Well, no Mamadou Ndiaye tonight.
The 7-foot-6 UC Irvine center is still wearing a boot on his injured left foot, and will miss his third straight game for the preseason-favorite Anteaters (10-8, 3-1). Some people might be excited by that news for Hawaii (14-6, 2-2), while others could be disappointed not to see the tallest player in college basketball operate in person. I’m among the latter — there’s nothing quite like watching him operate.
UH is going with its same starting lineup from the UC Davis win — Roderick Bobbitt, Garrett Nevels, Aaron Valdes, Stefan Jankovic and Stefan Jovanovic. Coach Benjy Taylor will seek energy and scoring from Negus Webster-Chan, Mike Thomas and Isaac Fleming off the bench.
Irvine has typically been a very strong rebounding team, and has plenty of size to throw around even without Ndiaye. That’s been a weakness for UH so far in Big West play — the Rainbow Warriors have yet to outrebound a league opponent. Taylor could be trying to change that by sticking with Jankovic and Jovanovic in the starting five.
UCI only committed seven turnovers in its last outing, a 31-point rout of CSUN. UH will seek to at least double that against a solid backcourt of Luke Nelson and Alex Young.
Brandon Jawato is still out for Hawaii with back spasms. All others in the rotation are healthy enough to play.