Monday, December 27, 1999
some luster to 36th
Wake Forest and Gonzaga have
been ranked in the top 25, and UH
is fresh off an upset of
Hawaii pulls out a thrillerBy Pat Bigold
The 36th Rainbow Classic, which gets under way on today at the Stan Sheriff Center, will feature two top-25 teams, two others receiving votes in the polls, and two teams picked to win their conferences.
Host Hawaii is just off its first genuine upset of the season, a 73-53 thrashing of previously unbeaten Creighton.
The Rainbows ruined the Bluejays' best start since 1963-64 and their chances of sneaking into the bottom of the polls.
Outrigger Hotels will be the title sponsor for a fifth year in a row, despite the tournament's lack of national or regional TV coverage.
Hawaii has been able to win the classic title only five times. The last time was 1997 when the Rainbows upset Kansas, 76-65.
Today's games: Colorado vs. Villanova, 5 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Bradley, 7:30 p.m.
36TH OUTRIGGER HOTELS
Tomorrow's games: Gonzaga vs. Ohio, 5 p.m.; Oregon vs. Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m.
TV: Live on KFVE
Radio: Live on KCCN
RealAudio: Click here
A look at the eight teams:
HAWAII (WAC)Head coach: Riley Wallace
Record at school: 190-174 (12 years)
Career record: 205-201 (14 years)
The Rainbows are on a three-game win streak after sweeping the Nike Festival by an average margin of more than 20 points.
They managed to improve in two significant areas last week: turnovers and free throws.
Turnovers were well below the season average of 20 for the three games and free throw percentage zoomed from 59 percent to 70 percent.
Hawaii (8-2) has the top field goal percentage shooter in the classic -- junior small forward Nerijus Puida, who is 13th in the nation at 66 percent (32 for 48).
Both Puida (6 for 12) and sophomore guard Mike McIntyre (15 for 30) are 50 percent 3-point shooters.
Team captain Marquette Alexander, a 6-foot-8 senior center who was MVP of the Nike Festival, leads Hawaii in scoring with 13.8 points a game and in rebounding at 8.1.
Puida is the team's top assist man, averaging 5.0 a game.
WAKE FOREST (ACC)Head coach: Dave Odom
Record at school: 206-108 (10 years)
Career record: 244-150 (13 years)
The Demon Deacons (7-1) are young but they return more than 93 percent of their scoring and rebounding.
They have six players shooting 50 percent or better from the field. The team is shooting 49 percent, second only to North Carolina in the ACC.
Wake Forest knocked off Temple (then at No. 9 in ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 in AP) on Dec. 4. But lost its next game to unranked Georgia.
The team's mainstay is 6-1 junior point guard Robert O'Kelley (13.9 ppg), the Demon Deacons' leading scorer in both his years on the team. He is the ACC's top returning scorer .
He is shooting 35 percent from 3-point range and averaging 2.7 assists per game.
Darius Songaila, 6-9 sophomore power forward from Lithuania, averages 11.5 points and is shooting 57 percent from the field.
GONZAGA (WCC)Head coach: Mark Few
Record at school: 7-3 (1st year)
Career record: 7-3
The Bulldogs, who lost in the NCAA Elite Eight to UConn last season after a 28-win campaign, have an experienced roster with seven lettermen and three starters returning.
Gonzaga fell to 7-3 when it lost Tuesday to California, 72-64, but 6-5 senior guard Richie Frahm tied his own school record by shooting 8-for-16 from outside the 3-point arc.
A big reason for the loss was 6-1 senior point guard Matt Santangelo's 1-for-13 shooting night and five turnovers on a 40-minute night.
Another problem was the seven-minute limited role of leading rebounder, 6-8 junior power forward Casey Calvary, who has been suffering from the flu.
The Bulldogs arrive in Honolulu with three players averaging in double figures.
Frahm leads the team with 14.9. Santangello, averages 12.1 points and 6.5 assists (19th in the nation) and is a smooth-shooter for the point position. He is third on the school's all-time scoring list.
Calvary is third in scoring average with 11.9 and he's also averaging better than six rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.
OHIO (Mid-American)Head coach: Larry Hunter
Record at school: 172-127 (10 years)
Career record: 477-203 (23 years)
The Bobcats come in 7-3 and have won three of their last four. Shaun Stonebrook is third in the nation in rebounding, averaging 11.9 per game. He is one of three returning starters.
Stonebrook is second on the team in scoring with 15.5 ppg and second in steals (2.1 per game).
Anthony Jones (11.3 ppg), a 6-4 junior transfer from Garden City (Kansas) Community College is one of nine players tied for 20th in the nation in steals, averaging 3.0.
Sanjay Adell, a 6-6 senior forward, leads the team in scoring with 19.9 ppg.
COLORADO (Big 12)Head coach: Ricardo Patton
Record at school: 63-49 (4 years)
Career record: 63-49 (4 years)
The Buffaloes, who have received a handful of votes in the polls, are 6-2 and arrive on a two-game win streak.
On Dec. 4, they pounded California, 80-62, a team that upset Gonzaga on Tuesday.
Jaquay Walls, a 6-3 senior point guard, leads the team in scoring with 14.8 a game and assists with 4.9 per game.
Colorado has two exciting young front court players. Richard Fox, a 6-10 freshman center, is second in scoring at 10.3 ppg and second in rebounding at 7.0 per game.
Cameroon native Stephane Pelle, a 6-8 freshman forward, leads the Buffaloes in rebounding with 8.1 caroms per game.
BRADLEY (MVC)Head coach: Jim Molinari
Record at school: 136-108 (8 years)
Career record: 178-125 (10 years)
The Braves (4-4), picked by most major publications to top the Missouri Valley Conference, come in on a two-game losing streak. They lost to Auburn on Dec. 16 and to Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday.
The dynamic backcourt duo of 6-1 senior guard Rob Dye (18.7 ppg) and 6-4 senior point guard Eric Roberson (10.2) lead the team in scoring.
Roberson bears the nickname "The Predator," because he has been named to the MVC's All-Defense team twice.
Dye is one of nine players tied for 20th in the nation in steals, averaging 3.0 per game.
The team's leading rebounders are Roberson (5.0) and 6-7 junior power forward Ed Cage (4.9).
OREGON (PAC-10)Head coach: Ernie Kent
Record at school: 38-28 (2 years)
Career record: 128-114 (8 years)
The Ducks are 6-1 and on a three-game win streak.
They were a NIT Final Four team last season and have three starters returning.
A.D. Smith, a 6-8 senior power forward, is second in scoring, averaging 13.6 points.
Darius Wright, 6-0 senior point guard, averages 12.6 points and 5.0 assists.
Alex Scales, 6-4 senior shooting guard, leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points per game.
Julius Hicks, 6-8 junior center, leads the Ducks off the glass with 5.0 rebounds per game.
VILLANOVA (Big East)Head coach: Steve Lappas
Record at school: 140-86 (7 years)
Career record: 196-148 (11 years)
The Wildcats are 4-2 and lost by only three points (69-66) to Temple on Dec. 15.
Brian Lynch, a 6-6 senior guard, leads Villanova in scoring (16.5 ppg) and averages 3.2 assists.
Malik Allen, a 6-10 senior forward, is second in scoring with 15.2 points a game, shooting 58 percent from the field, and averages 6.2 rebounds.
Bobby Smith (7.7 ppg), a 6-2 sophomore point guard, is the team's leading playmaker with 5.0 assists a game.
Brooks Sales, a 6-10 sophomore forward, leads the team in rebounding with 8.0 a game.
Ka Leo O Hawaii