Breaking down the 2018-19 nonconference

Eran Ganot takes his team to UCLA in his fourth season as UH coach. / Photo by Cindy Ellen-Russell, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 2015

It’s here. On the heels of UCLA announcing that UH will play at Pauley Pavilion this season, UH was compelled to release its entire 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule.

And, honestly, at this point there were only a couple of gaps to fill in. Well, those two remaining gaps (Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M) were pretty underwhelming. Then again, UCLA is UCLA, whether it’s home or away.

Without further ado, a game-by-game look at the 2018-19 nonconference slate.

Nov. 2: Hawaii Pacific Sharks, PacWest Conference (exhibition)
Last year: 15-13, 10-10 PWC
Last official meeting: Hawaii 83, Hawaii Pacific 71, Dec. 12, 2015, Stan Sheriff Center
Last unofficial meeting: Hawaii 90, Hawaii Pacific 70, Nov. 1, 2017, Stan Sheriff Center
Series: UH leads 2-1
Rumor had it the Sharks were in discussions with UH on a regular-season game, but the parties settled on being preseason partners, a mutually beneficial arrangement for two far-flung teams of different divisions.

Nov. 9: Portland Pilots, West Coast Conference
Last year: 10-22, 4-14 WCC
RPI: 285
Series: UH leads 12-8
Last meeting: Hawaii 76, Portland 64, March 15, 2011, Stan Sheriff Center
The Pilots and ‘Bows reconvene for the first time since their first-round CIT game in 2011. It’s been a tough first couple of years for coach Terry Porter. The Pilots will have two sons of Porter, Franklin and Malcolm, in this season opener for UH that’s the second game for Portland (they play a non-DI team at home before flying out to Honolulu). Also, ‘Iolani alumnus Hugh Hogland is a forward for the Pilots.

Nov. 10: Humboldt State Lumberjacks, California Collegiate Athletic Association
Last year: 9-19, 6-16 CCAA
Series: First meeting
Last meeting: N/A
Well … this Division II curiosity has been written about here and here, and it’s pretty fresh. Knock yourself out. Per Eran Ganot, this came about because a team was needed to fill in for another that exited the field.

Nov. 11: North Texas Mean Green, Conference USA
Last year: 20-18, 8-10 CUSA
RPI: 188
Series: UNT leads 3-1
Last meeting: Hawaii 108, North Texas 100, Dec. 21, 1990, Blaisdell Arena
The Mean Green! The defending CBI champions! UNT knocked off San Francisco in the best-of-three series to win the more prestigious of the two pay-for-play postseason tournaments, which explains how they got up to a whopping 38 games played last year. UH last encountered UNT in the “Pre-Holiday Tournament” with the likes of Troy Bowe, Ray Reed and Tim Shepherd. This might be the best home game until the Diamond Head Classic.

Nov. 18: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, Big Sky Conference
Last year: 5-27, 2-16 BSC
RPI: 309
Series: UH leads 2-0
Last meeting: Hawaii 76, NAU 66, Dec. 7, 2013, Stan Sheriff Center
More Lumberjacks! These guys are coming off what has to be one of the worst seasons in school history. As recently as 2015, the ‘Jacks won 23 games and made the finals of the CIT. Their history with UH is brief. Technically, both games UH played and beat NAU, as part of a BracketBusters home-and-home series over two seasons, were vacated from the Gib Arnold era. However, a game’s a game in my book. And this game will be the last at home for about 20 days.

Nov. 22: Utah Runnin’ Utes, Pac-12 Conference (Wooden Legacy)
Last year: 23-12, 11-7 P12
RPI: 40
Series: Utah leads 49-10
Last meeting: Utah 80, Hawaii 60, Dec. 2, 2017, John L. Huntsman Center
I’m not sure UH will be giving thanks on Thanksgiving for drawing Utah, even on ESPN2. As fate has it, these old WAC foes meet in nonconference play for the third straight year, and at a different site yet again. This will be the first uphill battle of the season. Wins against the Utes have been few and far between, to say the least, in essentially the longest-running and most lopsided series UH has. The ‘Bows got thumped by big man David Collette the last couple years, but he’s gone now.

