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A closer look at the Warriors and Bears

(video courtesy www.hawaiiathletics.com)

It is now less than 48 hours until the University of Hawai’i basketball team makes just its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

In this already-historic season, the Warriors are still chasing ultimate program history. Namely, an elusive victory in the Big Dance. Hawai’i is 0-4 in its previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament, with the last loss coming in 2002.

The Warriors will get another chance to sling a shot this Friday at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington. The No. 13 seed Hawai’i (27-5 overall, first place Big West Conference) will take on No. 4 Cal (23-10 overall, third place Pac-12 Conference).

The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. (Hawai’i time) and it will be televised nationally on TBS (Oceanic channels 551 and 1551 in Hawai’i).

Here is a look at the teams:

POINT GUARDS

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Hawai’i: Roderick Bobbitt (6-3, Senior) is a first-team All-Big West Conference selection and the pacesetter for the Warriors on both ends of the court. He is averaging 13.3 points, 5.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. He also leads the team with 54 3-pointers, and a .809 free-throw percentage. He also leads the team in minutes played at 34.0 per game. If he does need a break, there are a couple of options. One is to move shooting guard Quincy Smith over to the point. Another option emerged at last week’s Big West Tournament in Niko Filipovich (6-0, Sophomore). He played eight crucial minutes in relief of Bobbitt in the championship game.

Cal: Tyrone Wallace (6-5, Senior) is a four-year starter and the leader of the Golden Bears. On a team rich with NBA-level talent, Wallace leads in scoring (15.3 per game) and assists (4.4 per game). He is also averaging 5.4 rebounds per game and is tied for the team lead with 27 steals. He ranks among Cal’s all-time top 10 for career scoring, assists and steals. Wallace was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a junior, and received honorable mention this season. Sam Singer (6-4, Junior) is a capable back-up, averaging 3.5 points and 2.7 assists per game. He started eight games earlier this season when Wallace was injured.

SHOOTING GUARDS

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Hawai’i: Quincy Smith (6-1, Senior) was recruited to Hawai’i out of the Bay Area in 2013. He was a reserve point guard his first two seasons, and took over the starting role at the 2 spot this season. He is averaging 7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, but his greatest value is on the defensive end. His 55 steals ranks second in the Big West, behind only teammate Bobbitt. Smith is one of only two players to start every game for the Warriors this season. Sheriff Drammeh (6-3, Freshman) developed into a key member of the rotation in the last month of the season. He is averaging just 1.7 points per game, but like Smith, his contributions cannot be measured in statistics. Drammeh is a pesky defender who is adept at drawing opponents into charging fouls.

Cal: Jabari Byrd (6-6, Junior) is averaging 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, and ranks second on the team with 61 3-pointers and a .409 percentage from 3-point range. He moved into the starting lineup midway through the season, and has responded with four games of 20 or more points since then. Jordan Matthews (6-4, Junior) is the first player off the bench, but is essentially another starter, as he averages 13.2 points per game and 29.7 minutes per game. Matthews is considered one of the top shooters in the Pac-12, and leads the Bears with 86 3-pointers and a .417 percentage from 3-point range. Byrd and Matthews are often on the court together, with Byrd moving over to small forward.

SMALL FORWARDS

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Hawai’i: Aaron Valdes (6-5, Junior) was named the Most Valuable Player of last week’s Big West Conference Tournament, and was a second-team All-Big West Conference selection during the regular season. He is averaging 14.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He recorded a triple-double in a game earlier this season, and is tied for second on the team with 42 3-pointers. Valdes is also 39 points away from becoming the 17th player in UH history to score 1,000 points in a career. The aforementioned Sheriff Drammeh has also been providing back-up minutes at the small forward position

Cal: Jaylen Brown (6-7, Freshman) entered Cal as one of the most hyped freshman recruits in the nation, and he has not disappointed. He is averaging 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, and was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year as well as earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors. He has been struggling of late, averaging just 8.8 points per game on 21.4 percent (9 for 42) shooting over the last four games. He is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. Stephen Domingo (6-7, Junior) is averaging 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in reserve.

POWER FORWARDS

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Hawai’i: Mike Thomas (6-7, Junior) is one of only two players (along with Quincy Smith) to start every game this season. He is averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and is shooting 50.9 percent from the field. In last week’s Big West Conference Tournament, Thomas averaged 9.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds in a quarterfinal win over Cal State Fullerton. Sai Tummala (6-6, Senior) basically shares the position with Thomas, as they often rotate in and out for each other. Tummala is averaging 6.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, and is tied for second on the team with 42 3-pointers. He leads the team in 3-point percentage at .400.

