Maui Jim Maui Invitational bracket unveiled

The Maui News

With five titles and a 15-0 record here, Mike Krzyzewski knows just how important the Maui Jim Maui Invitational can be for the season at a program like Duke.

The brackets were unveiled today, showing that the Blue Devils will play San Diego State in the second quarterfinal on Nov. 19 at noon at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Duke owns titles from the 1992, 1997, 2001, 2007 and 2011 Maui Invitationals – the tournament will mark its 35th anniversary with its Nov. 19-21 run.

“Maui is always a sensational tournament and it’s an honor for our program to be selected again,” Krzyzewski said in a news release. “This year, the field is as good as it’s ever been, and we’ll learn a lot about our young team in that environment against great competition.”

The quarterfinal matchups feature Auburn taking on Xavier at 9:30 a.m. before Duke squares off against SDSU in the top half of the bracket, while the bottom half will feature Arizona facing Iowa State at 4 p.m. and Gonzaga playing Illinois at 6:30.

All 12 tournament games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU — the championship game is set for noon on Nov. 21.

Duke is set to arrive on Maui with the nation’s consensus top-ranked recruiting class, including R.J. Barrett, a 6-foot-7 guard out of Montverde Academy in Florida who is rated as the No. 1 player in the class by nearly every recruiting service. He is joined by fellow top-five recruits by Cameron Reddish of Pennsylvania and Zion Williamson of South Carolina.

“Each of the eight teams that step on the hardwood at the Lahaina Civic Center is capable of winning the 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational,” tournament chairman David Odom said in a release. “All 12 games in Maui will help shape the course of the 2018-19 college basketball season, and the team that leaves the island with the Wayne Duke Championship Trophy will have incredible momentum to begin the year. The atmosphere is going to be electric, and we’re looking forward to hosting the teams and their fans in November.”

ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said: “It’s another great Maui Jim Maui Invitational field, obviously with two or three teams that potentially are Final Four and national championship worthy.

“It’s almost like an NCAA Regional bracket, but it’s played in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”

Jay Bilas, an ESPN broadcasting veteran, has been to several tournaments here.

“To win the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, a team has to have depth and talent, and has to be able to survive three games against great competition,” Bilas said. “You cannot have an off game in Maui or you will be sent to the consolation bracket. One thing is for certain, you cannot back into a Maui title, and you cannot luck into one. This is a title you have to earn. Usually, a Maui title is a sign of a national championship-caliber team. That is especially true this season.”

Last season, Notre Dame won the Maui title, but after several injuries decimated the Irish roster later in the season, they became only the second Valley Isle champion to miss the NCAA Tournament.

“The Maui Jim Maui Invitational in the last 25 years has been college basketball’s most prestigious tournament in the country,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “We are grateful to be part of this historic field. We’ll do our very best to represent the SEC. All eight of the programs in this year’s field are capable of getting to an Elite Eight.”

Gonzaga is ranked No. 2, Duke No. 4 and Auburn 12th in a preseason poll by NBCSports.com. Gonzaga won the 2009 Maui championship.

“The Maui Jim Maui Invitational is the best preseason tournament in college basketball,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who often vacations on the Valley Isle. “This year’s field may be the best ever, made up by legendary programs. We love taking our fans and program to Maui. It has a special place in my heart with how much time I’ve spent there with my family.”

Arizona won the 2000 and 2014 Maui titles.

“Our program is honored to once again be a part of one of the storied events in college basketball,” Wildcats coach Sean Miller said. “Arizona basketball and the Maui Jim Maui Invitational have a great history together that goes back years. This season’s bracket is full of excellent programs and will prove to be one of the marquee events in our game yet again. Our players, staff and great fans are excited for another tremendous trip to Hawaii.”

MAUI JIM MAUI INVITATIONAL

Nov. 19-21

At Lahaina Civic Center

Monday, Nov. 19

Quarterfinals

Auburn vs. Xavier, 9:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

Duke vs. San Diego St., noon (ESPN2)

Arizona vs. Iowa St., 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

Gonzaga vs. Illinois, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Tuesday, Nov. 20

Consolation semifinals

Auburn-Xavier loser vs. Duke-San Diego St. loser, 9:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

Arizona-Iowa St. loser vs. Gonzaga-Illinois loser, noon (ESPN2)

Semifinals

Auburn-Xavier winner vs. Duke-San Diego St. winner, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

Arizona-Iowa St. winner vs. Gonzaga-Illinois winner, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday, Nov. 21

Fifth-place game, 9:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

Championship, noon (ESPN)

Seventh-place game, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

Third-place game, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

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