College basketball: 2016 Maui Invitational bracket unveiled
MAUI, Hawaii– The 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational Championship Round bracket, featuring four preseason Top-25 teams and two No. 1 seeds from the 2016 NCAA Tournament, was announced Tuesday. The 33rd edition of the nation's premier early-season college basketball tournament will be held Nov. 21-23 at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii.
Georgetown, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee, UConn and Wisconsin will join host Chaminade in the Championship Round. Both sides of the bracket are balanced with two Top-25 teams according to ESPN rankings. No. 6 North Carolina and No. 20 UConn appear in the bottom half of the bracket, and No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 10 Oregon appear in the top half.
The bracket is heavy with national title contenders. Both North Carolina and Oregon were No. 1 seeds in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The two programs, along with Wisconsin, earned berths to the Sweet 16. Oregon advanced to the Elite Eight, while North Carolina finished as the national runner-up last season. Each team returns key contributors this year.
All 12 Championship Round games of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be televised on ESPN networks.
Since 1999, this year's teams have combined for six national championships and 15 trips to the Final Four. In all, the field has combined to win 14 national titles, make 40 trips to the Final Four and earn 194 NCAA Tournament berths. Four teams, UConn (2010-11), North Carolina (2004-05, 2008-09) and Michigan (1988-89) began their seasons as Maui Jim Maui Invitational champions before culminating their season with an NCAA title.
The 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational will mark the seventh Tournament appearance for North Carolina, the most for any program, and sixth appearance for Coach Roy Williams, tied for the most of any head coach in Tournament history. Tennessee's Rick Barnes, who has won more than 600 games in his 22-year career, will become the first coach to lead three different programs in Maui (Providence, 2000; Texas, 2004, 2008 and 2012). Four coaches, including Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood, Oregon's Dana Altman, UConn's Kevin Ollie and Wisconsin's Greg Gard, will make their first head coaching appearances in Maui.
"With so many high-profile teams, compelling storylines and talented coaches and players, these three days at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be exciting to watch," Tournament Chairman Dave Odom said. "This Tournament regularly prepares teams for the rigors of the coming year, and success in Maui can often set the tone for a memorable season ahead."