Gameday: UC Santa Barbara

UCSB's Michael Bryson and UH's Aaron Valdes swapped stories pregame.
UCSB’s Michael Bryson and UH’s Aaron Valdes swapped stories pregame.

Time to find out if Hawaii will hang around in the upper tier of the Big West Conference this season.

The Rainbow Warriors (12-2, 1-0 BWC) can keep pace with the likes of Long Beach State and UC Irvine if they can defeat UC Santa Barbara at the Stan Sheriff Center for the first time in three seasons.

UH is an 8.5-point favorite over UCSB (6-7, 0-0), which is road tested and comes in on a four-game winning streak. The Gauchos played one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country.

As I wrote in today’s paper, the matchup to watch is UH’s Aaron Valdes and UCSB’s Michael Bryson. Bryson (19.8) comes in as the leading scorer in the league by a margin of nearly three points per game.

Valdes has also played well of late.

UH will probably rotate a few defenders on Bryson, but they also have to be mindful of guard Gabe Vincent. Those two combined for 47 points here last year.


Word is the “Hawaii 5-O” gang has some more tricks up their sleeves tonight. Keep an eye on the end of the UH bench.