The Maui Invitational has established itself as the premier early season tournament in college basketball. With consistently excellent fields that produce great drama, it is an event that every college basketball fan looks forward to - and the location doesn't hurt, either. Gonzaga will be among the field this year and it should provide the Zags will a couple solid tests before launching into the heart of their nonconference schedule. Their first game will be against the Flyers of Dayton on November 25th at 9 PM pacific.
While this field isn't as loaded as it has been in years past, it should still be a source of great competition. Syracuse is the odds on favorite to walk away with the title but Baylor, Minnesota, and Cal will also be in contention in Maui. Should the Zags advance past the Flyers, they will likely take on the Baylor Bears who open with the host team, Chaminade. If that matchup does occur, Zag fans will get a very early indication about how their 'new look' frontcourt matches up with top competition. Baylor has a loaded interior with Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson, and crew roaming the middle. The Zags will be led by Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski who were the primary backups for Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris last season.
The full bracket can be found here. The rest of the schedule is shaping up as well and, to this point, I must admit that the quality of the nonconference slate has dipped somewhat. We'll have an update on that in the coming days.