Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors still looking to secure non-conference opponents

More than 200 NCAA basketball teams are set to tip-off the 2020-21 season this Wednesday. The University of Hawai’i basketball team will not be among them.

In these uncertain times, the Rainbow Warriors’ non-conference schedule remains a daily work in progress. As of November 23 – just two days before the official start date for NCAA basketball games – Hawai’i has not announced any non-conference games for this season.

“We’re working on finding some semblance of a non-conference schedule the best we can with what we’re given in this situation,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said. “Teams (across the country) are trying to stay local and do bus trips. We’re obviously unique with our location, so we can’t just jump in anywhere there’s an opening.”

Per adjusted NCAA rules and regulations, NCAA Division I teams can schedule a maximum of 27 regular-season games for the 2020-21 season. Hawai’i already has 20 Big West Conference regular-season games on its schedule. The conference opener is set for December 27 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

That still leaves room for seven non-conference games. Ganot said, at this point, the Warriors are hoping to secure “three to five” non-conference games in December.

“You always want to prepare your team for league play,” he said. “But this is such a different time that we’re all dealing with, and it’s a daily adjustment, it really is.”

To date, there has been only one non-conference game that has been hinted at for Hawai’i – a December 13 home game against Alcorn State.

The Braves, who are in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), are a traditional “travel” team that is willing to fly around the country for non-conference games. Alcorn State has the Hawai’i game listed on its schedule for December 13, following another road game at Cal Baptist on December 10. 

UH, though, has not confirmed the game.

As for other non-conference possibilities for Hawai’i, there could be new opportunities every day. More than 40 programs have already had to “pause” activities and cancel/postpone games due to COVID-related issues. For November 25 alone, 19 games were either canceled or postponed.

This has led to a ripple effect of available opponents, although last-minute travel plans to-and-from Honolulu are not exactly a simple task.

“Usually, schedules are done going into a season and that’s it,” Ganot said. “This year, it’s like a daily deal where we’re following what’s happening with other programs, and then having discussions about what we might be able to do.”

For what it’s worth, nine of the 11 teams in the Big West have non-conference games scheduled. Hawai’i and UC San Diego are the only teams that have not announced any non-conference games so far.

Cal Poly is scheduled to play six non-conference games before heading to Hawai’i for the Big West opener on December 27.

“Is it fair? I don’t think anything is going to be fair or equitable this year,” Ganot said. “No schedules will be consistent. We’re talking about different conferences, states, institutions and testing protocols that don’t completely match for all programs. It really is a balance between what we can get in terms of scheduling, and making sure we’re as healthy and safe as we can be.”

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