18 Jul Know Your Foe: 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational Bracket Revealed
The Maui Jim Maui Invitational today announced its 2017 Tournament bracket. The top half of the bracket features competitive tilts between Marquette and VCU, and Wichita Stateand California. The bottom half showcases Notre Dame facing Chaminade and Michigan taking on LSU as the eight programs vie for early-season bragging rights and the Wayne Duke championship trophy.
The 34th edition of the nation’s premier early season Tournament will take place Nov. 20-22 at the Lahaina Civic Center on the island of Maui. This tradition was initiated by one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history, when Chaminade defeated then No.1 Virginia on Dec. 23, 1982. The historic matchup will celebrate its 35th anniversary later this year.
All 12 Championship Round games of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
“Final Four programs, NCAA Tournament regulars and rising powers will make the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational event as exciting and unpredictable as we’ve had in quite some time,” said Tournament Chairman, Dave Odom. “Each team is very well coached by some of the best motivators and basketball minds in the country. The Lahaina Civic Center is in for a March-like atmosphere this November.”
“It’s a fantastic field,” said veteran ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas. “With the star power and brand name power of Notre Dame and Wichita State at the top of the list, it is going to be a great Tournament. There are also up and coming teams attending that will challenge for national honors by the end of the season.”
Over the last seven seasons, Michigan, VCU and Wichita State have appeared in the Final Four and, along with Notre Dame, rank among the nation’s winningest programs. The Shockers are fourth with 208 victories, behind blue-blood programs Kansas, Kentucky and Gonzaga. The Rams (187) are 12th, ranked ahead of the likes of Villanova, Michigan State and Syracuse, with the Irish 24th (171) and Michigan 28th (169). Each team, along with Marquette, return important pieces that made them NCAA Tournament programs a season ago.
Meanwhile, changes in coaching regimes provide renewed excitement at Cal and LSU. Wyking Jones moves to the head chair after serving as an assistant with the Golden Bears during the last two seasons. He welcomes a trio of four-star recruits to Berkeley as Cal looks for its third straight postseason berth. In Baton Rouge, former VCU coach Will Wade brings in a quartet of four-star prospects that are part of the nation’s 19th ranked recruiting class on the ESPN Recruiting Nation Top 40.
Over the years, the Tournament has proven to be a key ingredient in a team’s success. Since the Tournament’s inception, 125 teams that have participated in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational have gone on to compete in the NCAA Tournament, an average of nearly four per season. Forty-five teams have advanced to the Sweet 16, seven of which have gone on to win the NCAA championship, with North Carolina the last team to do so just a season ago.
Each of the teams in the 2017 field have made at least one Tournament appearance. Michigan is the lone program to take home titles, doing so in 1985 and 1988.