Archive for March, 2011

Team banquet set

March 28th, 2011
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In the mood for celebrating the comeback season for Hawaii men's basketball?

Well, hold that thought for a few more weeks. The team's postseason banquet has been officially set for April 21 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.

Gib Arnold was around for last year's banquet, albeit as a guest as the newly minted head coach. This time, though, it's his party, and he'll haka if he wants to.

Click here to bring up the banquet RSVP form, which may be returned to the UH basketball office on lower campus by April 15. Tickets are $100.

For more information, call Bobbie Omoto in the basketball office at 956-6501.

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A reminder, the UH women's basketball banquet is set for April 10 at the Ala Moana Hotel Hibiscus Ballroom. The RSVP deadline is coming up fast on Saturday.

To find out more, contact Mel Nakao at 220-1585 or mnakaowbb@gmail.com

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CIT update from Wallace

March 17th, 2011
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This is all moot if the Rainbow Warriors can't take care of business on Saturday against San Francisco, but the future is a little clearer for UH in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament should it advance to the third round (of eight teams remaining).

CIT selection committee chairman Riley Wallace, the former UH coach, said that should UH beat USF, the Rainbows' next opponent would be the winner of the Santa Clara-Air Force game played tomorrow (Friday). UH would go on the road to play at either of those teams because there is a conflict at the Stan Sheriff Center on Tuesday, when the next game would be played. An annual robotics convention will be in the SSC, and I'm told that isn't something that can be broken down or set back up in a matter of hours.

A UH-Santa Clara or Air Force game would be in the quarterfinals, but there still isn't a bracket set up in the third-year CIT. Something I didn't realize in today's article: Even with four teams assigned second-round byes, the tourney organizers can swap teams around in each round based on region, so an opponent beyond Tuesday would be difficult to predict.

Wallace said the Boston-based owners of the CIT were impressed with Hawaii's showing and energetic crowd (of about 4,300) in a win over Portland on Tuesday.

"They were very pleased, and were all talking about the fans and how they really turned out and were excited about it," Wallace said. "I said, 'Wait until you see the next one,' because I think you'll have more people there on Saturday."

Wallace said UH was among the leaders of CIT game hosts in attendance.

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From the CIT website, here are the upcoming games laid out. Times are Eastern.

SECOND ROUND (March 18-19)

FRIDAY
Air Force (16-15) @ Santa Clara (20-14) 10:00 p.m.

SATURDAY
Buffalo (19-13) @ Western Michigan (21-12) 2:00 p.m.
Jacksonville (20-11) @ SMU (18-14) 3:00 p.m.
San Francisco (18-14) @ Hawaii (19-12) 1:00 a.m.

QUARTERFINALS (March 21-22)

MONDAY
Northern Iowa (20-13) vs. Jacksonville (20-11) or SMU (18-14)

TUESDAY
East Tennessee State (23-11) vs. Ohio (19-15)
Iona (23-11) vs. Buffalo (19-13) or Western Michigan (21-12)
Air Force (16-15) or Santa Clara (20-14) vs. San Francisco (18-14) or Hawaii (19-12)

Wallace on UH hoops

March 14th, 2011
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Our Ferd Lewis recently spoke to former UH coach Riley Wallace, now the chairman of the CIT selection committee, about Hawaii hoops.

Courtesy of Ferd, here's what Wallace had to say on a few things:

On UH coach Gib Arnold calling Wallace to thank him for an invite to the CIT: "He just thanked me. I was in the casino so my phone didn't take, but he left a (voice) message thanking me for putting the team in there. He said they were all excited. It was nice."

On his past differences with Gib: "It wasn't anything to do with the basketball part of it, so it was fine. He does a good job for the program and wins. That's what it is all about, the program. He's got it back on stable ground and that's what is important."

On UH's chances to host another CIT game Friday with a win on Tuesday: "That's a possibility. I would say they'd have as good a shot as anybody. It depends on who wins and who is willing to travel that far. We'll work with all the teams in there."

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Freshman point guard Bobby Miles sat out all of today's team practice in preparation for the Portland Pilots. Miles hyperextended his left knee during Sunday's session when center Doug Kurtz shoulder-rolled into Miles' leg after the guard exploded to the rim.

Junior point guard Miah Ostrowski is prepared to play the full game, if necessary. Junior guard Zane Johnson is the backup option at the point, while freshman forward Trevor Wiseman could also be asked to slide over.

Sophomore forward Dominick Brumfield also did not practice, though that was only because he was feeling sick.

WAC sends 5 to postseason

March 13th, 2011
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Though many still consider it a down year for Western Athletic Conference basketball (witness the losing records of usual contenders New Mexico State and Nevada) the WAC still managed to send five teams to postseason tournaments.

>> Utah State (30-3) earned a 12th seed in the NCAA Tournament and meets No. 5 Kansas State in the opening round. Tough going here for the Aggies, who did pretty much all anyone could have asked of them all season, only to get a lower-tier seed despite a No. 23 ranking in the AP (and 17 in the coaches poll).

>> Hawaii (18-12), as we all know by now, accepted an invite to play in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Tuesday night against visiting Portland (20-11) of the West Coast Conference, one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. Should UH win, it will find out how the rest of the CIT bracket shakes out. Four seeds (affording a bye in the next round) are assigned after the opening-round games, but UH likely isn't getting one of those.

>> Boise State (20-12), the runner-up in the WAC tournament, accepted an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational against Austin Peay. The Broncos had the best shot of anyone not named Utah State to make the NIT, but that didn't happen. Getting to host one of the eight first-round  CBI games is a decent consolation prize.

