Two more teams in the Diamond Head Classic next week are the hosts of the event, Hawai’i, and one of the more familiar non-football west coast teams, St. Mary’s.
For Iowa State, playing on the road is always tough and any game against Hawaii would be a virtual true away game. Things would be even tougher against the Gaels, who are the Cyclones’ biggest threat in the tournament.
St. Mary’s Gaels
- Record: 8-0
- Preseason West Coast ranking: 3rd
- RPI: 11th
- SOS: 67th
- Head coach: Randy Bennett
- 16.3 assists per game (28th nationally)
- Give up 64.9 points per game (51st nationally)
- Hold teams to 9.5 assists and 30.4 rebounds per game (18th and 15th nationally, respectively).
If there’s one team that could challenge Iowa State the most, it’s going to be the Gaels. They still have a high-scoring offense despite being just the fourth-highest team in this tournament, and their efficient ball movement will test the Cyclones should they ever match up in Honolulu. Also, they will be undefeated heading into the event like ISU barring a loss to American on Thursday.
St. Mary’s doesn’t shoot the 3-point shot often, but they are efficient. They’ve made 65 of their 149 attempts, firing at an incredible 43.6 percent behind the arch – eighth-best nationally. In comparison, Iowa State has attempted 212 3-pointers this season.
Four players are averaging at 40 percent or better when making more than 20 attempts from the perimeter. A couple of players to watch are Stephen Holt and James Walker III. Holt has made 17 of 39 from the 3-point line while Walker is hitting an even better 15 of 28.
Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
- Record: 7-2
- Preseason Big West ranking: 6th
- RPI: 178th
- SOS: 282nd
- Head coach: Gib Arnold
- 86.4 points per game (14th nationally)
- 49 percent field goal average (33rd nationally)
- Rank 3rd or higher in all major statistics in Big West (points, rebounds, assists, FG%).
- Worst statistic: Team gives up 71.3 points per game (ranks 189th nationally but first in conference).
The whole tournament is hosted by Hawai’i, and everyone will be playing in their normal home base, Stan Steriff Center, over the 3-day event.
Here’s the deal with the Warriors: Their stats look fantastic and, on paper, they are a legit, high-scoring team like Iowa State and Boise State. But their opponent difficulty level will be turned much higher during the DHC.
Both losses were against New Mexico State and Missori. Their best win? Probably a 33-point victory over New Orleans, but the Privateers also weren’t competitive against Boise State and their RPI of 78 is a bit inflated with their schedule.