For the first time in what feels like a while, it’s a light week in the Forecast.
However, it’s a heavy week for the Hawaii women’s volleyball team, which earned its first regional berth since 2015 by dropping only a single set across two NCAA home matches with Northern Colorado and San Diego over the weekend.
The reward for the 12th-seeded Rainbow Wahine? A trip to Madison, Wisc., and a matchup with fifth-seeded Nebraska on Friday.
So far, the only seeded teams to be knocked out are: No. 6 Pittsburgh (by Cincinnati); 14 BYU (by Utah); and 15 Western Kentucky (by Louisville).
As for the UH football team, it has officially been slotted into the Dec. 24 SoFi Hawaii Bowl against BYU coming off its 31-10 loss to Boise State in the Mountain West championship game. There was a little more news on the football front Monday, as running back Fred Holly III announced his decision to transfer out of the program.
The UH basketball teams both return from the mainland to collaborate on a Sunday doubleheader. The Rainbow Wahine are feeling good coming off their stunning win at Washington, while the Rainbow Warriors look to regroup after the bottom fell out in the second half at then-No. 13 Oregon.
Women’s volleyball: No. 12 Hawaii (26-3) vs. No. 5 Nebraska (27-4), 11:30 a.m. (ESPN3, KKEA 1420-AM)
The Wahine proved their seed justified at home in defeating two mid-major conference champions to open the NCAA tournament. Now they must hang with the big dogs on the road. The Cornhuskers, the only school to outdraw UH in the subregionals, got to Madison by beating Ball State in three and Missouri in four. Incidentally, the last time the ‘Huskers lost was in Madison, five matches ago to Wisconsin (a possible UH opponent Saturday should the Wahine advance). It will be a challenge; Nebraska has hit .272 on the season to opponents’ .150. However, UH was bolstered by the return of hitter Jolie Rasmussen. She put down a combined eight kills in relief in the two matches.
Women’s volleyball: TBD, 1 p.m. (ESPNU, KKEA 1420-AM)
If Hawaii beats Nebraska, it will face the winner of No. 4 Wisconsin (the regional host) and No. 13 Texas A&M.
Women’s basketball: Hope International (9-2) at Hawaii (5-5), 1 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
The NAIA Royals got off to a 9-0 start before suffering two straight losses in the month of December, including to No. 24 (NAIA) Menlo College on Saturday. The Wahine pulled off something special in their 62-50 win at Washington, their first ever at Alaska Airlines Arena. Combined with their home win over Texas, UH has defeated multiple power conference teams for the first time since 2013. After this, only a pair of games (at Idaho, Dec. 21, vs. Penn, Dec. 31) remain before conference play.
Men’s basketball: Samford (6-5) at Hawaii (6-3), 3:30 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
The Bulldogs of the Southern Conference (location: Birmingham, Ala.) can score it a little bit, having gone over the century mark twice this season, including in a win at Houston Baptist in their last game Saturday. UH will look to recover from a disappointing second half at Eugene, Ore., that saw them get outscored by 25 after going up-and-up with UO for the first 20 minutes. Shooting guard Eddie Stansberry remains second among Big West scorers at 19.4 points per game after notching his sixth 20-point game of the season (24) at Matt Knight Court. Samford, which is 1-5 on the road this season, is led by 5-foot-10 point guard Josh Sharkey and his 16.3 ppg. This is UH’s last game before the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.