RAINBOW WARRIORS BASKETBALL
Hawaii hoops hitting the road early
The Hawaii basketball team will get a heavy dose of life on the road early next season.
The Rainbow Warriors will play five games on the mainland prior to the Western Athletic Conference schedule, opening the season with a road game for the first time since 1993.
"If you're going to be able to win on the road in the conference you have to get used to going on the road in the road early in the preseason, so I think that's why we've taken the position that we have," said UH associate coach Bob Nash, who handles the team's scheduling.
"The preseason schedule is to get you ready for the conference. ... They need to understand what the road is like and how we travel."
UH released its 30-game regular-season schedule yesterday and opens the season Nov. 10 with a game at UNLV, the front end of a home-and-home series with the Runnin' Rebels. After home games against Coppin State and Oregon State, the 'Bows play three games in the Great Alaska Shootout Nov. 22-25 and conclude the trip Nov. 29 at Santa Clara.
The home schedule includes a visit by Northwestern State, which upset Iowa in the NCAA Tournament in March. The 'Bows later host San Francisco to open the 43rd Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic set for Dec. 20-23.
The WAC season begins Jan. 4 with a trip to New Mexico State.
The league will again be part of ESPN's Big Monday lineup. UH has two Monday games at home (Utah State, Jan. 29 and NMSU, Feb. 12), but the network's schedule hasn't been finalized.
A quirky league schedule drew criticism from coaches throughout last season, and Nash said the conference hired an agency to map out the slate for next year.
"For the most part they did a pretty fair job of spreading the games around and freeing up the dates for the BracketBusters," he said. "I think they've addressed the problems with the new agency and for the most part it's pretty balanced."
Still, the Rainbows will have a tough turnaround in mid-February when they play NMSU at the Stan Sheriff Center on Monday, Feb. 12, then play at Utah State two nights later.
All nine WAC teams will again participate in BracketBusters Saturday on Feb. 17.
The WAC tournament moves from Reno to Las Cruces, N.M., this season and is set for March 6-10.
2006-07 Rainbow Warriors basketball schedule
All times Hawaii time
10: at UNLV, TBA. 13: Coppin State, 7 p.m. 19: Oregon State, 5 p.m. 22-25: Great Alaska Shootout (Alaska-Anchorage, California, Hawaii, Hofstra, Loyola Marymount, Marshall, UMKC). 29: at Santa Clara, TBA.
5: UNLV, 7 p.m. 16: Northwestern State, 7 p.m. 20-23: 43rd Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic (20: Wyoming vs. Nebraska, 5 p.m.; San Francisco vs. Hawaii, 7:30 p.m. 21: Charlotte vs. Houston, 5 p.m.; Valparaiso vs. Creighton, 7:30 p.m.) 28: Tennessee-Martin, 7 p.m.
4: at New Mexico State*, TBA. 6: at Louisiana Tech*, TBA. 11: Fresno State*, 7 p.m. 13: Nevada*, 7 p.m. 18: at Idaho*, TBA. 20: at Boise State*, TBA. 25: San Jose State*, 7 p.m. 29: Utah State*, 7 p.m.
1: at Fresno State*, TBA. 3: at Nevada*, TBA. 10: Louisiana Tech*, 7 p.m. 12: New Mexico State*, 7 p.m. 14: at Utah State*, TBA. 17: BracketBuster Saturday, TBA. 24: at San Jose State*, TBA.
1: Idaho*, 7 p.m. 3: Boise State*, 5 p.m. 6-10: WAC Tournament.
*--denotes WAC game