Wichita State will probably be the favorite, but look out for either Notre Dame or Michigan to make some noise on the island of Maui
The matchups were announced by ESPN and the Maui Invitational Twitter page (@MauiInv) on July 18, a full twelve days before Wichita State star sophomore guard Landry Shamet underwent surgery for suffering a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. The timetable for a full recovery, according to Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com, is 12 to 16 weeks. He will be spending the next two weeks on a hard split, then transition eventually to crutches for the next 6 to 8 weeks.
This means he would more than likely begin play on or around Monday, November 20 when the first round of the Maui Invitational begins.
All times listed are in Eastern Standard Time:
2:30 p.m. Marquette vs. VCU, ESPN2
5 p.m. Wichita State vs. California, ESPN2
9 p.m. Notre Dame vs. Chaminade, ESPNU
11:30 p.m. Michigan vs. LSU, ESPNU
Semifinal Round, Tuesday, November 21:
First 2 winners play at 1:30 p.m.,
the 2 winners on the bottom half of the bracket play at 10:30 p.m.
Both games to air on ESPN.
Championship Game: Wednesday, November 22 at 10:30 p.m., ESPN2
Something to keep in mind:
Landry Shamet’s injury is different than when he was forced to redshirt two years ago after suffering a compound fracture in his left foot.
The reigning Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year averaged 11.4 points per game to go along with 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds for the Shockers last season.
With the Shockers getting ready to debut in the American Athletic Conference this fall, Gregg Marshall will have a steady supply of senior leadership to hopefully bring the Shockers back for another potential run at the Final Four.
Three year starters in Conner Frankamp, Shaquille Morris, Rashard Kelly, and Zach Brown should bring lots of excitement in Wichita, Kansas and elsewhere. Most experts and bracketologists are projecting the Shockers as a preseason Top 5 team once the season starts shortly after Halloween.
Will Wade left VCU in the spring to be the new head coach at LSU. If the alphabet soup game turns out right, it will be very interesting watching.
Final early storyline from me features Mike Brey having Notre Dame once again being loaded with talent. Year in and year out, they play to their full potential and get spirited efforts from the starters to the bench and the Irish will be another team to look out for. Thanks in large part since the announcement of Bonzie Colson deciding not to enter the NBA Draft, he will be sticking around for one more year. The Fighting Irish are coming off a 26-win season, as they are hoping to get past their 2017 NCAA Tournament hangover after starting the second round game in Buffalo so slowly against the familiar press from West Virginia. Notre Dame also is fortunate to have the steady hands of senior point guard Matt Farrell leading the charge.
I hope to do a short blog and podcast once that weekend rolls around, so I can give fans a primer on what to expect during those last three hectic days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. And yes, there will be more holiday tournaments to feast your eyes and ears on (and add your hungry mouths as well) during that long four-day holiday weekend. Yes, my online fans–the plate will be full even before the cranberry sauce is added right next to your turkey and my favorite dish, the stuffing.
Bottom line is this: These games will play a larger role in how the Selection Committee will choose the 2018 bracket. I will have the key details in my next blog soon.
Pleasant dreams, everyone and I hope the West Coast is trying their best to stay cool during their record heat wave.