The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Ferd's Words column
Jan 05, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
It took the University of Hawaii 33 years to finally play a men's basketball game in the Big West Conference.
Now, after two games in their new conference home, the temptation is almost to wonder why it took the Rainbow Warriors so long.
Two exciting, close games and two victories. Not bad for starters.
It is, of course, barely the beginning of the conference regular season, just one ninth of that, in fact. And, here is the big one: Everything has been at home.
But there the 'Bows are at 2-0 in conference (8-5 overall) and sharing the top spot with Cal Poly entering tonight's third game of the homestand against UC Riverside.
Never mind that most of the people who have so far filed into the Stan Sheriff Center this Big West season couldn't come up with UC Riverside's nickname (the Highlanders) in 10 seconds if a free trip to Las Vegas was riding on it.
Name recognition can come later. Folks love a winner, and after six years without a winning conference season, much less sniffing a title, it matters little the victim's identity. Only that heads have rolled and, so far, they belong to the visitors.
In time we'll be able to separate Highlanders from Aggies, and Mustangs from Matadors, and hopefully, develop some rivalries. But, for now, victories are the best introduction as the 'Bows make their rounds and build up steam for defending champion Long Beach State.
That UH's two triumphs have come against the only schools in the conference that matched or exceeded the 'Bows' preconference win totals is an auspicious beginning. Especially after overcoming 20 turnovers Thursday night.
That last statistic should tell you right away this Big West is a far cry from the Rick Majerus, Jerry Tarkanian, Don Haskins and Billy Tubbs era of the bygone, competitively deep Western Athletic Conference, when some of Riley Wallace's best clubs pounded out fourth-place finishes. The 'Bows' new home isn't even in whistling distance of the Tarkanian and Boyd Grant days of the old, wild Big West.
And, for the moment, that is something the 'Bows can live with as they try to put things back together one victory at a time. They weren't going to get anywhere in the Mountain West for ages, even if, like the football team, they had coughed up the money to somehow buy their way in. And, have you looked at the reconfigured WAC lately Playing a bunch of games in Texas and Louisiana didn't make much sense for elevating the program.
What the Big West does is give the 'Bows a chance. An opportunity to become instant contenders and thereby raise their place in recruiting. An opportunity to win games and chase championships that put fans in the seats.
Hopefully as the 'Bows come on they'll beef up their nonconference schedule to the point where they can add to their RPI and box office.
In the meantime, though just starting, the 'Bows have a good thing going in the Big West.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4820.
___ (c)2013 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Visit The Honolulu Star-Advertiser at
www.staradvertiser.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]