Riley Wallace says, "I don’t want to bachi them (the Rainbow Warriors basketball team), but …
"If they don’t win the Western Athletic Conference tournament, we’ll be there for them."
Wallace is the chairman of the selection committee for the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament, an independent three-year-old event. Should the Rainbow Warriors win the WAC tournament, they would qualify for the NCAA Tournament. If not, getting a berth in the CIT would end a six-year postseason drought for UH.
Hawaii opens the single-elimination WAC tournament today against San Jose State in Las Vegas.
CIT selections will be announced Sunday with play beginning Tuesday.
Wallace was UH’s head coach in 2003-04, when the ‘Bows played in their last postseason tournament, the National Invitation Tournament.
The CIT requires a $31,500 fee of the host team to cover the visitors’ travel and tournament expenses. Indications are UH would pay something beyond that because of its geography.
"I don’t really want to get into the financial details right now, but we would pay the minimum to get into the tournament and we’re discussing hosting," UH athletic director Jim Donovan said. "I’ll just leave it at that."
Wallace said, "We want every team that we’ve talked to to get in the NIT or NCAA, that’s our goal. Joe (Dwyer, the CIT owner) and I tell everybody that up front. But if they don’t, we’re here for them. A lot of teams want to keep playing and we give them that chance. That’s what we’re here for."
Dwyer said the CIT especially likes to showcase teams on the rise that haven’t been in the postseason for a while.
"That’s a story line we like and UH is that kind of a team," Wallace said.
Wallace said Dwyer "understands Hawaii’s situation and when I told him I thought we should do what we could to help, he said, ‘It is your call, do what you want to do.’ "
Wallace said he was impressed with how first-year coach Gib Arnold has brought the Rainbow Warriors around.
"As of right now I can put them in because of their record," Wallace said. "He (Arnold) has done a good job with them; an excellent job of keeping that team together after they lost some people and went through those injuries and putting in his system."
In the CIT, Wallace said UH would host a team from the West Coast, most likely the West Coast Conference, not the Pac-10.