Gameday: UC Irvine

The Big West regular-season title won’t be decided tonight, but the inside track for it is definitely up for grabs.

Hawaii (18-3, 7-1 BWC) is a 5.5-point favorite over UC Irvine (18-6, 7-1). The Rainbow Warriors haven’t had a conference regular-season game with this much hype and this much on the line in quite some time.

It sounds like it might come a little short of a second straight sellout for this “Blackout” contest. Per UH, there were about 1,000 tickets remaining for the 8 p.m. game as of 6:20.

The Anteaters haven’t played especially well of late, getting blasted at home by UC Santa Barbara and eking out an overtime win at Cal Poly.

UH, meanwhile, responded from its lopsided home loss to Long Beach State by posting double-digit wins on the road at UCSB and CP.

Guard Isaac Fleming (right ankle sprain) could be a game-time decision. He wasn’t in on contact drills the last couple of days and voiced doubts that he’d play today after Wednesday’s practice.

UPDATE: Fleming will not dress to play tonight and will miss his third straight game.

The Rainbows will likely look to speed up the Anteaters past their comfort level, and wear out 7-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye, who is still the tallest player in college hoops (tied for the honor with a Central Florida big man).

It’ll be a war on two fronts, with UH’s Stefans, Jankovic and Jovanovic, bodying up Ndiaye, while the disruptive UH backcourt of Roderick Bobbitt and Quincy Smith tangle with the championship-caliber tandem of Luke Nelson and Alex Young.

UCI prefers a defensive grind of a game, and while UH has been generally sound on D this season, its versatility on offense is what might allow it to be successful tonight.


  1. z February 12, 2016 3:58 pm

    Really like how Jovanovic has been playing this season. Last night he came up big.

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