Home-heavy schedule for ’Bows
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Hawaii basketball coach Bob Nash released the 2008-09 schedule for the Rainbow Warriors yesterday, featuring 20 of 29 regular-season games at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The second-year coach figures the home-heavy schedule (13 of the first 14 are at UH) gives the team -- which has no seniors and lost its top four scorers from last season -- time to come together and get set academically before hitting the road.
Hawaii went 11-19 overall last season, with a fifth-place WAC finish. The Rainbow Warriors open the season against San Francisco in the four-team Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 14. UH is currently accepting $50 season-ticket deposits at the Stan Sheriff Center box office.
Hawaii has one guaranteed national television appearance with its visit to Fresno State on Feb. 19 scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2.
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Hawaii basketball fans will get to know the 2008-09 Rainbow Warriors well over the first half of the upcoming hoops season.
Nov. 14: San Francisco
Nov. 16: Cal State Fullerton
Nov. 17: Idaho State
Nov. 24: Iowa State
Dec. 1: Prairie View A&M
Dec. 8: at Illinois
Dec. 13: E. Washington
Dec. 15: Chicago State
Dec. 23: UC Riverside
Dec. 27-30: Rainbow Classic
(Hawaii, Colorado, Colorado State, Coppin State, Buffalo (pending), George Washington, Pepperdine, Vermont)
Jan. 3: Boise State
Jan. 5: Louisiana Tech
Jan. 8: at Idaho
Jan. 10: at Boise State
Jan. 17: San Jose State
Jan. 22: at Nevada
Jan. 24: Utah State
Jan. 29: at Louisiana Tech
Jan. 31: at New Mexico State
Feb. 5: Fresno State
Feb. 7: Idaho
Feb. 14: Nevada
Feb. 19: at Fresno State
Feb. 21: BracketBusters
Feb. 26: at Utah State
Feb. 28: at San Jose State
Mar. 7: New Mexico State
Mar. 10: WAC tournament
In Bob Nash's second year as head coach, Hawaii will host 13 of its first 14 games of the regular season at the Stan Sheriff Center. The 'Bows' season total of 20 home games is the most in 30 years.
"We wanted to try to get off to a good start if possible," Nash said. "It just worked out where we didn't want to have to go on the road in the nonconference season if we didn't have to this year. We wanted to try to get our academic standards high in the first semester so that we don't have any casualties throughout the year."
A Dec. 8 road trip to Illinois completes a home-and-home from last season and is the team's only nonconference away game. Hawaii's biggest-name nonconference opponent at home is Iowa State of the Big 12 on Nov. 24.
Nash was pleased that Hawaii gets to host an annual ESPN BracketBusters game for the first time in three years. All nine WAC teams are participating again, with opponents and possible ESPN coverage to be announced leading up to the Feb. 21 game.
"It's good to have one at home," Nash said. "Last couple years we've been on the road, which is difficult. To have it at home this year, hopefully, get off to a good start (in that game)."
ESPN2 coverage is guaranteed for Hawaii's WAC road contest at Fresno State just two days prior to BracketBusters on Feb. 19, setting up the possibility of back-to-back games on national TV near the end of the season.
Nash was wary of two such instances on the schedule where the team plays a WAC road game on a Thursday, then must return to the Stan Sheriff Center for a home game on Saturday.
"We got a couple of close ones, but it's not something we can't do," he said.
UC Riverside arrives Dec. 23 for the home-and-home of last year's BracketBusters game, which Hawaii lost at Riverside 79-62.
Clemson was previously announced for the 45th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, Dec. 27 to 30, but the Tigers of the Atlantic Coast Conference -- who went 24-10 and earned an NCAA Tournament berth last season -- bowed out and were replaced by Buffalo, pending a final agreement.
Nash spoke highly of the rest of the field, which remains intact -- Colorado State, Coppin State, Colorado, George Washington, Pepperdine, and Vermont. Hawaii's opening-round opponent has yet to be announced.
"It's a good field," Nash said. "It's just a matter of getting our guys ready to play and compete for trying to win it."