Maui Invitational Preview

This is usually one of the fun events on the college basketball calendar.

The environment inside the slightly cramped Lahaina Civic Center reminds you of your high school fieldhouse–people in the stands commonly fanning themselves to try and stay cool with the biggest difference is that the coaches get to wear festive attire on the sideline (leis optional on the sideline).

Today’s quarterfinal action should feature some interesting games:

2:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2:

St. John’s vs. Vanderbilt.  How will Chris Mullin’s team react to playing a potential SEC up-and-comer?

5 p.m. on ESPN2:

Wake Forest vs. Indiana.  The Hoosiers will go far as far as Yogi Ferrell will take them.  Question is, will Wake Forest try to draw the Hoosiers into doing silly fouls?

9 p.m. on ESPNU:

Kansas vs. Chaminade.  The host school has not won in this tournament in such a long time, but they have come close in the last few years.  Even with a different Kansas group visiting the Big Island, I expect Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk to win by at least 15 points.

11:30 p.m. on ESPN2:

UNLV vs. UCLA.  The true Alphabet Soup game, if there ever was one.  Call this game a toss up, since both teams don’t have quite the star power that we have been accustomed to seeing over the years.

Semifinals are on Tuesday night and the championship game will be at 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

There are also some other big holiday tournaments, namely the Legends Classic in Brooklyn (LSU is involved) and the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.  Northwestern hopes not to catch the Sleeping Giants as they will take on North Carolina at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2, a few hours after ESPNU brings us the game between Missouri and Kansas State.  Also worth keeping an eye is the Battle 4 Atlantis, as Gonzaga continues to rack up those frequent flyer miles.  Look out, newly minted baseball MVP’s in Josh Donaldson of Toronto and Bryce Harper of Washington.  The baseball schedules may be crazy, but they are nothing compared to what Gonzaga has had to go through over the last two weeks–traveling to Japan, back to Spokane, and now heading to the Bahamas to play in a tournament.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

I will be back at the end of the month with a brief review from the Maui and other key tournaments that are taking place mostly from Thursday through Saturday.

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