>> Idaho (18-13) played well all season despite any true stars on its team, and was matched up with a hot San Jose State team at the wrong time for the Vandals. CIT selection chairman Riley Wallace was quick to offer UI an invitation, and the Vandals will play at San Francisco in one of 12 first-round games.

>> San Jose State (17-15) surprised many people in the WAC tournament with their three-day run, knocking off Hawaii and Idaho and  nearly taking down Utah State. But they didn't surprise themselves, and now have a CBI berth to show for it. The Spartans play at Creighton on the other side of the CBI bracket from Boise State.

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UH senior point guard Hiram Thompson looks his closest yet to a return to action from his injured left arm. He's not holding it as gingerly. Still, could be a longshot for him to play Tuesday.

A situation to keep an eye on is that of freshman point Bobby Miles. On a nice take to the basket about halfway through practice yesterday, Miles was hurt when all 265 pounds of center Doug Kurtz rolled into Miles' left knee on the way down. The backup point guard, who said he may have hyperextended it, was sidelined for the rest of practice.

If Miles can't play in tomorrow (Monday) practice, Miah Ostrowski could have to shoulder all 40 minutes himself against the Pilots. He's done it before.

Still here

March 11th, 2011
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Despite the first-round losses of the Hawaii men's and women's basketball teams, I'm still here in Las Vegas, and I'll have a daily report on the WAC tournament at the Orleans Arena until a champion is crowned.

With a decent amount of momentum heading into the tournament for both UH teams, it was reasonable to expect one of them to advance. Instead, you had a suddenly hot San Jose State team stun the Rainbow Warriors at the buzzer and New Mexico State shoot down the Rainbow Wahine in the second half of their game.

With the way the eighth-seeded Spartans played, a loss to them isn't something to be ashamed of. They played well, and behind star Adrian Oliver hit plenty of big shots to earn the victory.

Of course, the struggles at the free-throw line (for both UH teams) was a big part of their undoing. The Wahine didn't capitalize at the line and didn't have the firepower to match the Aggies shot for shot. The Rainbow Warriors absolutely shot themselves in the foot with several missed front ends of 1-and-1s.

The good news: the UH men (18-12) are still playing, hosting a CollegeInsider.com Tournament game against Portland of the West Coast Conference on Tuesday. This won't be an easy game. The Pilots (20-11) are talented and have some shooters to match the likes of UH's Zane Johnson and Bo Barnes.

The UH women are done at 11-19 for the year. Way below .500, true, but it was looking like a much worse year for a while there, when they started 0-8 in the WAC. Credit Dana Takahara-Dias for holding the team together and making a run at the seventh seed at 5-11 in league play.

But with a combined overall record of 21-39 over her first two years, pressure will be on her to win, and win plenty, in year three. With five seniors (a third of the team) outgoing, there's plenty to replace, so expect something different next season no matter what.

Here we go

March 9th, 2011
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This is it. WAC tournament time, where postseason dreams are made (or crushed).

I'm currently set up courtside while Hawaii warms up. Everyone is healthy, with the exception of senior point guard Hiram Thompson, who is still unable to play because of the ligament damage in his left arm.

Can UH make it 3-for-3 against San Jose State this season? We're about to find out. It seems like the team was able to shake off the malaise that plagued them against Fresno State to end the regular season.

San Jose State has one obnoxious loud heckler. He might be their only fan in the building.

Meanwhile, UH has a few hundred fans, plus the band, cheerleaders, and dancers which really makes a difference with such a sparse crowd.

No. 4 out of reach

March 4th, 2011
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Hawaii held up its end of the bargain last night for a shot at the No. 4 seed in the WAC tournament, defeating San Jose State 77-71 on the road. But two close games around the WAC sealed the Rainbow Warriors' fate to go without a first-round bye.

UH needed help from either Fresno State or Louisiana Tech, but Idaho came from behind to beat Fresno 69-66 and Nevada won at LaTech 73-70.

Even if the Rainbows finish 9-7 by beating Fresno tomorrow (and become one of either three or four teams with that record) the tiebreakers don't go in UH's favor. Utah State and Boise State are locked in to the Nos. 1 and 2 spots and Idaho has clinched either No. 3 or 4. Either New Mexico State  or Nevada, who are both 8-7 and play each other tomorrow, will get the other 3 or 4 spot.

Tough sledding for the Rainbows, who have played as well as any team in the WAC for the last few weeks. This means UH, as either the No. 5 or 6 seed, will have to win four games in four days to advance to the NCAA tournament.

If UH wins tomorrow, it will play Fresno again in the 5-8 matchup. If UH loses, it could be 5 or 6 and play either Fresno or San Jose State.

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Meanwhile, the UH women's basketball team won for the fifth time in eight games with a rousing 72-71 overtime victory over Utah State last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

It was the third season in a row the Rainbow Wahine won at the buzzer on senior night, this time courtesy of two Kamilah Jackson free throws with 0.3 seconds left in the extra period.

The Wahine are locked into the WAC tournament as the No. 7 seed and will play No. 6 New Mexico State in the first round on Wednesday.

Ostrowski standing pat

March 1st, 2011
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Junior point guard  Miah Ostrowski's unforeseen large role with the Hawaii men's basketball team has many wondering if he'd forsake football next season (where his scholarship is) to play hoops full-time for Gib Arnold.

The answer: No.

Ostrowski said before the team left for its road trip this week that the loyalty the football team has shown him with a scholarship is important to him and he's going to stick it out as a multi-sport athlete. He will still come across campus to play basketball, primarily for the WAC season, when football season is over in fall 2011.

If the Warriors make it to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl again, that means Miah will be back just after the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, as was the case this season when he crossed over for the first time.

Remember, Ostrowski is in line to be a starting slotback next season. He came in as a football player and he feels a duty to fulfill that obligation.