I know I can come off as a pessimist or someone who hates on a lot of things. So consider this blog different. Why? Because the Maui Invitational is everything that's right about college basketball. Outside of the NCAA Tournament it's my favorite event every year, even if they stupidly decided to move the title game up to 5pm instead of late night. I miss those days of having the late night tip for the title game and trying to catch it out at a bar in my younger days or doing anything to stay awake as an old now.
But this year? This year is arguably the single best early season tournament we've ever seen. Look at this field:
We have 5 top-11 teams in the country playing. We could see a semifinals of Purdue/Marquette and Tennessee/Kansas. Fuck yes. Talked about the legend of the Maui Invitational with Titus last week, check it out here:
But it's legendary. We've had all-time games, we had the historical Chaminade upset of Virginia and Ralph Sampson. Even though this year it's not being held at the legendary Lahaina Civic Center because of the wildfires, it's what college basketball should be. These events should be as loaded as possible, something I know is tough because invitations and fields are set months in advance. Results matter, but they also don't. A Tennessee loss to Purdue isn't going to hurt them, but a Tennessee win at Maui? You're looking at potentially the new No. 1 team in the country. That shit matters, especially when later in the year we start debating who is a 1 seed and what not.
Oh and we get Bill Walton back on the call:
You have guys competing for NPOY. You have teams that are highly ranked. This is what everyone complains about college basketball. That we don't get these awesome matchups and the season doesn't draw interest until after football ends. Well, not with the Maui. This is what makes college basketball perfect. Actually what would make it perfect is Chaminade winning a game or not getting the semis we think we're getting. It's the perfect prep for March.