HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team arrived in Spokane, Wash., Tuesday night as it prepares for its first NCAA Tournament game in 14 years. The Big West Conference champion Rainbow Warriors (27-5), the 13th-seed in the South Region, will face fourth-seeded California in Friday's first round match-up at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Tip-off is 11:00 a.m. PT (8:00 a.m. HT) and the game will be televised nationally on TBS.
UH is entering its third week on the road, having concluded the regular season with a pair of games in Davis and Long Beach followed by the Big West Tournament last week in Anaheim, Calif. The 'Bows are the lone Big West representative and are seeking their first-ever NCAA Tournament win. Hawai'i is 0-4 in the tournament with appearances in 1972, '94, 2001 and '02.
Who: (13) Hawai'i (27-5, 13-3 Big West) vs. (4) California (23-10, 12-6 Pac-12)
What: NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - South Region
Date: Friday, March 18, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m. PT (8:00 a.m. HT)
Where: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena; Spokane, Wash.
Television: TBS with Spero Dedes (play-by-play); Doug Gottlieb (color analyst); and Ros Gold-Onwude (sideline reporter).
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM with Bobby Curran (play-by-play) and Jeff Portnoy (color). Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, KTOH on Kaua'i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on www.espn1420am.com
Game Day Storylines
- UH is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history (1972, '94, 2001, '02, '16), the fourth as a conference tourney champion and first as the Big West Conference representative.
- UH is 0-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and this year's No. 13 seed is tied for the lowest in four previous appearances.
- UH's 27 wins is tied for the highest total in program history with the 2001-02 squad, the last NCAA Tournament team who lost to Xavier in the first round of the 2002 Tournament and finished with a 27-6 final record.
- UH in entering its third week on the road having left Honoluu, March 1 for road games at UC Davis (March 3) and at Long Beach State (March 5) and last week's Big West Tournament (March 10-12) in Anaheim, Calif.
- UH and Cal have met 13 previous times with the Golden Bears holding a 12-1 advantage. The teams met once in postseason play in the first round of the 1989 National Invitation Tournament in Berkeley, Calif., which Cal won 73-57.
- The last meeting between the teams occurred Nov. 24, 2006 in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, won by the Bears 72-56.
- UH head coach Eran Ganot (34) is the third youngest coach in the NCAA Tournament field. The youngest, VCU's Will Wade (33), is 14 months younger than Ganot while Chatanooga's Matt McCall (34), is three months younger.
UH in the NCAA Tournament
- UH secured its conference's automatic berth by virtue of winning the conference tournament in 1994, 2001, '02, and '16.
- Of the four previous appearances, UH was part of the West Regional three times (1972, '94, and 2002) and Midwest Regional once (2001).
- UH's 13th seed in this year's tournament is tied with the 1994 squad for its lowest seed all-time.
- UH's highest seed was No. 10 in 2002.
- Former head coach Riley Wallace coached three NCAA Tournament teams (1994, 2001, and '02) during his 20-year career (1987-2007). Wallace is the program's winning coach with 334 victories.
- Legendary coach Red Rocha (1963-73) coached UH's first NCAA Tournament team in 1972.
- UH will play its first NCAA Tournament game in the Pacific Time Zone.
- UH's won a share of the Big West regular season title, its first league championship of any kind since 2002 WAC season.
- UH captured the Big West Tournament title as the top seed with wins over 8th-seed Cal State Fullerton (75-44) in the quarterfinals, 4th-seed UC Santa Barbara (88-76) in the semifinals, and 3rd-seed Long Beach State (64-60) in the finals.
- In winning the title, UH defeated LBSU, the only Big West team the 'Bows did not defeat during the regular season.
- UH's women's team also captured the Big West Tournament title, marking the first time since 1994 that both men's and women's teams will appear in the NCAA Tournament in the same year.
- Hawai'i was the fourth different school in the last four seasons to win the Big West regular season title – Long Beach State (2012-13), UC Irvine (2013-14) and UC Davis (2014-15) and first among those teams to win the conference tournament.
- UH is making its 14th all-time postseason appearance and owns a 11-13 record. UH made four NCAA appearances (0-4), eight NIT appearances (10-8) and one CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament appearance (0-1). (Note: UH vacated the 2012-13 season for use of ineligible players and its appearance in the CIT is not counted in this list).
- UH played three teams during the regular season which made the NCAA Tournament - Texas Tech (L, 74-82), Northern Iowa (W, 68-52), and Oklahoma (L, 81-84).
- On the other side of the bracket, UH is 0-2 all-time versus Maryland and 1-1 versus South Dakota State
- UH is 18-102 all-time versus nationally-ranked teams, which includes an 84-81 loss to third-ranked Oklahoma this season in the Diamond Head Classic. Its last victory over a ranked team was against No. 14 Xavier, 84-82 in overtime, during the 2011 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu (Dec. 23).
- UH is 1-9 versus nationally ranked teams on a neutral court, its only victory over No. 25 Fresno State (76-67) in the semifinals of the 2001 WAC Tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
- Eran Ganot surpassed legendary Big West coaches Jerry Tarkanian and Lute Olsen with the most wins by a rookie head coach as a member of the conference.
- Roderick Bobbitt is vying to become the first Big West player to lead the league in both steals (2.2) and assists (5.5) for two straight seasons.
- The 'Bows are a combined 10-2 in road (7-2) and neutral site (3-0) games this season, one win shy of the record 11 set the 2001-02 squad. UH's seven road games are tied with that same '01-02 squad for most "true" road wins in a single season.
- The 49 combined wins over the past two seasons is the most in consecutive seasons in program history, surpassing the 47 wins by the 1970-71 (23) and 1971-72 (24) teams.
- UH's 13 league wins is second most all-time second only to the 2001-02 team (15-3).
- UH is 9-0 when Big West Player of the Year Stefan Jankovic scores 20 or more points this season.
- UH is 23-0 when out-rebounding its opponents this season and 3-5 when getting out-rebounded. UH is 1-0 when rebounds are tied.
- Guard Isaac Fleming (9.5 pts./2.3 asts.) left the team prior to the final regular season road trip. Fleming appeared in 23 games making five starts and averaged 23.6 minutes played per game.
Bay Area Connections
UH assistant coach John Montgomery spent six seasons with the California Golden Bears basketball program - 2008-11 as director of operations and 2011-14 as assistant coach. The Bears went to four NCAA Tournaments and two NITs and compiled a 130-73 mark during his tenure. The 2009-10 team won the Pac-12 for the first time since 1960.
Senior guard Roderick Bobbitt was raised in Oakland, Calif., and is a 2011 graduate of Castro Valley High School, where he was a two-time league MVP.
Senior guard Quincy Smith was raised in Antioch, Calif., located in the East Bay and is a 2011 graduate of Deer Valley High School. Smith also attended City College of San Francisco for one season.
Head coach Eran Ganot spent eight total seasons at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., in two different stints (2003-06 and 2010-15), most recently as the Gaels' associate head coach. During his most recent stint, SMC compiled a 124-44 record with two NCAA and three NIT appearances.
Life on the Road
UH is the most well-travelled team in Division I basketball logging more than 26,000 air miles on five road trips (includes flight to Spokane, Wash.) and having spent more than a month living in hotel rooms.