Early season tournaments continue to emerge and increase from a competition standpoint. Non-conference schedules have gotten tougher and college basketball fans prepare for premier match-ups and upsets even in November.
Let’s take a look at the Maui Invitational.
Tournament Date(s): November 19-21, 2012.
Tournament Location(s): Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii.
Other Participants: Colgate, Coppin St., Elon, Florida Atlantic.
Tournament Summary: The Maui Invitational is always a great barometer to where a team is headed in their season; just ask the 2010-11 Connecticut Huskies. This year, national powerhouses like North Carolina, Marquette, and Texas are all prepared to do battle. A team like USC could be a surprise this year while Illinois and Mississippi St. are desperate to forget last season. The Butler Bulldogs are an interesting prospect in this tournament, as they look to take a core of new and old players into their first season of in the Atlantic 10. Oh, and don’t forget about the host team, Chaminade!
Player to Watch: Andrew Smith, Butler: You were expecting a player from a big school, right? Truth is, even after Butler missed the NCAA Tournament last year, they’re still very much on everyone’s minds. What’s the one thing in common with the two Bulldogs’ championship game teams? They both had a fundamentally sound big man to lean on in Matt Howard. Smith is that guy this time around. The Bulldogs will need Smith to battle down low for rebounds and be their rock. Look for him to make crucial plays in the Maui Invitational like Howard did back in his college basketball days.
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