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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, March 13, 2000

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

Rainbows’ season
comes to an end

The Hawaii men's basketball
team were not invited to any
dance - NCAA or NIT

By Pat Bigold


The numbers didn't add up for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team, which officially ended its season yesterday.

The Rainbows were passed over for a National Invitation Tournament bid, concluding the year at 17-11.

"We got hot there at the end but our middle numbers were not good," said UH head coach Riley Wallace, who is on a recruiting trip and did not return to Hawaii with the team Saturday night. "When they told me our numbers were not good (Friday night), I knew our chances weren't that good."

The Rainbows ended the WAC season at 5-9 and won only one conference game on the road.

But hopes for the Rainbows making it to the NIT were revived after an upset of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament's No. 3 seed, Southern Methodist, and a thrilling 103-100 double-overtime loss to eventual tournament champion Fresno State.

Wallace said he wishes he could coach this team a little longer but he's not disappointed.

"We had a big turnaround," said Wallace, whose team was 6-20 last season.

"I'm disappointed, but what can you do about it?" said sophomore guard Predrag Savovic, who scored 21 points in the loss to Fresno State.

"It hurts because we came into the WAC tournament with high hopes, and knocking off SMU was the most excitement we've had since winning the Rainbow Classic," said junior backup center Todd Fields.

The WAC got two berths in the NCAA Tournament - Tulsa (29-4) and Fresno State (24-9) - but only one berth in the NIT. That went to SMU (21-8).

WAC commissioner Karl Benson had said at a press conference at Fresno's Selland Arena on Saturday night that SMU would be the first team picked by the NIT, and a second berth would be between Texas Christian and Hawaii.

Benson had proposed an SMU-TCU matchup to the NIT committee, saying the travel costs saved in having the two Texas teams meet would allow for the Rainbows to get a berth as well.

"Hawaii is an attractive team," he said. "They certainly finished strong. They demonstrated they can compete with good teams, but it comes down to a numbers game."

SMU isn't the only team Hawaii defeated this season that made it to postseason play.

Going to the NCAA Tournament are Creighton (23-9), beaten by the Rainbows, 73-53, on Dec. 22 at the Stan Sheriff Center, and Oregon (22-7), which lost, 66-63, in the final of the Rainbow Classic on Dec. 31. Bowling Green (22-7), which beat Hawaii, 53-49, on Nov. 21 received an NIT berth.

Hawaii's last trip to the NIT was in 1998.

NOTES: Troy Ostler was named to the WAC All-Tournament team Saturday night. He is the first Rainbow to be selected to the all-tournament team since Tony Maroney in 1995, the year UH lost to Utah in the finals. Ostler had 22 points and 13 rebounds in the win over SMU and 13 points and 11 rebounds in the double overtime loss to Fresno State ... Marquette Alexander will have to return to Fresno in May after being cited for simple battery by police Saturday morning. The citation comes as a result of his altercation with a Fresno State fan two weekends ago. Alexander will have to appear in Fresno Country District Court in May but faces only a fine for his action.

Men's National Invitation Tournament

All Times HST
First Round
Tuesday, March 14

Tulane (20-10) at North Carolina State (17-12), 2:30 p.m.
Wake Forest (17-14) at Vanderbilt (19-10), 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 15

Georgetown (18-14) at Virginia (19-11), 2 p.m.
North Carolina Charlotte (17-15) at Mississippi (17-13), 2 p.m.
Princeton (19-10) at Penn State (15-15), 2:30 p.m.
Delaware (24-7) at Villanova (19-12), 2:30 p.m.
Marquette (15-13) at Xavier (20-11), 2:30 p.m.
Michigan (15-13) at Notre Dame (18-14), 4 p.m.
Bowling Green (22-7) at Brigham Young (20-10), 4 p.m.
New Mexico State (22-9) at Arizona State (18-12), 5:30 p.m.
Long Beach State (24-5) at California (16-14), 5:35 p.m.
South Florida (17-13) at New Mexico (17-13), 6:59 p.m.

Thursday, March 16

Massachusetts (17-15) at Siena (23-8), 2 p.m
Rutgers (15-15) at Kent (21-7), 2 p.m.
Southern Illinois (19-12) at Colorado (18-13), 2 p.m.
Southern Methodist (21-8) at Southwest Missouri State (22-10), 3:05 p.m.

Second Round
March 20 or 21

Massachusetts-Siena winner vs. Princeton-Penn State winner, TBA
Rutgers-Kent winner vs. Delaware-Villanova winner, TBA
Michigan-Notre Dame winner vs. Marquette-Xavier winner, TBA
Bowling Green-Brigham Young winner vs. Southern Illinois-Colorado winner, TBA
Tulane-North Carolina State winner vs. New Mexico State-Arizona State winner, TBA
Southern Methodist-Southwest Missouri State winner vs. North Carolina Charlotte-Mississippi winner, TBA
Wake Forest-Vanderbilt winner vs. South Florida-New Mexico winner, TBA
Georgetown-Virginia winner vs. Long Beach State-California winner, TBA

Third Round
March 22, 23 or 24

Pairing and times TBA

Tuesday, March 28
At Madison Square Garden

New York

Tuesday, March 28

Semifinal, 2 p.m.
Semifinal, 4 p.m.

Championship Round
Thursday, March 30
At Madison Square Garden
New York

Third Place

Semifinal losers, 11:30 a.m.


Semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

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