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Warriors will travel to Montana for BracketBusters

The Hawai’i basketball team will travel to play the University of Montana for a road game on February 18 in ESPN’s Sears BracketBusters.

The game will be played at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Montana, and it will not be nationally televised.

The pairings for this year’s BracketBusters were announced on Monday by ESPN. A record 142 “mid-major” teams from 16 conferences are participating in this year’s event, although only 13 of the 71 games will be nationally-televised on the ESPN network of stations (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3).

The Grizzlies are 15-6 overall and tied for first place in the Big Sky Conference at 8-1. The Warriors are 12-9 overall and tied for third place in the Western Athletic Conference at 4-3.

Hawai’i and Montana have played several common opponents already this season. Among WAC teams, Montana lost a home game to Nevada, and beat Idaho. In the Big Sky Conference, Montana already owns a two-game sweep of Eastern Washington. Hawai’i lost a home game to Eastern Washington earlier this season.

“Hawai’i is a good team,” Montana head coach Wayne Tinkle said. “They’re a team that obviously is improving as the season has gone along and playing pretty good basketball right now. They are a competitive team that’s been in every game, so it’s going to be a real tough matchup for us.”

The game will be the first of three consecutive road games — all at difficult destinations — for the Warriors. Following the February 18 game at Montana, the Warriors will play at New Mexico State on February 23, then at Louisiana Tech on February 25.

All eight teams in the WAC are in this year’s BracketBusters event. Current conference leader Nevada and second-place New Mexico State were the only WAC teams to receive ESPN TV games. The Wolf Pack will play at Iona, and New Mexico State will host Drake.

Hawai’i has participated in the BracketBusters event every year for the past nine seasons, and have a 4-5 record in those games. The last time the Warriors were featured in one of the nationally-televised games was 2005.

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OTHER WAC NOTES

Utah State sophomore guard Preston Medlin was named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Monday. In two games, including a 77-72 victory over Hawai’i, Medlin averaged 20.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Junior center Vander Joaquim was Hawai’i’s nominee for the weekly award. In two games, he averaged 21.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, and shot 76 percent (19 for 25) from the field. The Warriors went 1-1 in two road games last week.

Undefeated WAC leader Nevada (7-0) is moving closer toward a Top 25 national ranking. The Wolf Pack is receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Nevada is 29th in this week’s ESPN/USA Today poll, and 31st in the AP. The Wolf Pack is on a 15-game winning streak and have an 18-3 overall record.

4 Comments

  1. It’s unlikely, but wouldn’t it be great if Nevada got ranked next week? Just in time for us to hand them their first WAC loss and knock them out of the top 25!

  2. UH against Montana should end up to being a good pairing. It’s too bad we won’t be able to see the game on ESPN. Sheesh, that’s a lot of mileage on this road trip. Would be nice if Nevada comes into town as a Top 25 team. Good time to fill the Sheriff and let it rumble.

  3. I Like Your Planning ! Let’s Do It !

    (Beat ‘Em Whether they’re Ranked or not…)

    Montana sounds like a tough Challenge …
    This Team Can Rise to it … Win Again !

  4. sheesh?! Really, Montana. Okay, whoop ass!

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