Cal: Ivan Rabb (6-11, Freshman) is other half of the Bears’ dynamic duo of freshmen stars. He is averaging 12.5 points per game and leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game, 41 blocked shots, and a .622 field goal percentage. He was named to the All-Pac-12 second team, and the Pac-12 All-Freshman team. He has recorded 10 double-doubles this season. He averaged 17.0 points and 10.0 rebounds and shot 15 for 18 (83.3 percent) from the field in Cal’s two games at the Pac-12 Tournament last week. Like fellow freshman Jaylen Brown, Rabb is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. When the Bears go with a “small” lineup, Rabb slides over to the center spot, and Brown goes to power forward.

CENTERS

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Hawai’i: Stefan Jankovic (6-11, Junior) is the Big West Conference Player of the Year with the numbers to back it up. He is averaging team-bests of 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and also leads the team in field goal percentage (.557) and blocked shots (38). He has reached double-figure points in 22 of 31 games this season, including nine games of 20 or more points. He appeared briefly in the 2013 NCAA Tournament as a freshman at Missouri. Stefan Jovanovic (6-11, Junior) is a quality back-up who is averaging 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, and is shooting 52.9 percent from the field.

Cal: Kingsley Okoroh (7-1, Sophomore) has been in the starting lineup since January 21, but he averages just 10.7 minutes per game. Listed at 252 pounds, he is a space-eater with primary roles of setting screens to get teammates open and protecting the rim. He averages 1.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game, and is shooting 59.4 percent from the field. Kameron Rooks (7-0, Sophomore) plays a similar role off the bench, averaging 3.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 57.0 percent from the field. If the Bears need more scoring, they will go “small” by moving Rabb to center and surrounding him with the other four top scorers (Wallace, Brown, Matthews and Bird).

TEAM STATS

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Hawai’i: The Warriors are the best statistical offensive team in the Big West Conference, averaging 77.6 points per game with a .462 field goal percentage. Hawai’i is also one of the best defensive teams in the Big West, allowing an average of 66.5 points per game, while limiting opponents to a .398 field goal percentage. The key statistic for Hawai’i is rebounding. The Warriors average 37.4 rebounds per game, and are 23-0 this season when they out-rebound the opposing team. They are 3-5 when getting out-rebounded, and 1-0 when the rebounds are tied. Hawai’i also leads the Big West in assists (15.8 per game) and steals (7.9 per game). The Warriors are among the nation’s best in getting to the free-throw line (26.0 attempts per game), but convert just 68.1 percent of those attempts.

Cal: The Golden Bears are the best statistical defensive team in the high-scoring Pac-12 Conference. Cal limits its opponents to 67.0 points per game, while allowing a stingy .393 field goal percentage. The Bears, who have a height advantage over the Warriors at virtually every position, were also dominant on the boards, at times, during the season. Cal averages 40.0 rebounds per game, while limiting its opponents to 33.2. On offense, Cal averages 75.1 points per game with a .461 field goal percentage. The Bears also average a respectable 7.1 3-pointers per game with a .369 percentage from 3-point range. There appear to be two weak areas for Cal. One is free throw shooting – the Bears rank last in the Pac-12 with a .656 percentage. The other is forcing opponent turnovers – the Bears rank last in the Pac-12 for both steals (4.1 per game) and opponent turnovers (9.7 per game).

— — — — — — —

HAWAI’I VS. NO. 23 CAL
What:
NCAA Tournament First Round
Where: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Washington
When: Friday, March 18, 8:00 a.m. (Hawai’i time)
TV: Live on TBS (Oceanic channels 551 and 1551 in Hawai’i)
Internet video: Live streaming on www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live/watch
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet audio:Live on www.espn1420am.com

39 Comments

  1. For any and all Hawai’i fans in Spokane …

    The “UH Hoops Happening in Spokane” is scheduled for Thursday, March 17, at The Wave Island Sports Grill & Sushi Bar, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.

    This is a no-host event, and space is limited. To reserve a space, call (509) 747-2023 and ask to reserve for “UH Hoops.”

    The Wave Island Sports Grill & Sushi Bar is located at 525 W 1st Avenue in Spokane.

  2. Heard on the Portnoy show that Wallace broke his hand in practice. If true, that is a big loss for Cal.

  3. He broke a bone in his non- shooting hand which is his right hand ? Earlier in the season he had broken a bone in the same hand.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/sources–cal-s-tyrone-wallace-breaks-hand-054242028.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

  4. This is a major loss for Cal. Hawaii should be favored now. Will be interesting to see what happens with Vegas spread now.

  5. He shoots with either hand in close, a lot with his right hand and is (was) hard to stop, including on assists.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgOF21HKvVI

  6. Things happen all the time and it’s a big loss for Cal if Wallace can’t go. You don’t wish bad on anyone. It’s always tough when a key player is out. Valdes had a bad case of a stomach virus recently and was out too. Next man up!!! Hawaii still have to play well to have a chance to win. We’ll see what happens.

