When Hawaii released its full 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule today, there were only a few (four, to be exact) games that hadn’t been announced or reported anywhere.
Well, if you were holding out hope that those well-kept secrets were a Power Five juggernaut … sorry. Not this year.
Behind Door No. 1 … Adams State. The Grizzlies, who you may not have heard of, are a Division II team from Colorado and were already going to be in town to play one of the local D-II teams. This will be the first time UH plays them in an official game. Probably any game, for that matter.
Door No. 2 … Hawaii Hilo. This one is no surprise, and was frankly just a matter of what date the Bows and Vulcans would hammer out. It is the sixth time in seven years (and fifth straight) UH has tapped its sister school for a regular-season game.
Door No. 3 … Utah Valley. The Wolverines of the modern-day WAC have never played the Bows, so they’ve got that going for them as a fresh face, at least. They were a passable team last season at 17-17, RPI of 180. But they shan’t move the meter when it comes to interest.
Door No. 4 … Howard. The Bison of the MEAC were one of the worst Division I teams last year, going 10-24 and sporting an RPI of 339. When they rolled into the Stan Sheriff two seasons ago, they had the leading scorer in the country in James Daniel III and UH still beat them by 35.
You can scope the full schedule and a basic summary here.
Frankly, it’s not great to see a reversion to two Division II opponents (Adams State, who?) after that was cut back to one last season. UH coach Eran Ganot said in an interview today he approaches that on a year-to-year basis.
Ganot also said he is optimistic he can get schedules out sooner in the offseason with more compelling matchups in seasons to come. It sounds like this will be the last of Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s appearances for the foreseeable future.
Your biggest games at home this year will be Nevada (Nov. 24) and Miami (Dec. 22), and possibly another game or two in the Diamond Head Classic. Thankfully, UH is also going back on the road for the single nonconference game at Utah (Dec. 2).
It’s also possible that North Dakota and Troy will provide a reasonable test in the Rainbow Classic, despite a lack of name cachet.
No word yet if the final game of the Rainbow (Troy) will be an ESPN College Hoops Tip-off Marathon game.
Asked if this schedule provided the ideal level of challenge, Ganot said: “Yeah … we’ve got two NCAA Tournament teams in the Rainbow, I don’t know when the last time that’s happened. The Diamond Head Classic field will have at least two top-25 teams. A lot of people talk about USC as a top-10 team and Miami as a top-25 team. Davidson won 17 games and they’ve been an NCAA team, primarily. Everybody else has won 20 or more games. Middle Tennessee won 31 and Akron won 27. It’s a really competitive field. And then you talk about the road trip to Utah, all that before conference play starts. I think we took a step this year.”
As for the Big West, it’s about the usual. UH starts and ends on the road — it is the fourth straight year they end the regular season on the mainland — so they’ll be able to hop straight to the Big West tournament again. There’s one four-game homestand in between.
Long Beach State, with a heavily rebuilt roster, will be a stiff first test on the road Jan. 4. That, of course, is the only place the Bows haven’t won as a league member. And LBSU dealt UH two straight losses to end 2017.
What do you think? Will you put your money down for this schedule? Feel free to comment below.