Well, how about that. The Hawaii men’s basketball team was dealt a measure of disrespect — how I’m sure it will come off to the Rainbow Warriors — from the media Thursday with UH’s projected finish of sixth place in the Big West Conference preseason poll.
It’s true that UH has several reasons for optimism this year, but, as the poll showed, so do about six other teams in the nine-team league. Many have their top player back from last season. Five of the six All-BWC first-team players from last season, including UH’s Christian Standhardinger, made the preseason all-conference team.
Though Irvine got the top spot after a breakthrough (21-win) year for Russell Turner’s team, it was far from unanimous. Five different teams received first-place votes, though UH was not one of them. Nine of 24 people went for UCI, while six (including myself) went for UC Santa Barbara. Three-time defending regular-season champ Long Beach State got five votes despite losing most of its production from last season. Cal Poly seems to get the most out of its talent and got three votes, and Cal State Northridge, with new coach Reggie Theus and most of its scoring back, got a vote, even though it finished behind UH.
UH might simply have to prove it can consistently win on the road before people take the ‘Bows seriously.
Here’s the results. First-place votes in parentheses.
1. UC Irvine (9) 183 2. UC Santa Barbara (6) 167 3. Cal Poly (3) 165 4. Long Beach State (5) 164 5. UC Davis 114 6. Hawaii 110 7. Cal State Northridge (1) 89 8. Cal State Fullerton 57 9. UC Riverside 31.
The preseason Big West team (there’s only a first team)
Mike Caffey, Jr. G, Long Beach State; Will Davis II, Jr. F, UC Irvine; Chris Eversley, Sr. F, Cal Poly; Corey Hawkins, Jr. G, UC Davis; Christian Standhardinger, Sr. F, Hawaii; Alan Williams, Jr. C, UC Santa Barbara.
My ballot was as follows:
1. UC Santa Barbara. 2. UC Irvine. 3. Long Beach State. 4. Hawaii. 5. Cal Poly. 6. UC Davis. 7. Cal State Northridge. 8. Cal State Fullerton. 9. UC Riverside.
Preseason team: Alan Williams, UCSB; Corey Hawkins, UCD; Chris Eversley, CP; Mike Caffey, LBSU; Christian Standhardinger, UH; Stephan Hicks, CSUN.
On Wednesday, the Rainbow Wahine basketball team got a loftier projection. Laura Beeman’s team was picked second, only behind defending BWC tournament champion Cal Poly.
(It’s likely UH would have been picked third if the defending regular-season champ, Pacific, hadn’t bolted for the West Coast Conference.)
Here was the BWC preseason poll from 20 media members:
1. Cal Poly (17) 177. 2. Hawaii (3) 159. 3. Cal State Northridge 121. 4. Long Beach State 120. 5. UC Santa Barbara 100. 6. UC Davis 72. 7. Cal State Fullerton 59. 8. UC Irvine 54. 9. UC Riverside 38.
The preseason all-conference team:
Brittany Crain, So. G, UC Riverside; Sydnee Fipps, Jr. F, UC Davis; Ashlee Guay, Jr. G, Cal State Northridge; Kamilah Jackson, Sr. F, Hawaii; Alex Sanchez, Jr. G, Long Beach State; Molly Schlemer, Sr. C, Cal Poly.
And here was how I voted:
1. Cal Poly. 2. Hawaii. 3. Long Beach State. 4. Cal State Northridge. 5. UC Santa Barbara. 6. UC Davis. 7. Cal State Fullerton. 8. UC Irvine. 9 UC Riverside.
My all-conference team was:
Molly Schlemer, Cal Poly; Kamilah Jackson, UH; Ashlee Guay, CSUN; Alex Sanchez, LBSU; Sydnee Fipps, UCD; Shawna Kuehu, UH.