CougCenter is your place to be for everything related to the Diamond Head Classic. This is the second of eight capsule previews of the participating teams.
Head Coach: Gib Arnold (7-2, first year)
Record: 7-2 (No. 230 Kenpom.com)
Best victory: 77-59 over No. 241 Montana State (home)
Worst loss: 54-53 to No. 239 Cal Poly (road)
Offense: 94.9 adjusted efficiency (250th); 53.8 eFG% (38th), 26.9 TO% (341st), 39.2 OR% (20th), 46.8 FTR (37th)
The Warriors' adjusted efficiency number is horrendous despite pretty solid peripherals -- with the exception of that turnover percentage. There are two reasons for that.
One is that the efficiency figure is adjusted for the fact that the defensive schedule they've faced is ranked 341st by Pomeroy. They've built that 7-2 record against some pretty crappy competition. The second factor is that their efficiency is uncharacteristically tied to those turnovers. For the vast majority of teams, eFG% correlates most strongly with offensive efficiency. Hawaii is among the minority: Their most strong correlation is TO%, -.73. That's an absurdly high number, and it suggests that if this team could ever stop turning the ball over one out of every four trips down the floor, it might really have something going.
Forward Bill Amis, a 6-9/235 senior is the guy who drives the bus for the Warriors, but he's been out for a month with a stress fracture in his right foot. He's a force in the paint (65 percent on 2-pointers) and is an excellent offensive rebounder, leading to a stellar 115.8 offensive rating. He was supposed to play on Friday but did not; it's unclear whether he's going to play in this tournament, as he was reportedly back in a boot today. The Warriors also are likely to be without 6-3 guard Hiram Thompson -- he's equally adept inside and outside. He gets to the free throw line and shoots well (if not very often) from behind the arc.
Left to carry the majority of the load is Joston Thomas, a 6-7/235 forward. He takes the majority of shots -- 30.5 percent of them when he's on the floor, to be exact -- but he's been incredibly inefficient, posting just an 81.6 offensive rating. Blame it on his awful 2-point percentage: 50.7 percent is low for a big man. The bottom line is that this team is going to have a really, really hard time scoring points against most teams in this tournament. It won't help that their first opponent, Florida State, is the best defensive team in the field.
Defense: 102.2 adjusted efficiency (211th); 45.9 eFG% (84th), 19.9 TO% (226th), 27.4 OR% (27th), 25.5 FTR (13th)
Hawaii doesn't force many turnovers, but the Warriors do a great job of defending the 3-point line (53rd nationally), a big reason for their great eFG% mark. The low adjusted defensive efficiency mark is again a function of their opponents' weak offense (344th nationally). The one quality opponent they played, BYU, had its way with Hawaii to the tune of a 119.1 efficiency.
This is an excellent defensive rebounding team, although again, it's tough to say if that's due more to Hawaii or the competition. Both Thomas and 6-10 sophomore Vander Joaquim will block a fair amount of shots.
Overall, Hawaii is probably the longest shot to win this tournament. Kenpom gives the Warriors just a 7% chance to even get by their opening round opponent, Florida State. They'll likely be an underdog in every game they play, unless they face San Diego.
Check out CougCenter's full coverage of the Diamond Head Classic here.