Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

R A I N B O W _ B A S K E T B A L L

UH fills out
preseason hoops

The slate includes Gonzaga
and Southwest Missouri State,
both of whom ended this season
in the nation's Top 25

By Pat Bigold


Though the start of the college basketball season is still a half a year away, fields for almost all of Hawaii's nonconference tournaments are set.

The Hawaii men's basketball team is scheduled to open its season at the Stan Sheriff Center with an exhibition against the Chinese national team on Nov. 7.

But the game, which was arranged over a month ago, is now contingent upon relations between the U.S. and China. The recent accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade has strained those relations.

If the Chinese team cannot travel to Hawaii, Rainbows assistant coach Bob Nash said the date will not be filled. Instead, the team will have its home opener against the California All-Stars on Nov. 14.

The Voicestream Wireless Challenge, the first of the Rainbows' five tournaments, will be held Nov. 19 and Nov. 21, with Jackson State, Bowling Green and Tennessee-Martin visiting.

The United Airlines Tip-off Tournament will be held Nov. 26 and 28 with William & Mary, Oral Roberts and Virginia Military Institute in the field.

The PowerBar Invitational will be held Dec. 4-5. Southwest Missouri State, which was No. 24 in the final USA Today poll with a 22-11 record, will headline a field that also includes Prairie View A&M and University of the Pacific.

The Rainbows then travel for a game at USC on Dec. 8 before returning to host the Nike Festival, which will be held Dec. 20-22. The field will include Creighton, Florida Atlantic and Western Illinois.

The Rainbow Classic will run Dec. 27-30 with Gonzaga, which ended this season at No. 12 after a run at the NCAA title, heading up a field that also includes Villanova, Wake Forest, Bradley, Colorado, Oregon and Ohio University.

Four Division II Hawaii schools will host tournaments featuring Division I teams in November. The deepest field is in Chaminade's Maui Invitational, Nov. 22-24 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

The tournament, put together for the 14th straight year by Kemper Sports Marketing of Chicago, will feature three teams nationally ranked in the final USA Today poll: No. 17 Florida (22-9), No. 18 North Carolina (24-10) and No. 22 Purdue (21-13).

Georgetown, Memphis, South Carolina, Utah State and Chaminade round out the field.

Hawaii-Hilo's eighth annual City Bank/Aloha Airlines Big Island Invitational will be held Nov. 26-28 at the refurbished Afook-Chinen Civic Center.

Two ranked teams top the field: No. 11 Cincinnati (27-6) and No. 25 Arkansas (23-11).

Rhode Island, Iowa State, Cleveland State, Washington State, Santa Clara and the Vulcans round out the tournament.

Concurrently, Hawaii Pacific University's second annual Thanksgiving Classic will be held at the Blaisdell Arena with an eight-team field

Southwest Missouri will also be in this field, joined by Fresno State, Wyoming, Louisiana State, Toledo, Oakland University (Michigan), Florida International and the Sea Warriors.

BYU-Hawaii will hold its second Pearl Harbor Invitational at Cannon Activities Center in Laie Dec. 21-23.

But the field is yet to be finalized.

As of yesterday, No. 21 UCLA (22-9), Colorado State, San Jose State and South Florida had committed and signed contracts.

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