Nov. 23: TBD (Wooden Legacy)
Possible opponents here are: Seton Hall Pirates, Big East Conference OR Grand Canyon Antelopes, Western Athletic Conference
This is UH’s first exempt tournament on the mainland since the Gulf Coast Showcase during Benjy Taylor’s coaching season of 2014-15. UH went 2-1 in that. Seton Hall is a recent foe; UH saw the Pirates in the Pearl Harbor Invitational, losing 68-57, and they put together another NCAA Tournament season last year. Grand Canyon, a former PacWest Division II program, just finished its four-year probationary transition period and posted a 22-win season. The Fighting Dan Majerles could be a potent opponent.

Nov. 25: TBD (Wooden Legacy)
Possible opponents here are: La Salle Explorers, Atlantic 10 Conference; Miami Hurricanes, Atlantic Coast Conference; Fresno State Bulldogs, Mountain West Conference; and Northwestern Wildcats, Big Ten Conference. La Salle would seem to be the weakest of the bunch.

Nov. 28: at UCLA Bruins, Pac-12 Conference
Last year: 21-12, 11-7 P12
RPI: 44
Series: UCLA leads 1-0
Last meeting: UCLA 84, Hawaii 64, Dec. 9, 2000, Pauley Pavilion
It’s surprising when you go into the record books and discover the Bruins and Rainbows have played a grand total of … one time? Even more surprising is that a storied, blue-blood program like UCLA was never part of the Rainbow Classic in its heyday. Well, UH will be getting a nice, fat payday out of this one thanks to Steve Alford; that should help underwrite those Gym 1 & 2 renovations. Maybe Cindy Luis’ alma mater will even think about stopping at the Stan Sheriff Center on the way to its next Maui Invitational.

Dec. 8: Hawaii Hilo Vulcans, PacWest Conference
Last year: 7-20, 6-14 PWC
Series: UH leads 9-0
Last meeting: Hawaii 82, UHH 64, Dec. 9, 2017, Stan Sheriff Center
This is the sixth straight year the ‘Bows and Vulcans meet in an official game (at least on UH’s side; UHH can count it as an exhibition), and the fifth time in six years UH is playing two Division II teams in the regular season. Grumble about that if you want, but don’t take it out on Hilo. This game, on its own, makes sense. Almost everybody plays one Division II team, and meanwhile it’s beneficial for Manoa’s little brother/sister school. The closest margin in the series was UH by 13 points in 2011.

Dec. 16: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, Southwestern Athletic Conference
Last year: 4-28, 4-14 SWAC
RPI: 349
Series: UH leads 3-0
Last meeting: Hawaii 77, MVSU 48, Dec. 29, 2015, Stan Sheriff Center
Hoo boy. Well, you’re pretty safe in chalking this one up as a win. MVSU played a whopping 22 road games last year, going 1-21. UH has never lost to a SWAC school. As a final tune-up going into the Diamond Head Classic close to or during finals week, this one should serve its purpose.

Dec. 22: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, Mountain West Conference (Diamond Head Classic)
Last year: 20-13, 8-10 MWC
RPI: 132
Series: UNLV leads 23-9
Last meeting: UNLV 77, Hawaii 63, Dec. 1, 2012, Thomas & Mack Center
A challenging one in the first round of the DHC, no doubt about it. The Rebels have yet to really gain their footing under Marvin Menzies but had a couple of moments last year. UNLV owns a five-game winning streak in the series; UH’s last win was in December of 2005. Because of the Hawaii Bowl’s move to the 22nd, this ESPNU-televised game is being played at noon, so as to theoretically allow Hawaii fans to get over to Aloha Stadium afterward for a UH appearance in the bowl game.

