By Brian McInnis
Adding injury to insult, Hawaii point guard Jace Tavita suffered a dislocated left pinkie finger in UH's 64-61 loss to Cal Poly on Saturday's senior night. He played the last 10-15 minutes of the game with it, UH coach Gib Arnold said.
Unlike Brandon Spearman's ankle sprain, the team doesn't believe it to be a serious setback, though. Tavita is set to have a minor surgery on Tuesday to re-align his finger, after which Arnold hopes he'll be good to go in Thursday's regular-season finale at Cal State Northridge with a splint applied.
The severity will be known for sure after his procedure Tuesday. He's going on the road with the team Tuesday night regardless.
We're headed for an incredibly tight finish in the middle of the Big West pack this week. Besides travel partners UH and CSUN (one game), every other team has two games this week to settle seedings going into the Big West tournament in Anaheim. It's still very murky in the middle.
Here's the current standings:
1. Long Beach State 13-3; 2. Pacific 11-5; 3T. UC Irvine 10-6; 3T. Cal Poly 10-6; 5. Hawaii 10-7; 6. UC Davis 9-7; 7. Cal State Fullerton 6-10; 8. UC Santa Barbara 5-11.
Cal State Northridge (4-13) and UC Riverside (3-13) are on the outside looking in. (And UCR was academically ineligible, as well.)
As you can see, it's jumbled up. Davis and Cal Poly own tiebreakers over UH based on sweeps this season. UH's finish is now narrowed to the 3-6 range, with the lower end of that more likely. Possible first-round BWC tournament opponents are Pacific, UC Irvine, Cal Poly, and UC Davis. Based on regular-season results, you'd probably surmise that Pacific or Irvine are the better draws for the Rainbow Warriors. As it stands, though, UH will likely have to beat more than one of those teams to win it all.
Four teams in the league could potentially finish unbeaten at home if Cal Poly and Pacific take care of business this week.
The Rainbow Warriors visited the Kapiolani Medical Center's children's hospital on Monday, and brightened up the day of a handful of bedridden children. Several were basketball fans. Here's a few pictures I snapped (with approval) while I was there.
"I think we end up getting more out of it than we give," Arnold said. "I think it puts in perspective ... we're feeling a little down about losing a game, but these guys got real issues, are dealing with real problems, rather than just losing a game."
"We could have gone on the practice floor for an hour, hour and a half, I thought we would get more out of coming here and giving rather than working out. I really do. ... I think the guys like it, I think the guys are good at it. It's part of their responsibility of representing UH basketball."