Many were surprised that the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, from the little Big West Conference were able to handle business against the Cal Golden Bears, who feature two potential lottery picks in Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown, while Tyron Wallace is a fringe first rounder. Hawaii, on the flip side, has no projected picks, though, Stefan Jankovic could work himself in there during the tournament or after his senior year next season. I, for one, wasn't as I had picked Hawaii.
A game which featured a lot of whistles, as neither team was able to adjust to the way the game was being officiated brought 49 total fouls called. Sam Singler and Brown both fouled out for the Golden Bears, while Kameron Rooks had four. Brown was struggling all game, turning it over seven times and hitting only one of his six attempts from the field, for a total of four points. The freshman didn't help his stock, at all.
For the Rainbow Warriors, four players picked up four fouls, including Jankovic, who played only a mere 18 minutes. That was all he needed to score 16 points and grab five rebounds, while shooting a solid 5-9 from the field. Senior's Quincy Smith and Roderick Bobbit chipped in with 19 and 17 respectively.
Cal got within one, trailing 47-46 with 11:56 left, before the Warriors ended the game on a 30-20 run, behind 51.9% shooting from the field, while holding the Bears to 41.6%. Hawaii also hit 20-25 from the line, while the Bears shot 65.4%, going 17-26. Turnovers also stung the Bears, who had 16 to the victors 11.
Jankovic needs to remain in the game for the Warriors to have a chance against the Maryland Terrapins, who held off South Dakota State, avoiding being the second five seed to be taken down by a 12. South Dakota was down 34-22 at the mid way point, before bowing out 79-74.
Looking for the first Sweet 16 appearance in school history, after recording the first victory in the Big Dance, it won't be easy, but I do like the Warriors chances if they can remain out of foul trouble and adjust to the officials. With a victory, Hawaii would be the first of the current Big West side to make the round since the 1970s. History WILL be made.