Hoping For Rare UH Hoops Double

It’s been rare for both UH basketball teams to each have a real chance to win its conference tournament, but it’s truly possible in the Big West this year.

On the men’s side, Hawaii has the best size in the field and has earned a split or better against every team except Cal Poly and UC-Davis. And while those guard-oriented teams have proven to be difficult match-ups for the Rainbow Warriors, neither team is downright scary. UH has defeated the top two teams and matches up with Long Beach State particularly well. The difficulty for any team hoping to win the tournament and obtain the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament is being consistent enough to win three days in a row. Hawaii will need Jace Tavita to be recovered fully from finger surgery to have a real shot, but that is not expected to be a problem.

The Rainbow Wahine will have to win three games over four days and may actually be helped by not getting the double-bye that goes to the top two teams, which mandates nearly a full week off.

The Wahine can beat anyone in the field, are consistent with their rebounding and defense, and if they can find an offensive rhythm, and avoid large numbers of turnovers, they could wind up dancing.

If you are wondering why the men and women have different formats, with the men playing conventional 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5 with no byes (but a reseed after their first round), and the women have the top two with double byes and the next two getting a single bye, it’s because the men’s coaches wanted a big-time environment and could only get Anaheim’s Honda Center if they agreed to have the best teams play each night. “Our men made the concession, and the women decided to stick with the bye system,” says Big West conference commissioner Dennis Farrell,

If this were golf, they’d call it bifurcation.

* Injuries have contributed mightily to the most difficult start in UH baseball history. Losing ace lefty Jared Arakawa, Andrew Jones and Quinton Torres-Costa leaves the team perilously short of quality pitching depth. Add to that a number of players struggling at the plate, and it’s been the worst of all possible baseball worlds. With the Bows hitting a collective .226 with no home runs going into last week-end’s series with Gonzaga, it looks like this team will have to scratch and claw for every run this year, and find some pitchers who can step way up if the baseball Bows have hopes of turning it around. This team could use every bit of fan support, so bring the family to Les Murakami Stadium and enjoy an incredibly pleasant viewing environment.

* UH football fans have been anxiously awaiting the start of spring practice, and it will get under way March 20. If you are looking forward to see quarterback prospect Taylor Graham, the open practice policy will allow you to catch any of the spring workouts.

The spring schedule should benefit new staff members Chris Naeole and Aaron Price in getting familiar with current players before everybody heads to individual workouts this summer.