Rainbow Wahine's chance to host doomed by WAC


POSTED: Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unfortunately, it looks like we've had our last in-person look at the University of Hawaii volleyball team this year. Athletic director Jim Donovan says chances are “;slim”; that UH's bid will result in the No. 3-ranked Wahine hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament next week.

It's not really about money, since expenses would likely be covered by the bid. The school could afford a tidy guarantee for the NCAA because of the huge crowds the matches would draw here.

It's more about the time it takes to get the teams here. From the national perspective, it makes more sense to inconvenience one team (Hawaii) than three.

Donovan says it goes back to the terrorist attacks of eight years ago. “;Since 9/11 there's been a soft policy of trying not to travel so far.”;

Yes, it's not fair to the Wahine and their fans. In a perfect world, the top 16 teams would host the subregionals.

And here we go with strength of schedule again, which is the real villain in this situation.

Despite its constant lofty perch in the coaches' poll all season, Hawaii is at No. 21 in the power rankings. As most of you know, being in the WAC doesn't help in a lot of sports when the computers ask who you've played. Even UH's tough nonconference slate is trumped by the weakness of the WAC.

The top eight teams in the NCAA power ratings get to host automatically. The other eight hosts don't have to come from Nos. 9 through 16.

So there is a chance for UH, but it's unlikely.

» UH football coach Greg McMackin pondered the question, then decided not to answer it.

Good choice.

I had asked at yesterday's press conference if he thinks cut blocking should be illegal in college football (blockers are allowed to go low for a defender's legs, but only within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage).

No good could come from him sharing his thoughts on that topic five days before taking on Navy at Aloha Stadium. The Midshipmen, with their small offensive linemen, use the tactic regularly as part of their triple-option attack—the same offense Hawaii used when Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo was a UH quarterback and assistant coach.

And, I promise, this is pure coincidence: Also yesterday, the Mountain West reprimanded BYU defensive end Jan Jorgensen and assistant coach Barry Lamb for comments about Air Force's use of cut blocks. Jorgensen called the tactic “;legal, but dirty.”; (BYU beat Air Force on Saturday.)

You may remember a couple of weeks ago that Notre Dame assistant Corwin Brown ripped Niumatalolo, partly for a cut block Brown described as “;very malicious.”;

» UH slot receiver Greg Salas did not make the three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award (I voted for him last month as a semifinalist, but he didn't make that list either). Could see him picking up a third-team All-American spot if he bounces back from the sprained foot and finishes strong.

» I know the Heisman isn't supposed to be a career achievement award, but I'd have no problem with Colt McCoy taking the hardware if Texas wins out.