By Brian McInnis
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.