The Maui Invitational is usually the best Thanksgiving Holiday college basketball tournament every year. The 2010 field was stacked with teams like eventual National Champion UConn, Kentucky, Washington, and Michigan State. The 2012 Maui Invitational will also be loaded featuring Marquette, Illinois, and Butler.
Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports initially reported that Marquette, Illinois, and Butler will be part of the 2012 Maui Invitational field along with North Carolina, Texas, USC, Mississippi State, and the host school Chaminade early this month and that was confirmed today. That is a very impressive list of six major conference schools including three-time Maui Invite champs UNC and back-to-back National Runner-up Butler. It could also mean a shot at revenge for the Golden Eagles who were eliminated and embarrassed in the Sweet 16 this past March by UNC.
“The 2012 field exemplifies the Maui Invitational’s commitment to bringing the nation’s top teams to the island of Maui,” said Maui Invitational Tournament Chairman David Odom in a release. “With legendary basketball programs, led by some of American’s most notable and proven coaches, as well as dedicated fan bases coming to Maui in 2012, we are looking forward to another exciting, fun-filled and competitive week of Basketball in Paradise.”
Under third-year head coach Buzz Williams, Marquette finished runner-up at the 2007 Maui Invitational, losing to Duke in the championship game. More recently, MU took second place in the 2009 Old Spice Classic, losing to Florida State in the title tilt. This past season, the Golden Eagles were defeated by both Duke and Gonzaga at the CBE Classic in Kansas City. MU will be part of the Paradise Jam this November along with Virginia, Mississippi, TCU, Drake, Drexel, Winthrop, and Norfolk State. Clearly that field pales in comparison to the 2012 Maui Invite.
The 2011 Maui Invitational field is also loaded featuring likely pre-season Top 25 teams Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, and UCLA, along with Tennessee, Georgetown, and Chaminade. The tournament will also expand this up-coming season with a new 12-team format that will include games being played on the mainland.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a fomer contributor at The Washington Times Communities.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.