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Further Review | Sports

Hawaii’s chances of visiting Las Vegas getting slimmer

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People keep asking me this: They want to know if they should plan to go to the WAC tournament in Las Vegas in a couple of months.

After last night, my answer remains the same, to go for it. Las Vegas is a fun city and there’s lots to do — even if your favorite basketball team isn’t there for you to watch.

Don’t be surprised if the Rainbow Warriors don’t make it to the postseason … again. But they’ve still got a chance, because it’s early and there are some other struggling teams.

The top eight teams in the nine-team WAC go to the tournament. The 79-55 loss to Boise State last night puts UH at 0-4 in the conference, tied for dead last with San Jose State.

UH started out at 9-3 before league play. But remember, a lot of those wins were against weathervane schools with vertically challenged lineups. Utah was an exception with its pair of 7-footers, but the Utes were just bad. And Hawaii caught Mississippi State at the perfect time, the game after two front-liners were sent home for fighting.

Still, that kind of preleague record and a gritty effort at Utah State gave reason for optimism. But after another second-half collapse at home, the second in three nights, who can blame anyone for falling off the bandwagon?

THOSE FANS (the kind you wave to create a breeze) given to the fans (the kind who pay good money to watch college basketball) last night at the Sheriff Center came in handy for some.

Seems you turn it upside down, and it looks like a hand sticking middle finger. The target of the inverted fan was as much the officials as the UH coaches and players … especially when Bill Amis was called for his third foul during a loose-ball scramble late in the first half, and later when Vander Joaquim was tagged twice for swinging his elbows (that’s three intentional fouls in two games for him).

But the Broncos shot just one more free throw than the Rainbows.

As in the loss to Idaho on Thursday, the visitors’ deeper bench helped do in UH. Subs Thomas Bropleh and Westly Perryman combined for 24 points. Coincidentally or not, that’s how many BSU won by.

MAYBE THIS wasn’t the right game to take Joston Thomas out of the rotation. Sure, he hadn’t performed well lately. But when he finally got some serious PT in the second half he scored 10 points.

When shooting 34 percent from the field is an improvement from your last game, that’s bad. It’s especially bad for a team playing at home, and one that depends on its shooting as much as Hawaii.

After Thursday, we feared this was going to be like last year’s team, getting outhustled on a regular basis. This group, however, is young and they’ve got some fight in them. I still think Gib Arnold is a good coach.

But if you depend on the Rainbows as your only source of entertainment in Las Vegas in March, don’t book that flight yet.

Reach Star-Advertiser sports columnist Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com, his "Quick Reads" blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.

 

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