Maui Invitational Tournament
|Current season, competition or edition:
2015 Maui Invitational Tournament
Logo of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational
|No. of teams||12|
|Venue(s)||Campus Sites (Opening & Regional Games)
Lahaina Civic Center
Maui, Hawaii (Championship Round)
|Most recent champion(s)||Kansas|
|Most titles||Duke Blue Devils (5)|
The Maui Jim Maui Invitational is an annual early-season college basketball tournament that takes place Thanksgiving Week in Lahaina, Hawaii at the Lahaina Civic Center on the island of Maui. It is hosted by Chaminade University of Honolulu, an NCAA Division II school, and seven NCAA Division I men's basketball teams are invited to Maui to complete the field. The Maui Invitational has been played since 1984, is carried by ESPN. Maui Jim became the title sponsor of the tournament in 2015, with the previous fourteen tournaments sponsored by EA Sports.
The tournament had its roots in a game that is considered one of the greatest upsets in college history. On December 23, 1982 the top-ranked and undefeated University of Virginia made a scheduled trip to Honolulu for a game. Originally seeking to play the University of Hawaii, Virginia agreed to play Chaminade, who at the time belonged to the NAIA, on the trip instead. In a game that was not televised and only covered by one sportswriter from outside the local media (Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post, who was in Honolulu to cover the University of Maryland's performance in the inaugural Aloha Bowl), Chaminade defeated the Ralph Sampson-led Virginia squad 77-74 in front of 3,300 spectators at the Honolulu International Center. Shortly after the upset, Virginia head coach Terry Holland congratulated Chaminade's athletic director, Mike Vasconcellos, and suggested to him that he consider beginning a Hawaii tournament. Two years later, the Maui Classic was inaugurated with Chaminade reaching the finals and losing to Providence.
Today the tournament provides schools an opportunity to compete on a neutral court with some of the top basketball programs in the country. Associated Press college basketball editor Jim O'Connell calls the Maui Jim Maui Invitational "the best in-season tournament in the country – the standard by which all others are compared." Some 108 schools representing 26 conferences and 40 states have competed in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Four times the winner of the Maui Jim 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.
Of the eight teams which play in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, generally there is one from each of the six major conferences (the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East (before its 2013 split), ACC, and the SEC), one from another conference such as the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, the Mountain West Conference or the Atlantic 10, and Chaminade. Beginning with the 2011 tournament, the field includes four additional mainland teams that play the Maui-bound teams at home. The four mainland teams will then play each other in regional games. The winner from each game will square off in the championship contest, preceded by the consolation game between the losers.
Effect on local economy
Each year more than 4,000 out-of state visitors—boosters, players, officials, team and game personnel, media representatives, sponsors, production crews and basketball fans in general—attend. The 2007 Maui Invitational Tournament ranked among Hawaii's top revenue-generating events, bolstering the local economy by more than $8 million according to financial data released by the Maui Visitors Bureau. The tournament has brought more than $110 million to Maui's economy since the tournament's debut in 1984 (through 2005).
Yearly champions, runners-up, and MVPs
Championships by team
|Duke||5||1992, 1997, 2001, 2007, 2011|
|Syracuse||3||1990, 1998, 2013|
|North Carolina||3||1999, 2004, 2008|
Future tournament fields
- Eleni Gill, Lorin. "Maui Jim is title sponsor of Maui Invitational basketball tournament". Pacific Business News. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- Wolff, Alexander (December 24, 2007). "The Greatest Upset Never Seen". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- "Maui Invitational". ESPN. Retrieved 26 Nov 2012.
- "EA SPORTS Maui Invitational". Kemper Sports. Retrieved 26 Nov 2012.
- "Men's basketball to participate in Maui Invitational; Blue Raiders will host inaugural Maui Regional Games". BRAA and Middle Tennessee Athletic Communications. August 4, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- Boylan, Peter. "Maui welcomes basketball fans". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 26 Nov 2012.