Tennessee State (0-0) at Hawaii (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 8, 11:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: Local. Home Record: TSU 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Away Record: TSU 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee State leads, 6-1.
GAME NOTES: The Stan Sheriff Center is the site of the annual Rainbow Classic, as host Hawaii entertains the Tigers of Tennessee State in the season opener for both programs on Friday night.
The Tigers, under the direction of head coach Travis Williams, are coming off a campaign in which they were 11-5 against the Ohio Valley Conference and 18-15 overall, thanks in large part to an 11-2 mark in their own building.
TSU defeated Morehead State in the 2013 OVC Tournament, 88-75, but then fell to Belmont, 82-73. The squad was invited to take part in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and made a hasty exit after suffering an 84-72 loss to Evansville on the road.
As for the Rainbow Warriors, head coach Gib Arnold helped them make the transition from the Western Athletic Conference to the Big West Conference last season. The team posted a record of 10-8 in the new league and was 17-15 overall. Hawaii finished with a total of just three victories in true road dates.
In terms of the all-time series, TSU has taken all but one of the previous seven matchups. The teams are getting together for the first time in 50 years, with the most recent matchup being a 70-67 win for the Tigers during the 1963-64 campaign.
The teams will again be in action two more times in this event, swapping partners with New Mexico State and Western Michigan.
Patrick Miller is the key figure for the Tigers this season, after posting 14.8 points and handing out 5.9 assists per game a year ago. Miller, who set the single-season school record for assists with 195 and was named to the All- OVC First Team for his efforts, is one of only six players returning from last year's program.
Other players to watch for the Tigers are Michael Green and M.J. Rhett, although neither one was much of an offensive threat last season with just 3.6 and 5.3 ppg, respectively. Rhett did supply plenty of support in the paint with his 6.0 rpg, but with 62 turnovers and just 17 assists, having the ball in his hands was not always a great idea if his first move wasn't to shoot.
One area that certainly needs improvement for the Tigers is in the turnover department where they ranked 316th in the country with 15.4 miscues per outing.
An All-Big West First Team selection, forward Christian Standhardinger will be asked to carry the Rainbow Warriors for much of the season, particularly since there are so many new faces on the roster, some of whom are not even eligible to play in 2013-14. Standhardinger is coming off a campaign in which he scored 15.8 ppg and also pulled down 7.9 rpg. Fellow big man Isaac Fotu (10.1 ppg) has also shown a nose for the ball with 6.2 rpg and because of efforts like those, Hawaii ranked first in the conference and 25th nationally with a rebounding advantage of 5.7 per game.
In the backcourt, Brandon Spearman (9.6 ppg) will be gaining scoring support from Keith Shamburger who is now eligible to play following his transfer from San Jose State. Back in 2011-12, Shamburger was responsible for 13.1 ppg and handed out 5.2 apg for the Spartans.
With far too many unproven players, not to mention the lengthy trip to Honolulu, the Tigers might be in for a shock as they perhaps suffer just their second loss ever versus Hawaii.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 66, Tennessee State 61
11/08 10:40:55 ET