Your Guide To The Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament
Get Your Head In The Game
November 21-23, 2016 ~ Lahaina Civic Center
It’s never too early to start looking ahead to the college basketball season. And when you can spend Thanksgiving weekend in Maui watching some of the nation’s top powerhouses square off in one of the best in-season tournaments in the country - well - it’s never too early to start planning either. Here’s are the Top 3 things you can expect to see during your trip of epic basketball proportions:
Home Of The ~ Tar Heels
With a disappointing, last-minute, buzzer-beating loss to Villanova in the NCAA Championship Game, you better believe UNC will have a score to settle. And they’ll bring that motivation (and six of their top eight leading scorers from last year) to Maui, where the Tar Heels have won the tourney three times in the past (1999, 2004, 2008).
Home Of The ~ Ducks
A #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament just last season, this PAC-12 favorite made it all the way to the Elite Eight. Ranked by virtually every media outlet with a pre-season ranking in the Top 10 for the 2016-17 season, look for the Ducks to make some noise (in the form of quacks) this year in Maui.
Home Of The ~ Badgers
The Badgers should claw their way into the Maui Invitational as a top contender, returning all major contributors to their Sweet Sixteen team from last season. As a result, this is a team built on experience, so don’t be surprised to see their in-season ranking climb at the conclusion of tournament play.
Home Of The ~ Huskies
A two-time winner of the Maui Invitational (2005 & 2010), the Huskies always seem to have at least one emerging star who starts to gain national attention when they participate here. And with one of the consensus top national recruiting classes coming to Storrs next season, that might not be changing anytime soon.
The Other Players
Other Contenders ~ Hoyas, Cowboys, & Volunteers
The other three perennial powerhouses making the trip to Maui this year are the Hoyas of Georgetown, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and the Tennessee Volunteers. And of course, never sleep on the Maui Invitational gracious host, Chaminade. As history has shown, the Silverswords are capable of an upset or two themselves.
Speaking of history, the Maui Invitational debuted in 1984, with the Providence Friars barely edging out host Chaminade in the championship game by only two points. From that point on, the in-season tournament seemed to progressively draw more and more high-profile NCAA basketball programs to compete each year. In fact, eight teams that have previously won the Maui Invitational have also gone on to cut down the nets at the NCAA Tournament that same season as well! It’s also a prime place to catch future NBA stars before they become famous. From legendary sharp shooters like Dell Curry (yes, Steph’s dad) and Michigan alum Glen Rice - to present-day dynamos like Kemba Walker - all three were previous Maui Invitational MVPs.
More than 4,000 out-of-state visitors descend on the intimate Maui Invitational each year. And with the venue’s capacity only hovering around 2,400, fans can’t be watching all the time. Luckily for you, not only are you at one college basketball’s premier tournaments, you’re also in Maui. So we’d like to think there more than a few options in which to pass the time whenever games aren’t being played. So take your family on a world-renowned whale watch. Corral your crew and head to the pristine coastal sands. Take to the seaside hiking trails or just relax on a sunset dinner cruise. Tickets don’t go on sale for the tournament until August, but you can start the planning process now. Because when you schedule a vacation around the 2016 Maui Invitational, you’re in for an action-packed trip filled with basketball, beaches, and a boatload of fun.
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