A Reason To Give Thanks

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Next week is a time to give thanks. While many of us will gathering around the dinner table on Thursday to utter words of appreciation, there are some on Maui who will be expressing their gratitude on Monday. That’s right basketball fans, it is time to give thanks for the EA Sports Maui Invitational. It is a fantastic opportunity to take in the pageantry of big time college basketball in the friendly confines of the Lahaina Civic Center. This early season tournament brings some of College Basketball’s best teams together for a three day feast of hoops in a venue that is not much bigger than a typical high school gym.

This year’s tournament features top 25 programs Arizona and San Diego State. Both teams played in the NCAA tournament last year and are predicted to have strong squads this season. Arizona is currently ranked number 2 in the polls with SDSU ranked 16th. Pittsburgh and BYU are two more teams in this year’s tournament who made it to last year’s NCAA field of 64. The EA Sports field is rounded out by tournament host Chaminade and traditional basketball powers Purdue, Kansas State and Missouri. You would have to think that Arizona and San Diego State are the two most likely finalists. Those teams squared off in last year’s sweet sixteen with Arizona coming out on top. That said, you never know what can happen with college basketball. In 2010, Connecticut went from being the surprise champions of a stacked Maui Invitational to being the 2011 NCAA Champions.

The tournament tips off at 9:30 AM on Monday. If you can’t make it live, you can tune into the action on ESPN and ESPN2. If you are a college basketball fan and you have yet to make a Maui Invitational, put in your bucket list. It is truly basketball paradise in paradise.

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