Of course Hawaii is doing a Greenout on Black Friday.
That’s a very Hawaii-esque thing to do. You know what else is? Beating Nevada at home. UH did that with regularity until its last few years in the WAC, when the Wolf Pack went on a 10-game overall streak against the ‘Bows. As it is, UH leads the series in Honolulu 11-5.
If UH (3-0) is to remain unbeaten after tonight, it’ll take quite some doing against Nevada (5-0). The Wolf Pack are favored by 12.
Nevada is stacked under third-year coach Eric Musselman, whose team won the CBI in his first year, then the Mountain West for an NCAA Tournament berth his second season. The Pack no longer have Cameron Oliver, who declared for the NBA after his sophomore season, but Reno is loaded with talented Division I transfers this year.
The Martin twins, Caleb and Cody, went from the N.C. State Wolfpack to the Nevada Wolf Pack, and contribute upwards of 15 points a game — each. Then there’s Jordan Caroline, double-double type. All are 6-7, lending the Pack some deadly interchangeability. Point guard Lindsey Drew (27 assists, three turnovers) has been an excellent table-setter.
UH will need to limit the Pack’s 3-point shooting, but good luck with that. They’ve got it done from a number of players and made 50 percent on a bunch of attempts in their last two games.
A return to shooting form for UH would help their chances tonight. The ‘Bows have made just 25 percent of their 3s, and the guy you’d think would be leading the way in that department, Jack Purchase, is at just 26.7 percent (4-for-15).
The ‘Bows haven’t played since besting Troy in overtime on Nov. 13. Busting opponents’ fullcourt pressure was an emphasis in the interim; we might find out if they’ve made strides tonight.
Nevada leads the series 20-12 overall, but UH got the better of the Pack in the last meeting three games into the 2015-16 season. Roderick Bobbitt countered a huge game by his pack counterpart, Marqueze Coleman, by going the length of the floor and banking a shot high off the glass at high speed for a 76-75 victory in the College Hoops Tip-off Marathon.
In case you missed it, I just reported that reserve point guard Jaaron Stallworth is leaving the program and will likely transfer out at semester break. You can read more about that here.
On Thanksgiving, it was announced that UH will participate in the 2018 Wooden Legacy tournament in Southern California. This is a good move for UH, which has been criticized for soft schedules in Eran Ganot’s first couple of seasons.
There’s nothing soft about the Wooden field: Fresno State (Mountain West), La Salle (Atlantic 10), Miami (Atlantic Coast), Northwestern (Big Ten), Seton Hall (Big East), and Utah (Pac-12).
UH will have three early season tournaments next year: the season-opening Rainbow Classic, the Thanksgiving-week Wooden Legacy, and the Christmas-week Diamond Head Classic.
Mainland nonconference tournaments have been relatively rare for UH; Benjy Taylor took UH to the Gulf Coast Showcase in 2014-15, and that was the first one of those UH did in quite some time. UH backed out of the Las Vegas Invitational, which would’ve been played in Ganot’s first season.
Cal State Fullerton has played host to the Wooden Legacy games since the tournament became what it is in 2013, a merger between the John R. Wooden Classic and the Anaheim Classic.