Hawaii vs Washington State Betting Preview
Night owls that will be cooking or wrapping presents tonight will be treated to a good one in the Diamond Classic semifinals between Hawaii and Washington State. Hawaii opened its tournament with a win over Pepperdine, while Washington State inched past George Washington with a two-point victory. The Cougars have opened as a 3-point favorite over the Warriors in Honolulu.
Hawaii vs Washington State Betting Odds
|Saturday, December 24||Diamond Head Classic Betting Notes, Courtesy of Caesars|
|Point Spread:||Washington State Cougars -3 at Hawaii Warriors|
|Arena:||Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu|
|Game Time:||12:30am ET / 9:30pm PT|
Hawaii vs Washington State Analysis
Home edge has been an advantage at times in past Diamond Head Classics for Hawaii, which advanced to the semifinals on Thursday with a win over Pepperdine. The best news for Eran Ganot, however, has been recent performances from oft-injured 6-6 wing Samuta Avea, who hadn’t been featured in almost three years after missing the past two seasons due to Covid and then injury a year ago. Avea’s recent 18-point effort vs. St Francis (PA) was his best of the season and suggesting that Ganot now has the third sharp prong he needs on offense alongside classy G Noel Coleman (15.4 points per game) and former Texas transfer 6-10 Kamaka Hepa (13.1 points per game), who presents matchup headaches with his ability to float to the perimeter.
Kyle Smith’s analytics-heavy approach at Washington State got the Cougs to the NIT Final Four last March, though it is taking awhile for the new mix to coagulate after almost all of the ball-usage from a year ago either graduated or left for elsewhere via the portal. Emerging from the vacuum has been 6-5 junior wing TJ Bamba (16.5 points per game) as a viable go-to option, and Smith did recently get sharpshooting guard Jabe Mullins (52-percent from beyond-the-arc) back from a near month-long absence just in time for him to hit a game-winning triple on Thursday in the opening round vs. George Washington.
There is a pretty notable strength of schedule discrepancy in this one as Washington State has already played five teams in KenPom’s top-100, while Hawaii has played only two, and neither of those two were in the top-70. The Cougars and Warriors have lost all seven of those aforementioned games.
Despite the losing record, Washington State is still sitting inside the top-75 in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency and overall efficiency. The Cougars are one of the best rebounding teams (on both sides of the ball) and they are shooting over 37-percent from beyond the arc. They have relied heavily on the three-point shot, shooting over 44-percent of their shot attempts from distance (No. 35), and scoring nearly 40-percent of their total points (No. 19) from there as well. The Warriors are holding opponents to just 27.6-percent shooting from three-point range, which is No. 19 nation.
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