So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance

A look at the remainder of the Vulcan Men’s Basketball season and their chance for a PacWest Tournament berth

Larry Bush playing basketball in the Vulcan's gym

Editor-in-Chief Peter Holden Chao
Photos Courtesy of UH Hilo Athletics

At the end of the 2010-2011 season the Vulcan Men’s Basketball team finished with an overall record of 16-11, a deceiving result when compared to their 8-8 record in conference play. A few years prior in the 2008-2009 season the team finished 15-12 overall, with a 7-5 record in conference play. Those two seasons represent the only winning results for the Vulcans extending back to 2006.

As it stands the Vulcans sit at 8-8 overall and 6-6 in PacWest Conference play. With 10 conference games left to play, six at home, and four away, the burning question remains will the Vulcans finish with a winning record and can they make it to the PacWest Tournament?

For a winning record, the Vulcans need only win six games. For a postseason berth, that’s where it gets more complicated. Six teams from the PacWest Conference are selected to enter the single elimination tournament, with the top two seeds receiving first-round byes. The tournament has been held every year since 2013, but the Vulcans have never made the cut.

In the 2017-2018 season Chaminade secured a spot in the PacWest Tournament with a measly 11-9 record in conference play. Two years prior Dominican University secured a spot in the tournament at 10-10 in PacWest play. Could this finally be the year that the Vulcans break through?

Examining the Vulcans remaining schedule, seven of the next 10 games are against opponents that are currently ranked higher in conference play. On the schedule is top-ranked Point Loma, who is undefeated in the PacWest having won 14 games in a row. As well as unfamiliar foes Azusa Pacific and Biola University, whom the Vulcans will play twice each within the span of 21 days.

Currently the Vulcans sit in seventh place in the PacWest. They sit behind Point Loma (14-0), Concordia (11-2), Azusa Pacific (10-4), Chaminade (8-4), Holy Names (8-7), and Biola University (6-6) respectively. The Vulcans (6-6) currently hold the same record as Biola, but against the top-5 teams they are a combined 0-5.

In a season that began with only three returning players, the Vulcans have been riddled with injuries losing freshman guard Damani Whitlock and senior forward Devin Johnson for the remainder of the season.

The load has been placed on the shoulders of the remaining 10 men. With only 10 games left, now is the time for the Vulcans, both new and old, to decide whether they will rise to the occasion, or remain on the outside looking in.

The Vulcans open a four game home stand Friday, Feb. 1 against Azusa Pacific, followed by Biola on Feb. 4, Academy of Art on Feb. 8, and Dominican University on Feb. 10. All Vulcan home games will be held at the Civic Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.