The Maui Invitational has become an annual tournament filled with exciting games, huge upsets and a glimpse into who will be contenders in February and March. The 2013 tournament gave us buzzer beaters, Division II Chaminade over number 9 North Carolina and a surprise champion, Illinois, lead by their first year head coach. The 2014 field of teams better carry on the tradition of a highly entertaining tournament.
The first eight teams of next years participants have been announce. The home team, Chaminade, will be joined by Arizona, Missouri, Kansas State, BYU, San Diego State, Purdue and Pittsburgh. No one could possibly guess what conference these teams will be representing in a year because of all the changes happening every other week, but normally the Maui Invitational consist of a representative from each of the major six conferences. The teams represented here bring a wide variety of basketball. Arizona will have another highly touted recruiting class joining them on the island, BYU, Pitt and Purdue will bring their grind it out, physical style of basketball and Missouri, K-State and SDSU will bring the elite athletes and try to run everyone out of the most humid gym in America.
Four times the winner of the Maui Invitational Tournament has gone on to win the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship later that season, Michigan in 1988–89, North Carolina twice, in 2004–05 and 2008–09, and Connecticut in 2010-11. Will Illinois win it this year? Only time will tell, but next years tournament is already stocked with some impressive firepower and surely will not disappoint.