Feast Week is here and the only the only thing more appetizing than your dining room table is the Maui Invitational. Always one of the best early-season NCAA Basketball tournaments of the year, this year’s tournament shouldn’t be any different. With an absolutely loaded field and some of this year’s national title contenders, we should be grateful for some of the games we are about to be treated to. Due to the devastating wildfires in Maui, the event will be played in Honolulu, so we will have to find out if the rims at Stan Sheriff Center are as forgiving as the ones at Lahaina Civic Center (unlikely).
The field includes the top two ranked teams in the country in Kansas and Purdue, and they are closely followed by Marquette (4) and Tennessee (7). Gonzaga comes in ranked 11th and is somehow considered one of the bottom half teams in the event. Just typing that out gets me excited for some of the potential matchups. Rounding out the field we have two exciting squads in UCLA and Syracuse as well as host team, Chaminade.
Along with high-ranked teams, this field also has a plethora of players from the Preason Wooden Award Watch List, including last year’s winner Zach Edey (Purdue). Along with him, this year’s edition of the invitational includes Hunter Dickinson, Dajuan Harris Jr., and Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas), Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek (Marquette), Graham Ike and Ryan Nembhard (Gonzaga), Santiago Vescovi (Tennessee), Adem Bona (UCLA), and Judah Mintz (Syracuse). Basically, we are set up for some fireworks. Let’s get into it.