Dec. 23: TBD (Diamond Head Classic)
Possible opponents here are: Indiana State Sycamores, Missouri Valley Conference, OR Colorado Buffaloes, Pac-12 Conference
Won’t be an easy draw either way on Day 2. While neither of these teams had lights-out seasons last year, you can expect them to pose a pretty stiff challenge.

Dec. 25: TBD (Diamond Head Classic)
Possible opponents here are: Rhode Island Rams, Atlantic 10 Conference; OR Bucknell Bison, Patriot League; OR Charlotte 49ers, Conference USA; OR TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12 Conference.
Charlotte had a dreadful season last year at 6-23. Otherwise, this group is quite imposing. The other three went to the Tournament.

Dec. 29: Alabama A&M Bulldogs, Southwestern Athletic Conference
Last year: 3-28, 3-15 SWAC
RPI: 350
Series: First meeting
Last meeting: N/A
Yikes. Only one team in the country, Delaware State, had a lower RPI last season. This is a guaranteed win heading into conference play.


  1. Hoosier August 15, 2018 6:28 pm

    Yes or no, would I go to the following –
    Humboldt. No
    Portland. No
    North Texas. No
    Northern Arizona Yes ( only because I will have visitors from mainland who like bb)
    Hilo. No
    Mississippi Valley. No
    Alabama A&M. No

    Frustrating part is I am already season ticket holder. With home schedules like this it makes more sense to buy Diamond Head Classic package and single games versus contenders in conference. I have to believe that this schedule will result in a lot fewer bits in the seats this year. Too bad

  2. Superstar Advertiser August 16, 2018 8:27 am

    Well, there’s one fan out of the 10,000 that are needed to fill the arena. While we’re giving individual opinions, here’s mine:

    I probably wouldn’t go to a game this year if it was UCLA coming to Hawaii. I didn’t go to a game last year, and I didn’t go to a game the year before that, and before that…

    I get nothing out of going to a basketball game, it’s not worth the effort, I have other things I can do and would rather do, and nowadays with technology they are all available 24/7. I like checking Twitter for news and Black Twitter. I like playing video games, with a vast Steam library. As for times when I want to get away from technology, I like travelling to new countries.
    And of course in Hawaii we have the beach which is still free. Going to the Stan Sheriff Center was fun for a few times, but I don’t know how people do it all year, knowing they are going to deal with the 6 o’clock traffic.

    I used to like the garlic fries, but they’re old now. Last time I went I just got saimin. Heated up in a microwave. I can do that myself at home lol. Seriously, get some food attractions. Make the arena a place people would want to go if there was NO GAME that night.

    Complaining about the schedule, means nothing to me. Maybe 30 years ago people cared about what team was in town, but technology has changed. Sounds like the sports people haven’t changed with the times.

  3. Savich August 16, 2018 11:04 am

    They aren’t that good of a team. Last visit to the playoffs, 4 years ago. And 1972 fab 5. Dwight Holiday, Al Davis, Jerome Freeman, John Pennebacker, Bob Nash.

  4. UH fam August 16, 2018 2:16 pm

    Season ticket holder and I go to every game i can make. I like supporting UH sports and enjoy the way Ganot coaches and how he develops players, like Stepteau and some of the bigs. You can see the difference week to week and game to game, not always positive, but you can see the team come together.

    #2 save your comment for Tinder or a mail-order bride.

  5. Hoosier August 17, 2018 2:08 pm

    #4 lol. Hope they can get one decent home game outside of DHC next year. Also hope team puts a lot of shots up every day to get that 3 pt percentage up. Seemed they were awful from beyond the arc down under. Good experience overall that they can use to get leg up on the upcoming season

  6. cappie the dog August 18, 2018 4:33 pm

    College of Science upset Drexel at the buzzer a couple of years ago.

    Take your opponent seriously.

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