Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Game 31: #3 Idaho (18-12, 9-5) vs. #6 Hawai`i (15-15, 6-8)
When: March 8, 2012 (Noon PT)
Where: Las Vegas, Nev. (Orleans Arena)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Online Video: www.WACSports.com
Live Stats: www.WACSports.com
A Look at the Rainbow Warriors
Hawai`i went 15-15 overall and 6-8 in the WAC during the regular season. The Warriors tied for fifth in the league with Louisiana Tech. UH averages 73.4 points on 45.8 percent shooting and allows 74.2 points and a 42.5 percent clip. The Warriors out-rebound opponents by a 37.1-35.0 average. The triumvirate of Vander Joaquim, Joston Thomas and Zane Johnson averages 14.0 points each, while Joaquim adds 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. With 82 made 3-pointers this year, Johnson is UH’s career record holder in that category. Senior guard Jeremiah Ostrowski leads the WAC with 6.65 assists per game and is second in the league with a 2.47 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Hawai`i Head Coach Gib Arnold
Gib Arnold is in his second season at Hawai`i and has a 34-28 coaching record with the Rainbow Warriors. He led the team to a 19-13 overall and 8-8 WAC record last season, including a CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament bid. Before coming to UH, Arnold was an assistant for five seasons at USC under former Idaho head coach Tim Floyd. Arnold has also coached at Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and Utah Valley. He is a 1994 graduate of Brigham Young.
Vandals and Rainbow Warriors
Thursday’s game is the 20th in series history between Hawai`i and Idaho and is the first postseason meeting and the first neutral-site game between the two. The Vandals have a 13-6 edge in the series, including wins in five of the last six meetings. Idaho has held UH below 70 points in five of the last six games. The road team won each game this season, with a 76-70 UH win at Moscow and an 82-63 Idaho victory at Honolulu.
Hanging Out Near the Top
Idaho’s 82-63 win at Hawai`i on Mar. 1 assured the Vandals of at least a No. 3 seed at the WAC Tournament and clinched Idaho’s third top-three conference finish in four seasons under head coach Don Verlin. Idaho has won at least nine games in WAC play three times under Verlin. The last four-year span with a least three third-place conference finishes was 1991-94, when the team won the 1993 Big Sky regular-season title and finished third in both 1991 and 1994.
Idaho and Nevada are the only WAC teams this year to register at least one victory against every other WAC opponent. For Idaho, it’s the first time the team has achieved that feat in WAC play and the first time overall since 1989-90, when the team went 13-3 in Big Sky play and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In the last two WAC seasons, the regular-season conference champion finished with one WAC loss...and both times that one loss was to Idaho.
Senior Deremy Geiger is having one of the best long-range shooting seasons in Idaho history. Freshman Connor Hill already has the most makes and the highest 3-point percentage by a frosh in Idaho history. Geiger is 80-185 (.432) from long range this season, while Hill is 45-110 (.409). In his two years at Idaho, the Vandals are 16-4 when Geiger makes three or more 3-pointers. The team is 12-3 this season when Hill makes two or more.
On a High Note
Idaho won seven of its final eight regular-season games. You’d have to go back to 1981-82 to find the last time an Idaho team achieved that feat. That Vandal squad won its final eight regular-season games, went 27-3 overall , won the Big Sky Conference, advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the year ranked No. 8 in the final Associated Press poll.
Click on the PDF link above to view complete game notes.