Maui Invitational bracket filled with intriguing matchups
LAHAINA — The EA Sports Maui Invitational announced the official bracket for the 2010 edition of the nation’s premier early-season college basketball tournament.
Now in its 27th year, the eight-team competition will be held during Thanksgiving week, Nov. 22 to 24, at Lahaina Civic Center.
Three teams with a combined 11 national championships — Connecticut, Kentucky and Michigan — will headline the 2010 field.
They will be joined by Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, Wichita State and host school Chaminade University of Honolulu in the hunt for the coveted Wayne Duke Championship Trophy.
First-round action tips off on Monday, Nov. 22, in the top half of the bracket with game one featuring Wichita State, which finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference last year and is coached by Gregg Marshall, and 2005 EA Sports Maui Invitational champion and two-time national champion Connecticut led by coach Jim Calhoun.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of game three, which pits two-time national champion and 1991 Maui champion Michigan State directed by Tom Izzo against tournament host Chaminade and the winningest coach in program history, Matt Mahar.
The bottom half of the bracket starts with game two featuring Coach Jeff Capel and Oklahoma, which made the NCAA Tournament two of the last three years, against seven-time national champion, 1993 Maui champion and last year’s SEC regular season and tournament champion Kentucky led by head coach John Calipari.
Game four pairs 1996 and 2002 Maui runner-up Virginia, led by second-year Coach Tony Bennett, the 2007 AP National Coach of the Year at Washington State, against Pac-10 power Washington, which under the direction of Coach Lorenzo Romar will make its first appearance in Maui.
“This year’s 27th annual tournament showcases another field of powerhouse competition,” said EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament Chairman David Odom.
“College basketball fans from around the globe can look forward to another remarkable and exciting week of basketball at one of the most unique basketball venues and most beautiful destinations in the world.”
The ESPN networks will combine once again to offer live television coverage of all 12 tournament games.
Remaining game tickets for the 2010 tournament, including school-specific booster tickets, will be on sale for the general public on Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 9 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time via www.mauiinvitational.com.
In addition, tickets are still available for Sunday’s (Nov. 21) “An Evening with the Coaches: Tip-Off Banquet,” a special dinner and entertainment event with the 2010 head coaches and teams. Visit the website’s “Tickets & Travel” section for details.
In addition to title sponsor EA Sports, other tournament sponsors include the Maui Visitors Bureau, County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Adidas and Geico.
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Westin Maui Resort & Spa serve as host hotels for the thousands of fans and boosters who annually accompany their teams to Maui.
KemperSports/KemperLesnik has operated the tournament since 1990.