The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team once again plays host to one of the most prestigious college basketball tournaments in the nation, the seventh annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center. Joining UH in the eight-team field are No.3 Oklahoma, New Mexico, Auburn, Harvard, BYU, Washington State and UH's first-round opponent Northern Iowa.
The Rainbow Warriors (7-1) and Panthers (7-3) first-round matchup will cap the opening day of action with a scheduled 8:00 p.m. tipoff time. UH enters the tournament with an unblemished home record, its only loss a road defeat at Texas Tech. Junior forward Aaron Valdes enters the classic as one of the top offensive threats in the Big West Conference, ranking second in the league in both scoring (18.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (57.0%). Senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt has been running the show, ranking 15th in the nation and first in the conference with 6.6 assists per game. He also ranks first in the league and 25th in the nation with 2.43 steals per game.
Northern Iowa this season most notably knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina with a 71-67 home win this past November. UNI will have just two days in between games when they take in the 'Bows on Tuesday.
UH and UNI will play for just the second time with the 'Bows winning their lone meeting in 1983.
The Rainbow Warriors are 10-8 overall in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and 34-83 against this year's field. Last year they finished third, their highest finish in the tournament, and sophomore Isaac Fleming was voted to the all-tournament team.
The other games of opening day are Auburn vs. New Mexico (9:30 a.m.), BYU vs. Harvard (11:30 a.m.) and Oklahoma vs. Washington State (6:00 p.m.). All games of the tournament will be broadcast live on the ESPN family of networks with the exception of the 7th place game on Christmas Day which will be streamed on ESPN3.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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