There’s a rare Monday night game for the Hawaii men’s basketball team tonight to kick off a relatively light week of action — especially as home events go — in this edition of the Rainbow Forecast.
The No. 18 Rainbow Wahine volleyball team (22-3, 12-2 Big West) is off from games this week after winning at UC Davis and UC Riverside in convincing fashion. UH enjoys a half-game lead over Cal Poly (11-2), but also owns the tiebreaker with two games to play.
So the spotlight is on UH football — a 42-40 winner over San Jose State last week — and its surprise turn to Chevan Cordeiro at starting quarterback. You’d expect Cordeiro to get the nod again in the desert this weekend, given how well he played against the Spartans, but will Cole McDonald show something in practice to regain the nod from Nick Rolovich? If UH (6-4, 3-3) wins at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium, it will have attained Hawaii Bowl eligibility.
Also sharing the limelight are the UH men’s and women’s hoops teams. The Rainbow Warriors host former Big West foe Pacific tonight to wrap up the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic, with UH (1-1) looking to respond from its close loss Sunday against South Dakota. Meanwhile, the Wahine (1-0) make a two-game West Coast (Conference) swing to Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
Also, the Wahine cross country team takes part in the NCAA West Regional.
Men’s basketball: Pacific (2-1) at Hawaii (1-1), 7 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
This game could be telling for how the ‘Bows will fare in the remainder of nonconference play. Damon Stoudemire’s Tigers feature a number of athletes (guard Justin Moore leads with 13.0 ppg on 52 percent shooting), but UH, between Samuta Avea, Justin Hemsley and Bernardo da Silva, can play its most athletic lineup since Year 1 of the Eran Ganot era to potentially counter. Speaking of Ganot, there’s still no telling when he will return from his medical leave of absence. Chris Gerlufsen has been a capable leader in the meantime, though. UH and Pacific haven’t met since the Tigers left the Big West for the West Coast Conference following winning the BWC tournament in 2012-13. UH and UOP split their meetings home-and-home that year with the series tied 5-5 all-time, although UH vacated the win from 2013.
Women’s basketball: Hawaii (1-0) at Loyola Marymount (0-1), 5 p.m.
The Wahine are in Laura Beeman’s old stomping grounds of Los Angeles this week. UH opens its two-game trip by taking on the Lions, who were picked to finish sixth (along with Friday’s foe Pepperdine) in the West Coast Conference. The Wahine rightly felt good about themselves after closing out last Tuesday’s opener in successful fashion against San Diego State at home, 61-58. But how will they fare on the road for the first time? LMU has played only one official game as well, a 74-52 loss at UCLA.
Men’s basketball: Portland State (1-1) at Hawaii, 7 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
The Vikings of the Big Sky Conference don’t have a win over a Division I team yet, but they sure hung tough at Indiana for an 11-point loss over the weekend. Former UH signee Bryce Canda is no longer with PSU (he completed his eligibility a couple years ago), but the Vikings are led by a high-scoring tandem of Holland Woods (19.5 ppg) and Matt Hauser (17.0). The Vikings were picked to finish sixth in the Big Sky. UH leads this all-time series 5-1, but the teams haven’t met since (gasp) 1979.
Women’s basketball: Hawaii at Pepperdine (1-1), 5 p.m.
The Waves, 22-12 a year ago, were also picked sixth in the WCC. These are two potentially winnable road games for the Wahine if they play well, and get, say, another double-double from either Lauren Rewers and Amy Atwell. The Waves have a 37-point loss at Washington State and a 10-point win over Cal Poly of the Big West. Malia Bambrick leads Pepperdine with 14.5 points per game thus far.
Cross country: NCAA West Regional, all day
The Wahine runners head to Colfax, Wash., coming off their eighth-place showing at the Big West championships at Riverside a couple weeks ago. UH finished 35th of 36th teams at this season-capping event last year.
Football: Hawaii (6-4, 3-3 Mountain West) at UNLV (2-7, 0-5), 11 a.m. (Spectrum PPV, KKEA 1420-AM)
Amazingly, UH is still in the hunt for the MWC West Division title a week removed from its disastrous 41-38 home loss to Fresno State. That’s because the Bulldogs (2-3 MWC) turned around and lost at home to Utah State (on a walk-off field goal, no less), and San Diego State (4-2 MWC) lost at home to Nevada. But that’s all moot, for real this time, if UH can’t find a way to win at the Ninth Island, a place that’s always been challenging for the Warriors, even given how bad the Rebels are in football most of the time. UH is 5-9 in Vegas all-time, and has lost the last five in a row at Sam Boyd Stadium by margins of 8 (2017), 20 (2015), 2 (2013), 20 (2011), and 1 (2009). The Rebels are coming off a bye, but UH, which saw Cordeiro win Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, is favored by nearly a touchdown. UNLV has lost three straight MWC games since its stunning 34-10 win at Vanderbilt. Will the UH defense come together to keep a MWC title drive alive at least one more week? UH beat UNLV at home last year, 35-28, thanks to some fourth-quarter Cordeiro heroics to claim the inaugural Ninth Island Trophy.