Maryland will play Gonzaga in the first round of the talent-rich Maui Invitational on Nov. 21.
The eight-team bracket, released yesterday, includes arguably the strongest field in the 22-year history of the event. The three-day tournament will feature five teams that were ranked in the top 25 at the end of last season and the winners of six of the past 12 national championships: Maryland (2002), Arkansas (1994), Arizona (1997), Michigan State (2000) and Connecticut (1999, 2004).
Should the Terrapins beat Gonzaga, they would play the winner of the game between Michigan State and Division II Chaminade, the host school. Other first-round matchups include Arizona-Kansas and U-Conn.-Arkansas. Michigan State (1991), Kansas (1996) and Arizona (2000) are all former Maui Invitational champions.
All 12 games will be played in the 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center and, for the first time, every game will be televised live on an ESPN network. The championship game will be played at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 23.
This year's field "fuels the fire," for the season, tournament chairman Dave Gavitt said, "with an assembly of teams largely considered one of the best ever in an early-season event."
Gonzaga is expected to be nationally ranked in the top 15 this season, featuring national player of the year candidate Adam Morrison. Maryland will return four starters in addition to sixth-man D.J. Strawberry, who returns from a knee injury.
-- Eric Prisbell