North Carolina’s edging of Gonzaga for the national championship on Monday completed the Tar Heels’ journey back from heartbreak in last season’s NCAA final.
UNC, which won four games in Hawaii (at UH, then three in the Maui Invitational) became the first Rainbow Warrior opponent to go all the way since Carolina did it in 1992-93.
Now that all games for the 2016-17 season are in the books, here’s a breakdown of how UH’s full schedule rated.
While there were some strong opponents, like UNC, Illinois State, Seton Hall and Princeton, a number of others in the 300-RPI range dragged the Rainbow Warriors’ overall strength of schedule way down.
Making matters worse, the Big West finished at 29 in conference RPI, which is realistically about as low as it could possibly go.
Hawaii’s final RPI (correction: strength of schedule) tally was 311 of 351 Division I teams. UH’s RPI was 299. Granted, RPIs were locked in after conference tournaments wrapped up, and before the true postseason tournaments.
The best win of the year by RPI was over Texas State (179), while the worst loss was to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (333).
I wrote in my season in review story a couple weeks back that UH exceeded expectations with its 14-16 (8-8 BWC) year. I stand by that, given the unique circumstances that surrounded the season — totally rebuilt roster, uncertainty at point guard going in, and the lack of a tangible postseason reward until the NCAA relented at the last second. UH was picked to finish eighth in conference and finished fifth.
That said, you’ve got to hope for a stronger schedule next year.
Here’s 2016-17 from strongest RPI to weakest:
Team, record, RPI, SOS, UH result(s) vs. team, Postseason
North Carolina, 33-7, 5, 11, L, NCAA champion
Illinois State, 28-7, 33, 124, L, NIT second round
Seton Hall, 21-12, 44, 40, L, NCAA first round
Princeton, 23-7, 47, 149, L, NCAA first round
Utah, 20-12, 83, 100, L, NIT first round
UC Irvine, 21-14, 133, 191, L-L, NIT first round
Troy, 22-15, 147, 230, L, NCAA first round
UC Davis, 23-13, 166, 315, L-L, NCAA first round
Texas State, 22-14, 179, 276, W, CIT quarterfinals
Long Beach State, 15-19, 213, 192, W-L-L
Cal State Fullerton, 17-15, 269, 341, L-W, CIT first round
Florida Atlantic, 10-20, 282, 228, W
Cal Poly, 11-20, 296, 289, W-W
Cal State Northridge, 11-19, 313, 313, W-W
UC Santa Barbara, 6-22, 324, 167, W-L
UC Riverside, 7-21, 330, 296, L-W
Southern Miss, 9-22, 331, 279, W
Delaware State, 10-22, 332, 339, W
SIU Edwardsville, 6-24, 333, 271, L
Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7-25, 345, 336, W
Hawaii Hilo, 10-16, —, —, W