The Maui Invitational, the best early season event of all the early season events, kicks off on Monday afternoon, and while there is quite a bit of talent in the tournament this year, the highlight of the first day’s action is centered on one game:
No. 4 Oregon vs. Georgetown, 4:30 p.m.
Entering the year, the Hoyas looked like a team that was going to make some noise in the Big East this season. Employing a new full-court press, they won their first game by 40 and followed that up by outplaying Maryland for 35 minutes. But the Hoyas collapsed down the stretch against the Terps and followed that up with a loss to Arkansas State at home.
The Ducks, on the other hand, were supposed to be a national title contender, but they lost their road opener by 17 points to Baylor. Granted, the Ducks were without Dillon Brooks, who makes his return to the Oregon lineup today.
The rest of Maui
- No. 9 Wisconsin vs. Tennessee, 2:30 p.m.: The Badgers have a chance to restore their image somewhat after a loss at Creighton last week.
- Oklahoma State vs. UConn, 9:00 p.m.: I’m not sure anyone needs a big week worse than the Huskies do. UConn is 1-2 on the season with a pair of mid-major losses.
- No. 5 UNC at Chaminade, 11:30 p.m.: Is this the upset the Silver Swords always strive for?
Creighton vs. Ole Miss, 8:30 p.m.
Neither of these teams are ranked right now, but that is going to change soon enough. The Bluejays were one of the most impressive teams in college hoops last week and have one of the nation’s best back court while Ole Miss has a chance to be the second-best team in the SEC, particularly is Deandre Burnett and Sebastian Saiz play the way that they have played in the first week of the season. This is the title game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.
No. 25 Cal vs. San Diego State, 11:00 p.m.
This game will lose a lot of its luster if no one is healthy. SDSU has been banged up for a while and was without Malik Pope in their loss at Gonzaga last week. And Cal has been without all-american center Ivan Rabb this season, although that allowed freshman Charlie Moore to pop off for 38 points in a win over UC Irvine last week.