Kansas to Face Arizona in First Round of the 2005 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational
July 13, 2005
MAUI, Hawaii –
Kansas will face Arizona in the first round of the 2005 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Hosted by Chaminade University on Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. (Central) as KemperSports Marketing, operator of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational since 1990, today announced the official bracket for the 2005 season-opening tournament. The 22nd edition of college roundball’s season kickoff features eight teams competing during three action-packed days in November within the intimate confines of Maui’s 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center.
Seven NCAA Division I teams, six of whom represent former NCAA champions, will join Division II host Chaminade University November 21-23 to vie for the venerable Maui crown – and the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of numerous EA SPORTS Maui Invitational participants who complemented their Thanksgiving week island experience with season-long and post-season success.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, the new 24-hour college sports network, will combine to offer live coverage of all 12 contests, marking the first time every game of the event will be televised nationally.
Each team in the 2005 “field of dreams” has battled on Maui’s hallowed hardwood. Among the matchups for this year’s tournament: Game One showcases host Chaminade, under new coach Matt Mahar, taking on 2005 Final Four contender and 1991 Maui Invitational victor, Michigan State, a two-time national champion coached by Tom Izzo. The winner of this tournament opener will tackle the winner of Game Two, in which 2005 West Coast Conference champ and perennial powerhouse, Gonzaga, coached by Mark Few, faces 2002 national champion and runner-up in Maui’s 1994 contest, Maryland, coached by Gary Williams.
Game Three features 1997 national champ and 2000 Maui title-holder, Arizona, a Pac-10 squad that advanced to the 2005 Elite Eight under veteran coach Lute Olson, dueling with Big 12 force and two-time NCAA champion, Kansas, who topped the Maui Invitational field in 1996. That winner will tip off against the winner of Game Four, where Stan Heath’s Arkansas Razorbacks, 1994 national champion and 1991 Maui runner-up, battle Jim Calhoun’s two-time national champion Connecticut Huskies, who return to Maui this November with major plans to improve on 2000’s fifth-place finish.
At a glance, the 2005 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational features six former national champions (Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland and Michigan State); five 2005 NCAA Tournament participants (Arizona, Connecticut, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State); and 2005 Final Four and Elite Eight contenders, Michigan State and Arizona, respectively.
“For more than two decades, this tournament has set the tone for the NCAA basketball season, and this year fuels the fire with an assembly of teams largely considered one of the best-ever in an early-season event,” said Tournament Chairman Dave Gavitt, who last year was handed the reigns by fellow sports icon Wayne Duke. “Maui is a breeding ground for the spirited competition that carries teams to the Big Dance in March.”
Remaining school Booster Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, August 16, 2005, at 8 a.m. Hawaii time (2 p.m. Eastern time) via the official tournament Web site at http://www.mauiinvitational.com, and through Oahu Travel, the official tournament travel agency, which can be reached at 800.826.3822. Kansas Booster Tickets are sold out.
EA SPORTSÔ, the world’s leading interactive entertainment software maker, enters its fifth year as title sponsor of the Maui Invitational.
Other tournament sponsors include the Maui Visitors Bureau, County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation and Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Sheraton Maui Resort and Kapalua Bay Hotel & Ocean Villas serve as host hotels for the thousands of boosters who accompany their teams to Maui each year.
For up-to-the-minute tournament schedule, ticket and general information, visit the official tournament Web site at http://www.mauiinvitational.com.