EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Announces 2012 Teams
By Wendy Osher
The 2011 tournament is still four months away, but organizers of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational have already finalized the field for the 2012 event. Butler and three-time tournament champion North Carolina will headline the 2012 field for the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. The eight team field for 2012 also includes Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, Texas, USC and host Chaminade University.
The tournament, which is held annually in November at the Lahaina Civic Center on Maui, is considered the nation’s premier early-season college basketball tournament.
Tournament officials say the 2012 field exemplifies their commitment to bringing the nation’s top teams to the island of Maui. “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,” said Tournament Chairman David Odom.
An up-close look at the 2012 Teams:
Butler: In 2012, the Bulldogs, led by coach Brad Stevens will make their first appearance in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Butler, in their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship Game in 2011, lost to Connecticut (the 2011 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Champions).
Illinois: Coach Bruce Weber led the Illini to a third place finish in the 2007 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. The Illini lost to Arizona in the 2000 championship game and finished third in 1987.
Marquette: Current coach Buzz Williams will try to bring the Golden Eagles their first EA SPORTS Maui Invitational title. Marquette played in the 2007 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational and finished 2-1 after losing to Duke in the championship game.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs and coach Rick Stansbury will make their first trip to the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Mississippi State will be the ninth school from the SEC to ever participate in the Tournament.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels, led by Coach Roy Williams, return to Maui. They are three-time EA SPORTS Maui Invitational champions (2008, 2004, 1999).
Texas: The Longhorns, under the direction of Coach Rick Barnes, will make their fourth trip to the Valley Isle. Texas finished third in both 2008 and 2004.
USC: Coach Kevin O’Neill will lead the Trojans back to Maui for the program’s second visit to the island. They finished fifth in 1999 in a field that featured two of that year’s Final Four teams.
Chaminade: Chaminade upset Oklahoma in last year’s EA SPORTS Maui Invitational and has also beaten Princeton (2007) and Villanova (2003) in the Tournament.
Meantime, the 2011 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, is just four months away. The 2011 Championship Round includes Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA and host Chaminade. Ticket and travel packages for the 2011 Championship Round are now on sale at mauiinvitational.com.