Hawaii very well might lose to second-seeded New Mexico State on Friday, and have its season come to a close at 16-16.
Even if that happens — though a berth in the pay-for-play CIT can’t be ruled out, even with a would-be .500 record — the Rainbow Warriors will leave Las Vegas with a measure of pride.
Another win, well, and you’re getting into the stuff of UH lore. A final WAC hurrah, if you will. The game starts at 4 p.m. (Hawaii time) and will be televised on KFVE to go along with the usual feed on KKEA, 1420-AM.
That’s what Thursday’s 72-70 quarterfinal win, minus Zane Johnson, accomplished for the ‘Bows. And now, with another upstart effort, UH can taste its first WAC final in a decade. Which is amazing to say, given all that transpired over the last month.
NMSU and top-seeded Nevada certainly looked beatable in the first round; both got sucked into grind-it-out games against Fresno State and San Jose State. And UH can be better than either of those lower-seeded teams.
If UH can keep Wendell McKines in check, like it did at the Stan Sheriff Center, and not allow freshman guard Daniel Mullings to go for another triple-double (as he did in the 42-point blowout loss at Las Cruces), UH has a puncher’s chance.
Will also be interesting to see if more transplanted UH fans show up for the semis. There were about 400 in house for the first round.
It was strange to interview Dana Takahara-Dias as the UH women’s coach for the last times on Wednesday.
From a media standpoint, she was always accessible and was almost always ready with a quote — that was always appreciated. Even if the given subject matter wasn’t positive for her or her team.
Unfortunately for her, that was more often than not the case. That’s why UH athletic director Jim Donovan felt he had to make a move, and not waste any time doing it after Wednesday’s season-ending loss to Louisiana Tech.
Now somebody else gets a chance to restore the program to the success it enjoyed under Vince Goo.
I will provide updates on the state of Wahine affairs — the coaching search, etc. — once I return from the WAC tournament.