Looking at the Maui Invitational bracket!
Who takes the the tournament?
Today is the day! It’s Maui Invitational time, so I’ll bring a brief outlook on every team in the field but it’s not a post fully dedicated to San Diego State! So if you want a San Diego State post check out the preview for Ted McGovern on the Aztecs opening tilt against Ohio State.
Arizona: The Wildcats fresh off making the Sweet Sixteen one season ago had to replace Bennedict Mathurin, Christian Koloko and Dalen Terry — and look like the top dog in the PAC-12. Led by Azuolas Tubelis and Pelle Larsson, the Wildcats are the favorites — or second favorites behind this next team to win the tournament.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks have the most NBA talent in the field with freshman phenoms Anthony Black, Jordan Walsh and Nick Smith. However, it’s a pretty new group who hasn’t played as a unit very much, especially against opponents like the Maui invitational presents. But the human highlight reel himself, Trevon Brazile will likely put several players on posters this week in Maui.
Maui Jim Invitational First Round Preview: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Louisville: Umm. Yeah it’s bad in Louisville. There are no moral victories, but at least Louisville lost all three home games by a combined three points to start the season. But El Ellis is the line scholarship guard on the roster and playing three front court players along side one guard won’t get the job done in 2022-23. It’s probably surprising to see Louisville look this horrible if you’re a casual college hoops watcher who’s used to seeing Louisville among the best in the sport, but that’s the past at this point. They’re the worst team in the field by a wide margin.
Ohio State: I have no clue what to feel about Ohio State right now, who opens against San Diego State. The best player on the Buckeyes roster looks like freshman Brice Sensabaugh, who’s averaging 17.5 points in three buy game wins. But the Buckeyes lack guard experience outside of Isaac Likekele and Sean McNeil, which could make an impact against some pretty experienced backcourts, like San Diego State and Arizona.
Monday, Nov. 21
Game 1: Texas Tech vs. Creighton | 2:30 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Game 2: Louisville vs. Arkansas | 5 p.m. | ESPN2
Game 3: Ohio State vs. San Diego State | 9 p.m. | ESPNU
Game 4: Cincinnati vs. Arizona | 11:30 p.m. | ESPN2
All games can be streamed via FuboTV with a free trial
Cincinnati: The Bearcats looked lost against Northern Kentucky’s zone defense last week, so shaking the loss off is important for a team who hopes to finally make the tourney again. The trio of David DeJulius, Landers Nolley and Jeremiah Davenport should keep them competitive but the three don’t look fully meshed from a chemistry standpoint just yet. Cincy would beat Louisville by 10 but the Bearcats are the second worst team in the field.
Creighton: Creighton was the most polzarizing team in the preseason, some had them ranked top five, while others ranked them top-15 and sometimes lower. These Bluejays have plenty of talent, including Arthur Kaluma and Ryan Kalkbrenner, two potential All Big East first team players.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders do one thing very well: Defend, and defend on every possession. That’s what coach Mark Adams preaches and anything less is unacceptable. From a roster perspective, Fardaws Aimaq is out for the foreseeable future and won’t suit up in Maui. Texas Tech will focus on getting the ball to former Oral Roberts star Kevin Obanor and the rest will share the ball pretty evenly.
Prediction: I actually think San Diego State takes the tournament: Matt Bradley still isn’t going good yet, but it’s coming and coming very soon. It’s too much to ask opponents to slow down Bradley, JaeDon LeDee and Darrion Trammell. The Aztecs can score, defend and have possibly the best coach in the field, I’m taking the Aztecs all day.