The EA Sports Maui Invitational won’t be the only college basketball the Valley Isle hosts next season.
UH 2010-11 MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Hawaii will meet Chicago State at the Lahaina Civic Center on Dec. 17 in the Rainbow Warriors’ first neighbor island game in seven years.
UH, which released its 2010-11 schedule yesterday, plays 17 games at the Stan Sheriff Center in Gib Arnold’s first year as head coach. A fair number, but still not as many as the last two seasons, when UH played 20 and 21 home games under Bob Nash.
The season opener is Nov. 12 vs. Montana State in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.
Another intriguing contest also takes place off Oahu. The Rainbows meet BYU not in Provo, Utah, but in Salt Lake City at the Utah Jazz’s EnergySolutions Arena on Dec. 4. There’s a personal touch, too -Arnold’s father, former UH coach Frank Arnold, coached the Cougars, and Gib earned his bachelor’s degree there.
UH will make it part of a two-game "return game" road trip with opponents the Rainbow Warriors hosted last year. The ‘Bows play Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Dec. 1 in an ESPN BracketBusters return game.
The start of Western Athletic Conference play will test UH; the Rainbows have four of their first six league games on the road, with the WAC opener at perennial contender Utah State on Dec. 29, followed by Nevada on Dec. 31.
The cream of the schedule is stuffed in the second Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, with four teams that made the postseason last year – including national runner-up Butler. Pairings haven’t been announced, but UH will play three teams Dec. 22, 23 and 25 in the pool of Butler, Baylor, Mississippi State, Florida State, Utah, San Diego and Washington State.
Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 13) and Central Michigan (Nov. 15) are UH’s other opponents in the second year of the round-robin format of the Rainbow Classic to kick off the season.
Something else that can be considered pretty much annual at this point – Chicago State is making its third trip to the islands in as many years – has an interesting twist this time. After taking losses at UH each of the past two seasons, former CSU coach Benjy Taylor is on the local side this time. The Cougars let him go after last season and he was hired as an assistant by Arnold.
And, of course, there’s the Maui aspect. UH last played there in the 2003 Maui Invitational.
"I’m pleased we’ll be bringing our men’s basketball team to Maui, especially in light of the canceled men’s volleyball game due to the tsunami," UH athletic director Jim Donovan said in a release. "It’ll be a good opportunity for our team and certainly something special for our Maui fans. I’d like to thank Mayor Charmaine Tavares’ office, as well as Sen. Shan Tsutsui and Rep. Kyle Yamashita for their assistance in making this game possible."
UH will be on the road for next season’s BracketBusters contest on Feb. 19.
Stand-alone nonconference home games include Central Arkansas (Nov. 19) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 24). UH will likely play a to-be-announced local Division II opponent on either Dec. 8 or 11.
UH plays an exhibition against an opponent to be announced on Nov. 6. No game times have been announced.