The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team will play on the East Coast for the first time in two decades when they compete in the Gulf Coast Showcase, Nov. 24-26. UH will face San Francisco in the opening round of the eight-team, three-day tournament that precedes the Thanksgiving weekend. Also in the tournament are East Carolina, Evansville, Florida Gulf Coast, Fresno State, Green Bay and Marist.
Five of the teams in the field won 20 or more games, while the same number also qualified for the postseason, including UH’s opening-round opponent. USF went 21-12 last season and qualified for the NIT. UH and USF will play the nightcap on Monday, Nov. 24 at 8:30 p.m. EST. The Rainbow Warriors will face either Florida Gulf Coast or Marist the next day.
This is the second year of the Gulf Coast Showcase. Louisiana Tech outlasted St. Bonaventure to capture the inaugural tournament last season. The tournament takes place at Germain Arena in the Southwest Florida city of Estero and will be UH’s furthest trip east since playing at North Carolina on Dec. 1, 1993.
“We are really looking forward to playing in the Florida Gulf Showcase,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “Our mantra this year is ‘Kuilia Pono’ – Finish Strong. We believe this outstanding tournament will really help us prepare for the end-of-the-year Big West Tournament. We will be playing three quality mid-major programs in three days. It will also prepare us for traveling on the road as we will be playing five games in eight days and traveling thousands of miles. It will be a challenge for this young team, but a challenge we embrace.”
Also as part of the event, five “opening games” will be played at home sites, including UH versus UH-Hilo at the Stan Sheriff Center on Wednesday, Nov. 19. UH’s game versus Hawaii Pacific, originally scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 26, will move to Thursday, Nov. 6 as an exhibition contest.
UH entered the Gulf Coast Showcase after Washington State and Hawai’i came to a mutual agreement to cancel their meeting in the 2014 Cougar Hardwood Classic. That game was originally scheduled to be played at Seattle’s KeyArena on Saturday, Dec. 13.
The Gulf Coast Showcase is one of three preseason tournaments the Rainbow Warriors will compete in this season. UH also hosts the 50th Annual Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic and the 6th Annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.