MAUI, Hawaii--Arizona's men's basketball team will open its play in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational tournament here with a game against the Kansas Jayhawks scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST) on Monday, Nov. 21.
The game will be UA's first official game of the year. Although its 2005-06 basketball schedule is not yet complete, the tentative schedule has UA opening exhibition play in Tucson with its Nov. 3 Pepsi Red-Blue Game, a Nov. 9 exhibition against Sonoma State and a Nov. 16 exhibition contest against Basketball Travelers. The complete schedule likely will be available sometime in August.
The Cats join host Chaminade, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Maryland, Kansas, Arkansas and Connecticut in the 22nd annual Maui tournament, one of the popular holiday-week classics in men's college basketball.
Five of the teams played in the 2005 NCAA tournament (Arizona, Connecticut, Gonzaga, Kansas and MSU), while six are former NCAA champions including UA, Arkansas, UConn, KU, Maryland and MSU.
The Arizona-Kansas game is the third of the tournament, which begins Monday, Nov. 21, at 9:30 a.m. local time in the balmy 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center on the island's western shore. (The complete bracket is available through the link above.)
The winner of that match up will face the winner of the Arkansas-Connecticut game in a semi-final at 4:30 p.m. Hawaii time (7:30 MST) on Tuesday, Nov. 22, with the championship game slated for 4:30 p.m. (7:30 MST) Wednesday, Nov. 23. The loser of the UA-KU game faces the loser of the other game in a contest at 2 p.m. (MST) Tuesday.
For the first time in the event's history, all 12 games in the tournament will be shown on live national cable on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Arizona's opener against Kansas will be shown on ESPN.
Each of the eight teams in the field has played in the tournament previously. Arizona won the tournament with a championship victory over Illinois in the 2000-01 season and also played in the Maui title games in 1997-98 against Duke, and in 1993-94 against Kentucky, giving it a 7-2 record in the invitational. Arizona also has played twice in the since-halted Rainbow Classic (Oahu) in 1968-69 and 1975-76, plus played in the 1984-85 Hawaii-Pacific Touranment and the 1991-92 Tip-Off Tournament on the islands. Arizona has an overall record of 14-5 mark in games played in Hawaii.
Arizona's allotment of tickets for the tournament has been sold out. Remaining school tickets will go on sale to the general public at 12 noon (MST) Tuesday, Aug. 16, via the tournament web site at mauiinvitational.com and through Oahu Travel, the official tournament travel agency (1-800-826-3822).