After a busy week on Maui catering weddings and a keiki birthday party, I remembered the Maui Invitational basketball tournament is already underway with mainland pre-games beginning this weekend and the regional tournament next weekend. With the expanded tournament format that began last year, the games played on the mainland give us a preview of the teams competing on Maui when they play at least one game leading up to their Lahaina Civic Center visit.
Before the Maui Invitational begins play in West Maui on the 19th, we get to watch 11 mainland games featuring seven of the teams headed to Maui to compete against four teams (Colgate, Elon, Coppin State and Florida Atlantic) making their first appearance in the EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament. The action began Friday, Nov 9th with Colgate losing to Illinois (75 to 55) and Butler beating Elon (75-49) yesterday. Later today, on Sunday Nov 11, Colgate plays Maui bound team Marquette and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU. As I write, Im keeping up with the action on ESPNU as the Tar Heels host Florida Atlantic in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. On Monday, Florida State plays Texas and on Tuesday, Florida Atlantic plays Maui attendee Mississippi State. Next weekend, on the 17th and 18th, Elon North Carolina hosts the regional tournament portion of the 2012 EA Sport Maui Invitational Tournament where Colgate faces Elon and Coppin State tips off against Florida Atlantic.
This year, Ill be watching to see if the Tar Heels can win a third national championship after beginning their most recent championship seasons with championships at the Maui Invitational. To repeat the feat, Coach Roy Williams and North Carolina have to find a successful way to quickly nurture four players to step into key starting roles after losing last seasons starting four to the NBA. USC will attempt to blend a cast of transfers with injury returnees while Mississippi State and Illinois are both beginning their seasons with new leadership at head coach. If not in the Maui Invitational Final, then along the way we may get to see the big time college basketball matchup between North Carolina play Texas.
4 Tips for the 2012 EA Sports Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament:
- Get familiar with the competition by watching the mainland games described above. Keep with the prelimary games using the EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament broadcast schedule.
- If you are driving to the games at the Lahaina Civic Center, arrive early to ensure you have plenty of time to park your car. Lahaina Civic Center offers plenty of parking spaces for the tournament, but traffic getting in and out can be a little tedious. If you arrive early or want to avoid the traffic rush, enjoy relaxing in the food court before or after the game. Big screen televisions let you keep up with the games and live entertainment is featured throughout each day of the tournament. Alternatively, skip the parking and use public transportation to get the civic center in Lahaina. If you are travelling to Maui with an organized tour or booster club, your transportation to and from the game is likely included. The Lahaina Civic is approximately 15 minutes from the Kaanapali Resort in West Maui.
- Have a great vacation on Maui and leave time to explore the beaches, snorkel and dine at the great Maui restaurants after the games are finished. Go to Hana. Enjoy a scenic picnic along the way and pick up a Hana Box lunch.
- Enjoy my great food in the stadium club during the tournament. Or, stop by my Kaanapali restaurant for affordable family dining on Maui! Use this map to my restaurant in Kaanapali. Visit us on FourSquare or Google Places for money saving discounts to use at CJs Deli & Diner.
Maui Chef CJ’s Final Game Matchup Prediction
My pick for matchup playing in final game of the 2012 Maui Invitational Tourmament: North Carolina and Butler. Use the comments section to share if you were surprised I didnt pick Marquette, Texas or the Illini to play in the championship game of the 2012 Maui Invitational on Weds Nov 21st! Youll have to wait till the teams playing off island games are completed before Ill pick my winner for the on island winner in Lahaina!
If you are regular attendee to the Maui Invitational, you’ll be happy to know CJs Deli Diner and the Comfort Zone Maui Catering team will be back catering the event serving the Stadium Club and ESPN crews. We also supply sandwiches and box lunches for organizers and volunteers.
Keep up with the latest Maui Invitational Tournament news on Twitter with @easportsmauiinv and the EA Sports Maui Invitational tournament website. Thanks for the great effort the tournament’s PR team at Kemper Lesnik does to promote Maui while creating producing this annual event on Maui event.
Will you be visiting Maui for the 2012 Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament? Plan a beach barbecue for you and your basketball fans before or after the tournament: