MAUI, HAWAII (October 26, 2016) – The 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational, America’s premier early season basketball tournament, will feature eight Division I programs for the first time in its 35-year history when Arizona, Auburn, Duke, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa State, San Diego State and Xavier visit the island. Host Chaminade University will play on the mainland in the Opening Round for the first time, Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament Chairman Dave Odom announced today.
The eight Division I entries are all NCAA Tournament regulars. “Our fields always showcase the best in college basketball, and 2018 will be as strong as we’ve ever had,” said Odom, a former Coach of the Year in both the SEC and ACC.
The 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be played November 19-21 at Maui’s famed Lahaina Civic Center, where over the past five years 44 participating players have been drafted by the NBA, and 13 teams that started their season in Maui advanced to the Sweet 16 or further into the NCAA Tournament during the same year. All 12 Maui games will be telecast by ESPN networks.
Six of the eight DI teams competing in the 2018 field have made NCAA Tournament statements in recent years. Duke, which has won the Maui Jim Maui Invitational five times – more than any other program in history – captured the NCAA Championship in 2015. Arizona and Gonzaga both appeared in the Elite Eight in 2015 and Iowa State, Xavier and San Diego State have each earned Sweet 16 berths in the past five seasons. With a wave of top-flight recruits joining their programs, Auburn and Illinois are poised to make their returns to the NCAA Tournament.
The 2018 event represents the first time in Tournament history that eight Division I teams take the floor on Maui, a format which will continue in the following alternating years (2018, 2020, 2022 and beyond). Chaminade, which has hosted the Tournament since its founding and produced national headlines following upset wins, will continue to host and compete in the Opening Round on the mainland during those years. For 2019 and the following alternating years, Chaminade will compete in the Championship Round on Maui.
“This new arrangement expands the reach of Chaminade University, the men’s basketball team and our student-athletes,” said Chaminade University President, Brother Bernard Ploeger. “Our players will have increased exposure competing on the mainland in some of college basketball’s largest arenas and our coaching staff will have an opportunity to extend their recruiting presence, thus amplifying the visibility of the University and our brand.”
“The Maui Jim Maui Invitational holds a special place in the hearts of Silverswords everywhere,” said Brother Ploeger. “With that tradition in mind, we are excited about the new opportunities these changes present for our University.”
Since the inception of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in 1984, 114 schools representing 26 conferences and 40 states have competed in the event. Teams that have participated in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational throughout the event’s history own 67 of the 78 NCAA Division I Basketball Championships. Six schools have gone on to win the National Championship after competing in Maui earlier in the season.