HONOLULU – (Hawaii Athletics) The
University of Hawai'i released its 2012-13 men's basketball schedule which
features 19 home games at the Stan Sheriff Center and the team's debut in the
Big West Conference. In addition, the Rainbow Warriors will host two preseason
tournaments while facing numerous high-caliber, non-conference opponents.
As announced earlier, the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic returns after a one-year hiatus and officially opens UH's 2012-13 season. The 'Bows will tip the season off Nov. 9 against Maryland-Eastern Shore in the round-robin tournament which also includes Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Houston Baptist. UH's match-up versus Houston Baptist on Nov. 12 at will be part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-off Marathon as the Bows participate in the event for the fifth straight year.
Following the Classic, UH hosts Illinois out of the Big 10 conference on Nov. 16. It will mark the third time in the last six years the teams will meet. A few weeks after facing Illinois, UH will play its lone non-conference road contest at UNLV (Dec. 1), a team filled with national aspirations. The Runnin' Rebels edged the Rainbow Warriors in a meeting in Honolulu last year.
Christmas week brings the fourth annual Diamond Head Classic (Dec. 22-23, 25). Six of the eight teams in the field made the postseason last year, highlighted by Arizona (NIT), Miami (NIT), Mississippi (NIT) and San Diego State (NCAA). Pairings for the tournament will be announced later this summer.
"We definitely face some big challenges in non-conference with the likes of Illinois out of the Big 10 and UNLV, which I believe will be a top 10 team heading into this season," Arnold said. "And of course the Diamond Head Classic always brings in some of the best teams in the country. Arizona and San Diego State are right up there with UNLV."
Other early-season opponents include North Dakota (Nov. 20) and Pepperdine (Dec. 8). In keeping with the trend of recent years, the team hopes to play a regular season game on one of the neighbor islands. UH played a regular-season game in Lahaina in 2010 and a pair of games in Hilo and Wailuku in 2011. Details are still being worked out for another possible regular-season non-conference contest on a neighbor island in December.
"It's our hope to bring another regular-season game to one of the neighbor islands," Arnold said. "It's been a phenomenal experience for both the fans and our team the last two years."
Following the Diamond Head Classic in late December, UH will make its debut in the Big West Conference. The Rainbow Warriors will play its first three league games at home, beginning with a match-up against Cal State Northridge on Dec. 29.
"We're excited to join the Big West, a conference that has a number of high-quality programs," Arnold said. "There is familiarity with some of the teams since we've played them in the last few years. But overall, there definitely will be a feeling out period. We look forward to competing for a league title."
UH will take a break from conference play on February 23 when it participates in the ESPN BracketBusters event. The 'Bows have participated in the event in each of the previous 10 years of its existence and UH will play host to a BracketBusters game for the first time in three years. Match-ups will be announced in the month leading up to the event.
Hawai'i closes the Big West regular season on the road at Cal State Northridge on March 7. The 2013 Big West Tournament be held March 14-16 in Anaheim, Calif.