  7. Got to step up in the big games.
    Go Bows !

  8. Wallace being out is a huge loss for cal. Leading scorer, lone senior starter, big assist and rebound guy, but most importantly, the main ball handler on an AL READY turnover prone squad and their calming, mature point guard!! I see the stars aligning for an upset!! Let’s go bows!!
    Line has dropped two points (to 6.5) since announcement (in response to an earlier poster’s question). Obviously, still a tough game and we would need a near perfect performance to win…but this only helps!!!
    JUST WIN BOWS!

  9. Thanks, Dayton, for the heads up on the gathering at the wave…will be there!!
    Getting so excited for this game!! The boys have been building towards this moment for 2-3 years!!

  10. Actually the score is even. We lost Flemming.

  11. Experience. Speed. Heart. Swag. And 808 power. Warriors not scared. Cal look past them. UH easy can win by double digits. I watch games this year. ONE guy hits 2 or 3 threes in a few minutes. Whether Janks.AV.Q.Sai or Especially Bobbitt drops 4 three bombs in first 10 minutes . game over. Warriors up by 12..game done. Warriors make shots. They will go far!!

  12. Servante,
    We didn’t lose isaac 2 days before the game lol
    And isaac isn’t our leading scorer, leading assist guy, starting point guard, nor lone senior starter and team leader.
    As much as losing isaac was a loss (one that I thought this board had agreed to move on from…the way that the uh team has moved on), his loss doesn’t even begin to compare to the loss that wallace is to cal!! And they’re turnover prone WITH him in the lineup…and they have to face an extremely pesky backcourt in uh!!!

  13. He broke his hand. I’m guessing that means he won’t play but it seems like some are implying he might still play. Thinking back, didn’t Fotu and Nevels both play with injured and bandaged hands?

  14. In Some Ways, I’d like to SEE Him ‘TRY’ (To Play with a 48-72 hour Broken Hand)
    (Nevels Took a Week-Plus to Adjust)

    GARRETT IS One of the Toughest ‘Bows ever…
    LIKE BOBBITT

    CAN You “Imagine” Wallace Handling, Passing the Ball AGAINST Bobbitt with ONE HAND ?…
    He…He…He… MORE (One, Two, Three?…) Turnovers / Steals…

    THE FIRST TIME POTUS Announced HE Would (BE) ‘RUN’ for President-of-the-United-States,
    MOST People Could NOT See THAT One Either…

    NEUTRAL + ROAD RECORDS:
    CAL: 5-10
    UH: 10 of LAST 11 (ONLY Loss, 2 VS 24 2nd-Half Free-Throws @ LBSU!)

    Really TOUGH Draw for Cal
    (Maybe Rolovich Makes it “TWO”)

    GO ‘BOWS!
    JUST KEEP WINNIN’!

  15. P.S, WHY Would a SPOKANE, WASHINGTON Crowd Cheer for Cal-Berkeley?

    PAC-12 “Loyalty” ?

    With or AGAINST W.R.T. UW And WSU ?

    [MUCH Tougher for Na Wahine @ Pauley Pavilion (or Thereabouts)]…

  16. Wallace will not be playing, per latest news.
    I see daboyz son in the group pic with the men and wahine now. Also, see Eran’s daughter in the pic. Whose son is the one in the men’s group pic ?
    Don’t loan any cars or iPads to any players.
    Team1st, you going watch the game with your teens ?

  17. Randy Bennett said on hoopstalk that Cal is very tough on defense and rebounding, but not maybe that sharp on shooting. Maybe they were off when they played St Mary’s because i saw on a video where they shot good.
    Wallace’s highlights look like Sheriff’s Swedish Nat’l team highlights.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgOF21HKvVI

  18. Islandman, what pics are you referring to?
    My son is easy to point out, as he wears GREEN sports goggles to all uh events lol

  19. With Wallace out, Cal has dropped to 5 point favorites…that’s huge. That would be similar to us losing Janks. I would not consider it “even” since we lost Isaac Fleming. Fleming wasn’t our senior leading scorer/starting PG, he was a reserve that knew how to score. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been finding ways to win without him (next man up!). Based on what I’ve seen/heard of Wallace, if I was a Cal fan, I’d write off this entire tournament. Plus with the coaching distraction…nothing is working in Cal’s favor at this point.

    I also dreampt last night that Hawaii won 70 – 50. While I wouldn’t expect that huge of a margin, I do believe the odds of pulling the upset are greatly in our favor at this point.

    LET’S GO BOWS!!!

  20. I want to win, first and foremost. If Hawaii were to lose Bobbitt to such an injury, Hawaii would be all about TEAM, use it as motivation, do it for Bobbitt, next man up, etc. I can only hope that these adversities don’t serve to bring Cal, a group not known for team play but rather for its individual stars, to come together. Also, if we do win, you know now they will be talking not about Hawaii but about Cal’s rotten luck and what “could have been” if Cal was at full force. BUT…I guess none of that matters unless we WIN! So just WIN BABY! By two or by twenty, I don’t really care, though my heart would much prefer twenty!

