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Maui Invitational to be played Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in North Carolina

The Maui News

The bracket for this year’s Maui Invitational was announced Wednesday, with the men’s college basketball tournament set for Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, N.C.

This is the first year since the tournament’s inception in 1984 that it will not be held on the Valley Isle. In a move expected due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizer KemperLesnik announced last month that the event would be moved from Lahaina Civic Center to the Mainland.

The tournament was originally scheduled for Nov. 23-25, but a change there was also necessary following the NCAA’s decision to postpone the opening of the college basketball season to Nov. 25.

The tournament field remains the same: Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

Stanford appeared to be out of the tournament after the Pac-12 announced in August it would halt all athletic competition through the end of the year; at the time, a Cardinal official confirmed to The Maui News that the team would not be playing on Maui. However, the conference recently reversed its decision and will allow basketball teams to play at the start of the season.

The first-round matchups include Texas vs. Davidson and Indiana vs. Providence on one side of the bracket, and North Carolina vs. UNLV and Stanford vs. Alabama on the other. The championship game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Hawaii time on Dec. 2.

KemperLesnik, as well as Maui officials — including Mayor Michael Victorino — stressed last month that the tournament’s move to the Mainland would be for this year only.

“While the decision to move this year’s Maui Jim Maui Invitational to Asheville, North Carolina did not come easily, we look forward to reuniting with the Maui community in 2021 at the Lahaina Civic Center,” KemperLesnik said.

Maui Jim, which has been the title sponsor of the tournament since 2015, is not filling that role for this year’s event. In a joint statement on the Maui Invitational website dated Tuesday, the sunglasses company and the tournament announced a “long term extension of the Maui Jim title sponsorship,” with the exception of this year.

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