The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team announced its non-conference schedule for the 2020-21 season, its first season with an expanded conference slate. With the addition of Cal State Bakersfield and UC San Diego to the Big West, UH now plays 20 league games and nine non-conference opponents. Eight of UH’s non-conference games will be played at the Stan Sheriff Center, highlighted by a match-up with national powerhouse North Carolina.
Power 5 At Home: The ‘Bows open the season with Washington State on Nov. 11 in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic and take on North Carolina on Nov. 20…the last time UH played multiple Power 5 schools at home outside of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic tournaments was in 1998…UH could play up to four Power 5 schools at home this year with Arizona State and Oklahoma also visiting for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Cougars Come Calling: The last time UH opened the season with a Power 5 team at home was in 2005 when it upset No. 4 Michigan State…Washington State comes to the islands for the third time in the last 10 years with the previous two visits in the Diamond Head Classic (2010, ’15)…UH and WSU, however, did not face off in the DHC and will play each other for the first time since 1991.
Return Of The Heels: North Carolina returns to Honolulu for the second time in four years….the Tar Heels last visited in 2016 before a sold out Stan Sheriff Center crowd…UNC won that game 83-68 though UH trailed by as little as three points in the second half against the then-No. 5 Heels …the SSC also sold out in UNC’s previous visit to Honolulu in 1994.
Head Coach Eran Ganot says: “This year’s non-conference slate continues our growing trend of facing a challenging non-conference slate. Two years ago, we participated in two ESPN Events, including the Wooden Legacy in California. Last year, we played two top 25 teams on the road. This year, we’ll do something that hasn’t been done in a long time in hosting two Power 5 teams early. I know our staff and team look forward to the challenge and I’m happy for our fans who have the opportunity to witness some very good college basketball.”
Top-Notch Tourneys: UH hosts two tournaments: the 56th Annual Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic and the 12th Annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic…the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic will be a three-team round-robin Nov. 11, 13, and 15 with Washington State ( (Pac-12) and San Diego (WCC)…the ‘Bows will also host the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic during the Christmas holiday…the previously announced field includes Arizona State, Oklahoma, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Seattle, Temple, and Western Michigan…San Diego State was ranked as high as fourth in the nation last season, while both Arizona State (20) and Saint Mary’s (26) were 20-win squads….the complete DHC bracket will be released on a future date.
Ganot says: “As always, we’re proud to host two nationally-regarded events right here in the Stan Sheriff Center. The matchups in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic will challenge us right off the bat as we face teams from both the Pac-12 and the WCC. The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic continues to bring in the best of the best.”
Familiar Foes: Also on this year’s non-conference slate are Hawaii Pacific (Nov. 25) and Alcorn State (Dec. 2)….this will be the third regular-season meeting in the last six years between UH and HPU…UH and Alcorn State (SWAC) have previously met two times before with the last contest coming in 2007.
California Dreaming: UH’s lone non-conference road game will be Dec. 2 at Santa Clara (WCC)…it will be UH’s seventh all-time visit to Santa Clara with the last coming in 2006…all 11 of UH’s road games will be in California with 10 coming in Big West play…the Big West schedule will be announced at a future date.
Ganot says: “We have a group we’re really excited about and can’t wait to get to work with. There’s a lot of new faces. They’ll be to thrown right in the fire, particularly early on, as we face some tough competition. However, I’m confident in this group and I know it will help us down the road as we prepare for Big West and post-season play.”