Wisconsin to face Arizona in round 1 of Maui Invitational
MAUI, Hawaii (PRESS RELEASE) - The EA SPORTS Maui Invitational today announced the official bracket for the 2009 edition of the nation's premier early-season college basketball tournament. Maui's oceanside Lahaina Civic Center will again be the venue for the eight-team competition during Thanksgiving week 2009 from Nov. 23-25. Wisconsin will face Arizona in the first round of the tournament on Monday, Nov. 23, at 11 p.m. (central) on ESPN2. A strong field of former national champions including Arizona, Cincinnati, Maryland, and Wisconsin will join Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, Colorado and Tournament host Chaminade University of Honolulu to compete for the coveted Wayne Duke Championship Trophy. Two former Maui champions, Arizona (2000) and Vanderbilt (1986) will return to the islands in search of another Maui title and early-season bragging rights. Four of the seven Division I teams in the 2009 lineup participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, highlighted by runs to the Sweet Sixteen by Arizona and Gonzaga. In all, 85 schools representing 21 conferences and 38 states have competed in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, with Maui participants having won an astounding 55 of 71 NCAA championships, 55 of 71 national runner-up spots and comprise 214 of 284 Final Four teams. "This year's Tournament showcases another field of outstanding competition," said Tournament Chairman Dave Gavitt. "We will celebrate the 26th annual Tournament with a powerhouse field. College basketball fans from around the globe can look forward to another remarkable week of basketball at its finest." The ESPN networks will combine once again to offer live television coverage of all 12 Tournament games. For the first time, every game will be produced in high definition on ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNU HD, with the ESPN and ESPN2 games also streaming live on ESPN360.com. Matchups underscore strength of field The start of the 2009 basketball season tips off on Monday, Nov. 23, with Game One featuring Colorado, a Big 12 Maui-newcomer guided by coach Jeff Bzdelik, against 2009 West Coast Conference Tournament Champion and two-time Maui veteran, Gonzaga, with coach Mark Few who has led the Bulldogs to an NCAA Tournament berth every year since he took the position in 1999. Game Two pits Mick Cronin's Cincinnati Bearcats, which have finished in the Top 10 of the final polls in seven of the past 13 years, against former SEC Coach of the Year Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt, winner of three SEC regular season titles. Host school Chaminade will battle in Game Three, as Matt Mahar, the winningest coach in the school's history by percentage, leads the home state Silverswords against former national champion Maryland steered by legendary coach and Maryland alumni, Gary Williams. Williams has led the Terrapins to 13 NCAA Tournaments berths in 16 years, including seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, a pair of consecutive Final Four showings and the 2002 national championship. Game Four pairs newly-named head coach Sean Miller guiding former national champion Arizona, a team that has reached the NCAA Tournament for 25 consecutive years, against the Big Ten's Wisconsin Badgers, the Bo Ryan-led team looking to bring home a piece of Maui glory. Wisconsin owns a 2-2 record overall vs. Arizona, but lost in the most recent meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats downed the Badgers, 94-75, in the first round of the 2006 NCAA tournament. The semifinals will take place Tuesday, Nov. 24 with the winner of the Chaminade - Maryland game tipping off against the Cincinnati - Vanderbilt winner in the first semifinal game scheduled at 6 p.m. Central time, followed by the second semifinal game between the Colorado - Gonzaga winner and the Arizona - Wisconsin winner scheduled at 8:30 p.m. Central time on ESPN. Winners of the semifinals will advance to the championship game Wednesday, Nov. 25 scheduled at 9 p.m. Central time (also on ESPN). Special limited ticket presale to coincide with bracket release Starting today, Aug. 4, at 2 p.m. Central time (9 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time) there will be a limited selection of presale tickets available for one day only or until sold out via the official Tournament Web site, www.mauiinvitational.com. Remaining game tickets including school specific Booster Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. Central time (9 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time) via www.mauiinvitational.com. Travel packages with game tickets and hotel accommodations are currently available through Oahu Travel, the Tournament's official travel agency, by calling 800.826.3822. In addition, tickets are still available for Sunday's (Nov. 22) "An Evening with the Coaches: Tip-Off Banquet," a special dinner and entertainment event with the 2009 head coaches and teams, as well as for the 6th Annual EA SPORTS Maui Golf Invitational on Thanksgiving Day. Visit the Web site's "Tickets & Travel" section for details. EA SPORTS, the world's leading interactive entertainment software company and developer of the top-selling NCAA® March Madness® videogame, enters its ninth year as title sponsor of the Maui Invitational. In addition to title sponsor EA SPORTS, other Tournament sponsors include the Maui Visitors Bureau, County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation, Hawaii Tourism Authority, adidas, GEICO and Xbox360. The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, all located in the beautiful Ka'anapali Beach resort area, serve as host hotels for the thousands of fans and boosters who annually accompany their teams to Maui. KemperSports has operated the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational since 1990. For complete Tournament information, visit the official Tournament Web site at www.mauiinvitational.com
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