The Maui Invitational is always considered one of the best events in College Basketball as the field always brings in the best teams in hope of competing and winning the Maui title. This year is no different as two Top-5 teams enter into the field with Michigan State and Kansas. Elsewhere, Obi Toppin and potential top pick Anthony Edwards will provide people with some NBA prospects to watch as well. While the much anticipated Michigan State-Kansas title game is what most are excited for, the depth of this field should make it really fun to watch.
1.Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans come into this event with the most quality experience as well as the best player in the event in Cassius Winston. Winston is a really good all-around player as he can score and pass at a really high level. Xavier Tillman provides some good interior scoring and defensive capabilities for the team, while Aaron Henry and Kyle Ahrens help out on the wing. If they can get the necessary help from freshmen like Malik Hall and Rocket Watts this team can win the event.
The Jayhawks enter into this event having not lost a November tournament since 2013. They will put that streak on the line against a really good Maui field and a likely matchup against Michigan State in the title game. Kansas has a dominating frontcourt with Udoka Azubuike inside which mixes nicely around the four-guard look they can throw out. Devon Dotson is a really good scoring and a passing point guard that is great in transition, while Ochai Agbaji and Isaiah Moss can shoot and Marcus Garrett is probably the best defender in this event. This Kansas team has a really easy route to the title game and I do think has a good chance at winning the event.
Dayton comes into this first game really needing a win in order to secure matchups against two other really good teams, especially given the fact that the Atlantic 10 doesn’t provide the opportunities that it once did. The Flyers have one of the best players in the event in Obi Toppin who is an athletic forward that has been lighting it up thus far this year. Ryan Mikesell is another capable scorer while Rodney Chatman sets everything up on offense. This Dayton team is one that should win two games in this tournament and help their at-large chances.
Georgia comes into this field with an exciting group of young pieces that are headlined by Anthony Edwards. Edwards is a really good ball-handler, shooter, and scorer as a whole that projects as a Top-3 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Rayshaun Hammonds and Tyree Crump have helped provide the offensive playmaking alongside Edwards. This trio mixed with a group of a solid group of young players makes this a team with a high-upside. Georgia I think probably wins 2 games in this tournament based on the talent on the roster, it will just be a determination of whether or not that comes in a 3rd place or a 5th place finish in the tournament.
5.Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech is a team that has really impressed this year as they are running a high-level offense and scoring the ball at a high clip. Landers Nolley has been one of the best players in the ACC thus far and is looking to get on the National radar. While I’ve really liked what I’ve seen out of this team thus far this year, I don’t really see them being able to finish anywhere higher than fifth in this tournament, as they are not experienced and tough enough to win their first game.
The suspension of Yoeli Childs is one of the more disappointing suspensions that the NCAA has given out and it really takes away from what is a pretty good BYU team. The Cougars have gotten good contributions from Alex Barcello, TJ Haws, and Jake Toolson this year but I don’t think that’s enough to win multiple games in this tournament. The Cougars should beat UCLA in the first round but I think they probably fall short of beating Kansas in the second round.
There is a new head coach for UCLA and it is Mick Cronin, who is one of the tougher and more defensive-minded coaches in the sport. Cronin has some leftover talented pieces from last season and is starting to recruit. I don’t think they do anything in this event but I guess this is a good team bonding trip for the Bruins.
After a one-year absence, Chaminade is back ready to break some hearts and win a couple of games. Tyler Cartaino is a really good scorer that should help Chaminade put up points. Maybe the Silverswords can pull off an upset and beat UCLA or someone like that but the most likely outcome is an 0-3 week for Chaminade.
Dayton 83 Georgia 76
Michigan State 87 Virginia Tech 70
UCLA 74 BYU 68
Kansas 123 Chaminade 78
Michigan State 76 Dayton 70
Kansas 84 BYU 67
Georgia 83 Virginia Tech 77
UCLA 89 Chaminade 80
7th Place Game: Virginia Tech 120 Chaminade 93
5th Place Game: Georgia 80 UCLA 70
3rd Place Game: Dayton 73 BYU 65
Championship Game: Kansas 75 Michigan State 70