Hawaii cold from long range, still earns huge upset win over Cal

SPOKANE, Wash. -- President Barack Obama saw it coming: 13-seed Hawaii over 4-seed Cal in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

He admitted that, yes, it was a homer pick.

His reasoning?

“If they get hot shooting 3s, that’s a possible upset,” Obama told ESPN's Andy Katz in the annual Barack-etology segment.

The president was right in choosing Hawaii, which won 77-66 Friday. The rest we’ll chalk up to the possibility he hasn’t had as much time to keep up with his home state’s athletic program the past few seasons.

The Rainbow Warriors shot just 33 percent on 3-pointers this season and never shot better than 46 percent from that range in a game. Against Cal, those numbers slumped even more, as Hawaii hit just 3 of 14 shots from beyond the arc.

It was the Rainbow Warriors' third-worst 3-point shooting performance of the season. But strangely, it has never really been a huge issue for them; they are now 11-3 in games in which they shoot 30 percent or worse from that distance.

Instead, Hawaii mucked out a win in a sloppy, foul-laden game that featured a Cal team without two of its best players -- Tyrone Wallace (fractured hand) and Jabari Bird (back spasms).

In the first half, Hawaii players went at Sam Singer (Wallace’s backup) and Jaylen Brown, getting both of those players to pick up three fouls apiece before halftime. Both would eventually foul out.

And when the Rainbow Warriors got to the free throw line, that’s where they got hot, knocking down 20 of 25 for 80 percent.

So, President Obama’s bracket -- and Hawaii’s hopes in the tournament -- live another day.

“I hoped he would pull for his hometown team,” Roderick Bobbitt said Thursday. “So we’ve got to make him proud.”