by Barca Blog - Don't ask head coach Kevin Stallings about the Maui Invitational just yet.
His plan is to keep the Commodores focused on Friday's matchup with Saint Mary's, instead of the tropical paradise that awaits in Hawaii.
"We’ve not discussed Maui yet (with the team)," Stallings said during Wednesday's press conference. "Honestly, it’s not our concern. The only concern is that we have to pack for it because we’re leaving from Saint Mary’s and then going on to Hawaii, I’m pretty sure.
"Saint Mary’s is in midseason form right now based on their first two games and we’re going to have our hands full."
Stallings is right. The Commodores cannot overlook this game in Moraga. Picked to finish third in the WCC, Saint Mary's is 2-0 this season with blowout victories over New Mexico State (100-68) and San Diego State (80-58).
A year ago, the Gaels made the NIT after posting a school record for wins with 28. And in 2008, they made the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in school history. They've also been nearly unbeatable at home, going 15-1 in each of the last two years at McKeon Pavilion (which seats 3,500).
"We have to play a very, very good Saint Mary’s team," Stallings added. "They’ve hit 25 3’s in their first two games. We’re going into a little-bitty gym that gets really loud and rowdy. Maybe in some ways, we’ve got a more difficult challenge on Friday night (compared to Maui).
"Believe me, they've got our full attention."
Tipoff is set for 10:30 p.m. CT. Follow the game on VUcommodores.com by clicking here.