Which of these events over the weekend should you put the least stock in…

a) Stanford loses at home to a UC Irvine team picked to finish sixth in the Big West.
b) Gonzaga struggles at home to an Idaho team picked to finish last in the WAC.
c) Michigan State gets pounded at Hawaii.

My answer is (c), mainly because weird things happen on the islands.

Over the summer, I did a crude study on home court advantage and concluded that home court advantage has as much to do with the hassles of traveling as the fervor of the fans. Going to Hawaii maximizes the non-crowd factors an opposing team deals with. The long flight and possible jet lag can have an impact, as can the distraction of a vacation-like atmosphere, and if those things don’t get you, the tropical climate will wear you out during the game.

Could it be a coincidence that Chaminade also seems to pull out a win against a D1 team in Maui about every other year? The biggest upset of all time was pulled by Chaminade. Hawaii has had their share of upsets also. Most recently Michigan State, but there was a shocker over #2 Kansas in ‘97. People were abuzz about Hawaii after that win – they ended up settling for an 8-6 WAC record and a trip to the NIT.

Yes, bizarre things happen for mainland teams when they visit Hawaii. That’s also revealed by comparing the Rainbows’ home and road records in conference play in recent years.

  Difference between home and road record
     (Conference games only, 1999-2005)

  Team           Home    Road    Diff in Win%
1 Bradley       46-17   13-50       .524
2 Hawaii        44-14   14-44       .517
3 Alabama       43-13   16-40       .482
4 New Mexico    36-13   13-36       .469
5 Iowa St.      42-14   16-40       .464

Among all Division I teams, only Bradley has a bigger difference between home and road conference winning percentage since the ‘98-‘99 season. If conference teams – presumably with coaches who have experience handling the Hawaii trip – can’t crack the mystery of the islands, don’t you have to believe that non-conference teams have an even more difficult time of it?


Lines o’ the Night


                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Sasha Kaun             28  9-15  0-0  7-11 5-16  1 1 0  0  2   25
Result: Win. Kansas 90, Idaho State 66.

Sasha Kaun, let me rock you. Let me rock you, Sasha Kaun. That’s all I wanna do.

Seriously, you could have put Sasha Kaun in Phog Allen Fieldhouse by himself for 28 minutes last season and he couldn’t have produced like he did against Idaho State. He was 10 of 30 from the line all of last season!


                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
John Bryant            10  3-6   0-0  4-4  3-15  1 0 1  2  2   10
Result: Win. Santa Clara 97, Cal State Stanislaus 53.

I don’t normally feel comfortable spotlighting a guy who only played in garbage time against a D2 team, but 15 boards in 10 minutes? That should get the coach’s attention.


                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Jamareo Davidson       21  8-9   0-0  4-4  4-11  0 1 0  0  2   20
Result: Win. Alabama 105, Alabama St. 68.

Personally, I was disappointed this game wasn’t moved into ESPN’s Rivalry Week.