'Bows 'Bracket Bust' with Broncos
Hawaii's Big Monday appearance against Utah State last night will be the Rainbow Warriors' only national television appearance of the regular season.
The 13 matchups comprising ESPN's Bracket Buster lineup for the weekend of Feb. 17-18 were announced yesterday. And for the first time since the event began in 2003, UH was not among the teams to be involved in a televised contest.
Instead, the Rainbow Warriors will play Santa Clara (8-11) of the West Coast Conference in a nonconference game on Feb. 18 at the Stan Sheriff Center. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The game will be shown locally on KFVE, station president and general manager John Fink said.
A bit of bad luck may have contributed to UH not being included in the ESPN package.
Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said the UH-Santa Clara matchup was determined 10 days ago "in an attempt to allow the team that was going to play at Hawaii a greater opportunity to pin down airfares and to make travel plans."
"At that time, the (Ratings Percentage Index) disparity between Hawaii and Santa Clara was not significant, Hawaii was in the 80s and Santa Clara was in the 90s," Benson said. "Unfortunately, Santa Clara lost three games in a row right after that and sent their RPI plummeting."
The RPI released by Collegiate Basketball News yesterday had Hawaii at No. 80 (.557), and Santa Clara was No. 205 (.473).
The Broncos, led by 14th-year coach Dick Davey, has lost six straight following an 81-66 defeat to San Diego last night.
All nine WAC teams were part of a pool of 100 schools representing 18 conferences for the Bracket Busters games. UH was designated as a home team prior to the season. The arrangement also calls for a return game at the visiting team's home arena next season.
Four WAC teams were picked for Bracket Busters games. Conference leader Louisiana Tech plays at Southern Illinois, Fresno State will play at Creighton, defending league champion Nevada plays Akron, and Utah State faces Northwestern State.
The games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN-360.
UH's game at San Jose State on Feb. 25 and the WAC tournament quarterfinals and semifinals will be televised regionally on SportsWest. The conference championship game on March 11 will be shown on ESPN2. Hawaii and Santa Clara last met in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational in 2003, with the Rainbows winning 56-43.
UH played in the first three Bracket Busters Saturdays. The 'Bows won at Kent State in 2003, lost at Southern Illinois in 2004 and lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee at home last season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report