After three consecutive grinders, the BYU Cougars hope to dispatch the Hawaii Warriors with greater ease this afternoon at Energy Solutions Arena.
Back-to-back heart-stoppers at the South Padre Island Invitational were followed by a hard-earned victory at Creighton on Wednesday, so the Cougars are sort of due for a more comfortable win, and today's contest could be that kind of game.
This is not to say Hawaii is a bad basketball team; indeed, the Warriors are 5-1 on the season and one of the better shooting teams you will find (9th nationally in effective field goal percentage, for example).
However, they have too many fundamental flaws, from experience issues to depth issues, to ball security issues, to playing-on-the-road issues, to altitude issues, which BYU will capitalize on with its up-tempo style of play today.
Only one of 12 players who suited up against BYU last year will see the floor today for Gib Arnold's team, and chemistry has been an ongoing concern, resulting in turnover troubles that have Hawaii as the second-worst team in the country at hanging on to the ball.
The Warriors have not won a non-conference road game since February of 2007, and have lost 13 consecutive road games dating back to February of 2009.
Gib Arnold, of course, is the son of former BYU and Hawaii head coach Frank Arnold. Gib played for Dave Rose at Dixie College, got his bachelor's degree from BYU, and later served as an assistant coach at Provo High School and at (then) UVSC, before moving on to assistant jobs Loyola Marymount, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, CSI and USC before landing his first head coaching gig at Hawaii.
The one Hawaii player who played against BYU last season is the Warriors' best player: junior point guard Hiram Thompson, brother of BYU wide receiver (and current LDS missionary) Brett Thompson.
The older brother is averaging 12.5 ppg on 56% shooting from the field, 58% shooting from the arc (7/12 3pfg) and 82% shooting from the stripe. Thompson averages 3.2 rpg and 3.7 apg.
Hawaii has taken more three throws than its opponents have attempted, but BYU is the much more physical team and gets to the line an average of five times more per game than UH. If the Warriors play soft against BYU, the Cougars should shoot an excellent number from the field today.
On that note, BYU's shooting numbers are picking up. In the first five games, BYU was at 41% from the field. In the last two games, BYU has made 50.4% of its shots.
For a few other tidbits on today's game and some of the BYU Football team's upcoming plans, check out the gameday video blog below. Not sure why we're having issues with the video/audio sync, but I hope it still works for you.You can also find the video on my YouTube channel at [**youtube.com/gregwrubell**](http://www.youtube.com/gregwrubell).