Sports Notebook



Warriors riding the
wave of WAC’s success

The Hawaii basketball team's romp through the Adidas Festival was just part of a landmark weekend for the Western Athletic Conference.

WAC teams went 9-1 Saturday and Sunday, highlighted by two upsets of nationally ranked teams on Sunday.

Nevada, which lost an exhibition game to NCAA Division II Humboldt State and later dropped road games at Portland and Pacific, rebounded in the big way by beating No. 6 Kansas 75-61 in the Wolf Pack Holiday Classic.

Southern Methodist, stunned by a home game to Appalachian State, captured the the Boilermaker Invitational title with a 60-59 win over No. 17 Purdue.

Eight of the 10 WAC teams have winning records and according to the Sagarin ratings, the WAC is the eighth best conference in the nation, just behind the Pac-10 and ahead of the Atlantic 10 and Conference USA.

UTEP (41) is the top team in the WAC according to the rating system, followed by Boise State (45), Nevada (58) and Rice (63).

Hawaii (5-2) checks in at No. 90 following three wins last week, and UH coach Riley Wallace said the WAC's early success can help its members down the road.

"You want to maintain that because then when you start playing each other, if you've kept someone up there, then that really helps you overall," Wallace said. "Before when we only had one or two that were there, then everybody dropped when they played each other."

Another ranking system at lists UH at No. 48 in the country.

Boise State is off to the best start in the WAC at 8-1. UTEP follows at 6-1. The only teams below .500 are two that usually contend for the conference title -- Fresno State (3-4) and Tulsa (2-5). Before heading into WAC play, UH will host the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. The four day tournament begins Saturday with Hawaii facing Lamar in the first round.

Snyder nets WAC honor: Nevada guard Kirk Snyder was named the WAC Player of the Week yesterday. Snyder scored 29 points in the Wolf Pack's win over Kansas. He made 9 of 18 shots from the field, grabbed nine rebounds and had four assists.

UH forward Phil Martin was among the nominees for the weekly award. The senior averaged 19 points and made 72 percent of his shots from the field (26 of 36) in UH's last three games.

Statistically speaking: In a season of giving, no WAC team has shared the ball better than the Rainbow Warriors. UH ranks first in the conference in assists with 123 (17.57 per game). The 'Bows are also first in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.40. UH's 88 turnovers are the fewest in the conference.

UH guard Michael Kuebler leads with WAC in scoring with 19 points per game. Guard Logan Lee is second in assists with five per game. Lee's assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.0 is the best in the WAC. Center Haim Shimonovich is sixth in rebounding with 7.6 per game.

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