty in learning how to be a good loser ( sorry Donald Trump, winning is not everything).

The fans have come to love this team, and with good reason. They have a chance to do something a UH men's basketball team hasn't done in 15 years. Neither the team nor the fans need any more distractions.


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