    Go Bows!!!

  21. Wallace missed 4 or 5 games earlier this year with an injury to the same hand. In other words, his backup has a lot of experience and playing time and we shouldn’t count on this too much. Cal will still be favored and it will be a tough game. I hope we can pull out the win !!

    Go Rainbow Warriors !

  22. Good point Bernie! Hawaii just needs to do there thing.

    KellyO I agree with you! Just win baby! Doesn’t have to be pretty.

  23. Islandman,
    That’s coach Acker’s older son in the pic

  24. Brown likes to take it to the hole a lot, per one Cal poster. So he may get our players in foul trouble. Also, Singer may not be much of a shooter. Watch him prove that false.
    “Yep. Typical outcomes with Jaylen as PG:
    1. Layup/dunk
    2. He gets fouled
    3. He commits foul
    4. Turnover
    5. Missed shot
    6. Layup/dunk + foul
    7. Assist
    And just about in that order. Fun to watch though… ”
    http://bearinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?100269-Wallace-breaks-hand-again/page4

  25. When Sam Singer filled in for Wallace when he was out for five games earlier this season, he definitely could not eplicate Wallace’s scoring.
    He can create plays, though. Rod, Q needs to stay in front of him and force him to lob passes into the paint or force him to hoist perimeter shots up. Looking forward to this game more now.

  26. .1% of us picked Hawaii to win it all in the ESPN Bracketology! I know I did. If you believe, you gotta believe all the way!

    Right now I have so much nervous energy. Watching these games and psyching myself out. Iona kid just got a technical at a critical point toward end of game that allowed Iowa State to pull away and secure the game. Our guys gotta keep their composure. For the most part, I haven’t seen any of the team’s complain or talk to the refs the way our kids do. Of course, these refs also pretty good.

  27. No. 12 seeded Yale upset No. 5 Baylor, 79-75, first NCAA tourney win for them.

  28. Cal situation. Wonder if it makes team bond together stronger like warriors did? Lot of distraction and major injury to their star pg too. Well UH vs Cal now one of most intriguing first round games of ncaa dance. War of overcoming adversity. College basketball..

  29. Here’s a great video just posted by UH athletics. http://youtu.be/eyMEiuMk4YA

  30. KelleyO …. i think that’s the same video that is at the top of this webpage.

  31. Islandman…oops, thanks…I’m a bear of little brain!

    Oh my! Purdue just blew a huge lead and it’s going to OT! March Madness!!

  32. There always seems to be 12 vs. 5 upsets, but Yale’s is a surprise. Now, No. 12 Little Rock hits a late 3 to send it into OT against No. 5 Purdue.

  33. The big match up will be with our bigs in out rebounding Cal. All the while staying out of foul trouble. Blocking out and allowing our guards to help rebound is just a fine plan. No doubt that Cal will try to even the score by fouling out our first string guards and AV too, so that we will be without them in the second half. I could see Niko coming out of the first half with 5 rebounds and Drammeh drawing 3 fouls off whoever they start at point. And maybe let Drammeh defend against Rabb straight up. Sai has got to get his shooting touch back now and through the tournament. He is a senior and this is it for him. It’s time for some leadership in 3-shooting if there is such a thing. And Bobbitt has got to have a big game. I believe he is an iron-man and that he could stay out of foul trouble. No problem whatever way we play. And don’t forget, Q’s talent is winning. Don’t count him out from having a big game in every role he plays. The coaching staff has got to do their homework and be able to make the right adjustments during the game, as always. Simply, they may not have an answer for Janks, MT, Jovanovich, AV and Sai. Let there be ‘no distractions’ ! Go Bows !

  34. Ok, I don’t think anyone posted this video and it matches the article. http://youtu.be/Asjc91N29_Y

  35. Looking forward to the WI reports from Spokane!!! Go Bows!!!

  36. Win or lose, I hope our guys have a great game. It’s the biggest stage they’ve ever played on and I hope they get the attention (pro scouts) that they deserve.

  37. Akuhead,
    Appreciate the enthusiasm and the positivity, BUT one thing u said is simply ludicrous. Rabb is a 6’11 f/c, who was rated the #5 player in the country last year overall. He is a likely lottery pick, with a wingspan over 7ft. Sheriff is a 6’3″ guard, who is 150# soaking wet and wearing boots. You said “let Drammeh defend against rabb straight up”???? He cannot defend any center, let alone a future lottery pick at center lol
    Pls, share what you have been smoking! Must be some REALLY GOOD STUFF…
    Anyway, GoBows!! Let’s shock the world!!

  38. Go Bows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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