Home > Current Updates > 2008 Maui Invitational preview …

2008 Maui Invitational preview …

When it comes to the 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational, you can break the field into three categories … The Favorite … The Contenders … and The Pretenders.  First, who’s in the tournament: North Carolina, Alabama, Oregon, Texas, Indiana, Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s, and Chaminade.  Conferences represented include the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, Big East, and Atlantic 10. 

So here’s the breakdown, with few surprises:

north-carolina2FavoriteNorth Carolina: The Tar Heels will likely be favored in every game they play.  Expect nothing different in Hawaii.  UNC opens with Chaminade and then gets the winner of Alabama-Oregon in the semis.  The Heels should aloha their way into the championship. 

ContendersTexas, Notre Dame: Both the Longhorns and Irish have high hopes come March.  Both will also have plenty of challenges in league play – especially ND in the Big East.  These two figure to meet in the semifinals (UT opens with St. Joe’s and ND with Indiana).  Both teams can score; Texas gets a slight defensive edge, Notre Dame has the more proven inside play (Luke Harangody).

PretendersIndiana, Oregon, Alabama, St. Joseph’s, Chaminade: It’s hard to see any of these teams in the winner’s bracket for long (Alabama and Oregon play in Round 1).  St. Joseph’s and Alabama have the best chance to play spoiler.   The Hawks are well coached under Phil Martelli.  The Crimson Tide have Ronald Steele back, but also lost at home to Mercer.  Indiana’s problems are well-documented with just one returning contributor, and Chaminade serves as a gracious host (except the year they upset Virginia, of course). Oregon is predicted to finish in the middle or lower half of the Pac-10 and doesn’t have the depth or talent to last long – especially if the meet Carolina.

Predictions: North Carolina beats Texas to win its third Maui Invitational title (1999, 2004).  The best game will be Texas and Notre Dame in the semifinals.  Stay tuned.

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