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First things first: San Jose State

Special to WarriorInsider.com

LAS VEGAS – While there might be some buzz back home about the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team hosting a possible postseason game next week in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, across the Pacific Ocean and Mojave Desert you will not hear a peep about it from head coach Gib Arnold.

“I’m not going to comment on that,” Arnold said after Tuesday afternoon’s practice at the Impact fitness center. “We have a game tomorrow, that’s all we’re focused on and that’s all we’re going to talk about right now.”

That game is Wednesday’s Western Athletic Conference Tournament opener against San Jose State. Tipoff is set for 10 a.m. Hawaii time at the Orleans Arena just off the Las Vegas strip. The winner will advance to play Idaho in the second round on Thursday; the loser is eliminated from the tournament.

The Warriors held a quick 90-minute workout Tuesday before eating a late lunch and then checking into the Orleans. They had been staying at Suncoast Hotel and Casino – about 40 minutes north in Summerlin – since late Sunday afternoon.

Such is the focus on San Jose State that Arnold declined to have the team join the Rainbow Wahine players and coaches at an informal meet-and-greet event at the California Hotel and Casino – always packed with Hawaii clientele — Tuesday evening.

Arnold even was considering a 7:30 a.m. shootaround Wednesday.

“I don’t know yet, but I’m leaning towards it,” he said. “We usually eat a few hours before the game anyway … I’ll decide after meeting with the team and seeing how they feel about it.”

Arnold said Tuesday’s practice goal was the same as Monday’s – “reviewing the game plan and spending about half the time on ourselves and what we need to do better.”

As always, a primary concern is defending All-WAC guard Adrian Oliver, who leads the conference in scoring and is third in the nation with 24.3 points per game. UH’s leading scorer, Zane Johnson, has drawn the assignment of guarding Oliver and held him to 18 points in last Thursday’s 77-71 victory at San Jose and just 10 points in a 67-61 win in Honolulu on Jan. 22.

“I just try to use my length to contest his shot when he comes off the screen,” said Johnson, who is 6 feet, 6 inches tall compared to Oliver’s 6-4. “It’s worked so far.”

Arnold said Johnson has defended Oliver “as well as anybody” and added 6-7 freshman Trevor Wiseman also may see a role as a stopper.

Johnson, a transfer from Arizona who sat out last season, said he is looking forward to the challenge again.

“It’s exciting, I wanna play,” he said. “The main thing is it’s a brand new season, a fresh start so we can’t hold back. We gotta come out ready, we can’t be lackadaisical about anything. I’m anxious to play already.”

POSTGAME PARTY

Although the Warriors skipped Tuesday’s fan event at the Cal, they are scheduled to join a UH reception after Wednesday’s game at 4 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) at the Orleans’ Esplanade Room.

Hawaii officials, cheerleaders, Rainbow dancers and fans are expected to attend. The Rainbow Wahine play New Mexico State in their first-round game on Wednesday at 8:30 PST.

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Here is the latest episode of “Bill and Zane’s Excellent Adventure,” featuring the team’s arrival in Las Vegas, and another entertaining interview with Bill Amis and Zane Johnson.

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