With the Pacific Ocean as backdrop, the intimate 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center serving up center court, and NCAA Division II Chaminade University playing host, seven of the nation's best will ride the wave to Maui on November 22-24 to compete for the coveted Wayne Duke Trophy, named in honor of the Tournament Chairman Emeritus and former Big Ten Commissioner, and a title that often sets the tone for the NCAA college basketball season.
Among the match-ups for this year's tournament: Game One features host Chaminade, coached by Aaron Griess, taking on last year's Big 12 runner-up, Texas, a consensus Top 10 team heading into the '04-'05 season, coached by Rick Barnes. The winner of this tournament opener will face the winner of Game Two, in which Steve Alford's Iowa Hawkeyes, 1987 Maui Invitational champions, tip off against two-time national champion Louisville Cardinals, coached by Rick Pitino.
In the other bracket, Game Three features a prime-time battle with BYU, coached by Steve Cleveland and runner-up to Duke in the 1992 Maui Invitational, going head-to-head with three-time national champion and 1999 Maui Invitational champion, North Carolina, coached by Roy Williams. That winner will face the winner of Game Four, in which last season's Pac-Ten champion and top-ranked team in the nation going into the NCAA Tournament, Stanford, under new coach Trent Johnson, battles first-time Maui competitor, Tennessee, coached by the much heralded Buzz Peterson.
ESPN will offer live coverage of the tournament with a minimum of nine games. This translates to national television exposure for all eight participating teams, a minimum of two games televised nationally for six teams, and all three games televised nationwide for four of the eight teams in the tournament.
"We're excited to have such an outstanding field competing at the 21st annual EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Hosted By Chaminade this coming November," said newly appointed Tournament Chairman, Dave Gavitt. "It's also personally gratifying for me to be in a position to help guide an event that has become the premier college basketball early-season tournament in the country, thanks in large part to the leadership of my predecessor and friend for more than 25 years, Wayne Duke."
Remaining All-Day Tickets, as well as Booster Tickets for all eight schools, will go on sale August 17, 2004, at 8am Hawaii time (2pm Eastern time) via the official tournament web site at www.mauiinvitational.com, and through Oahu Travel, the official tournament travel agency, which can be reached at (800) 826-3822.