Duke, Arizona headline 2018 Maui Invitational - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Duke, Arizona headline 2018 Maui Invitational

LAHAINA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational, America’s premier early season basketball tournament, will feature eight Division I programs for the first time in its 35-year history when Arizona, Auburn, Duke, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa State, San Diego State and Xavier visit the island. Host Chaminade University will play on the mainland in the Opening Round for the first time, Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament Chairman Dave Odom announced today.

The eight Division I entries are all NCAA Tournament regulars. “Our fields always showcase the best in college basketball, and 2018 will be as strong as we’ve ever had,” said Odom, a former Coach of the Year in both the SEC and ACC.

The 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be played November 19-21 at Maui’s famed Lahaina Civic Center, where over the past five years 44 participating players have been drafted by the NBA, and 13 teams that started their season in Maui advanced to the Sweet 16 or further into the NCAA Tournament during the same year. All 12 Maui games will be telecast by ESPN networks.

Six of the eight DI teams competing in the 2018 field have made NCAA Tournament statements in recent years.  Duke, which has won the Maui Jim Maui Invitational five times – more than any other program in history – captured the NCAA Championship in 2015. Arizona and Gonzaga both appeared in the Elite Eight in 2015 and Iowa State, Xavier and San Diego State have each earned Sweet 16 berths in the past five seasons. With a wave of top-flight recruits joining their programs, Auburn and Illinois are poised to make their returns to the NCAA Tournament.  

The 2018 event represents the first time in Tournament history that eight Division I teams take the floor on Maui, a format which will continue in the following alternating years (2018, 2020, 2022 and beyond). Chaminade, which has hosted the Tournament since its founding and produced national headlines following upset wins, will continue to host and compete in the Opening Round on the mainland during those years. For 2019 and the following alternating years, Chaminade will compete in the Championship Round on Maui.

“This new arrangement expands the reach of Chaminade University, the men’s basketball team and our student-athletes,” said Chaminade University President, Brother Bernard Ploeger.  “Our players will have increased exposure competing on the mainland in some of college basketball’s largest arenas and our coaching staff will have an opportunity to extend their recruiting presence, thus amplifying the visibility of the University and our brand.”

“The Maui Jim Maui Invitational holds a special place in the hearts of Silverswords everywhere,” said Brother Ploeger.  “With that tradition in mind, we are excited about the new opportunities these changes present for our University.”

Since the inception of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in 1984, 114 schools representing 26 conferences and 40 states have competed in the event. Teams that have participated in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational throughout the event’s history own 67 of the 78 NCAA Division I Basketball Championships.  Six schools have gone on to win the National Championship after competing in Maui earlier in the season.

About the 2018 Championship Round Teams

Arizona:

  • Sean Miller is entering his eighth season as head coach at Arizona, and owns a 308-108 (.740) head coaching record overall
  • Miller has been a part of 15 NCAA Tournament teams as a player, assistant coach and head coach, including nine in his 12-year head coaching career
  • He has guided teams to six Sweet 16s and four Elite Eights in his coaching career
  • Arizona has earned two Maui Jim Maui Invitational titles (2000, 2014) and will be making its seventh Tournament appearance

Auburn:

  • Entering his third year at Auburn, Bruce Pearl has guided his teams to the NCAA Tournament 17 times and the postseason 18 times in 21 years
  • Pearl’s last stint was at Tennessee, where he took the program to six straight NCAA Tournaments, two Sweet 16 (2007, 2008) and the 2010 Elite Eight, marking the most successful six-year run in Volunteers history
  • He is one of only seven active head coaches who has led his teams to 10 NCAA Sweet 16 appearances
  • This will be Auburn’s first appearance in the Tournament

Duke:

  • Mike Krzyzewski is now in his 36th season as the head coach of the Blue Devils
  • Duke owns five National Championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015)
  • 2018 marks Duke’s sixth appearance in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational
  • The Blue Devils earned five Maui Jim Maui Invitational titles, the most of any participant (1992, 1997, 2001, 2007, 2011)

Gonzaga:

  • Mark Few is entering his 18th year as Gonzaga’s head coach
  • Few has led Gonzaga to an Elite Eight appearance (2015) and six Sweet 16 appearances (2000, '01, '06, '09, '15, ‘16)
  • The Bulldogs made an 18th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, a streak that started when Few was an assistant coach in 1999 and currently ranks as the fourth-longest active streak behind Kansas, Duke and Michigan State
  • 2018 marks the Bulldogs’ fifth appearance in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational
  • Gonzaga earned a Tournament title in 2009

Illinois:

  • John Groce enters his fifth season in charge of the Fighting Illini program
  • Groce has led the Illini to an average of more than 19 wins per season during his tenure along with postseason appearances in three of his first four years in Champaign
  • He arrived at Illinois after four seasons as head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to an 85-56 overall record as well as Mid-American Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012
  • 2018 marks Illinois’ fifth appearance in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational
  • Illinois earned the Tournament title in 2012

Iowa State:

  • Steve Prohm coached the Cyclones to a 23-12 mark and advanced to a fifth Sweet 16 in school history during his first year at the helm of the program last season
  • Iowa State has been ranked 56-weeks straight in the AP Top-25
  • The Cyclones hold nation's third-longest streak behind only Kansas and Arizona
  • 2018 marks the second time the Cyclones take the floor in Maui, having last appeared in 1990

San Diego State:

  • Steve Fisher is entering his 18th season as San Diego State’s head coach
  • The Aztecs have made it to the postseason 11 consecutive years with trips to the NCAA Tournament in six of the last seven seasons
  • The Aztecs enter the new season having won the last three Mountain West regular-season titles, including last year’s outright championship
  • SDSU leads the Mountain West with 10 conference championships 
  • 2018 will be the fourth time SDSU takes the floor in Maui

Xavier:

  • Eighth-year head coach Chris Mack was selected as the 2015-16 USBWA Henry Iba National Coach of the Year
  • Mack has led Xavier to the NCAA Tournament in six of his seven seasons at the helm, including the Sweet 16 in 2010, 2012 and 2015
  • Xavier finished second in the Big East during the 2015-16 campaign
  • In 10 of the last 11 seasons, Xavier has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances
  • 2018 marks Xavier’s first appearance in Maui
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