|North Carolina opens Maui tourney with Chaminade|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 05 August 2008 09:58|
The pairings for the early season tournament, which will be held Nov. 24-26 at the Lahaina Civic Center, were announced Tuesday.
The other first-round games will have Texas, a regional finalist last season, against Saint Joseph's, Indiana meeting Notre Dame in an all-Hoosier state matchup, and Oregon facing Alabama.
The North Carolina-Chaminade and Oregon-Alabama games are on the same side of the bracket.
North Carolina, expected to be the runaway preseason No. 1 in almost every poll, has Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington - who all withdrew their names from the NBA draft - returning from the team that went 36-3. In addition, coach Roy Williams has one of the nation's top recruiting classes heading for Chapel Hill.
Chaminade, the Division II school from Honolulu, beat Princeton in last year's seventh-place game to improve its all-time record in the tournament to 5-65. The Silverswords pulled off one of college basketball's biggest upsets on Dec, 23, 1982, when it beat then-No. 1 Virginia and three-time national player of the year Ralph Sampson 77-72.
North Carolina won the Maui Invitational in 1999 and 2004. Duke holds the record with four Maui titles in as many appearances.
Indiana, the only other former champion in the field having won in 2002, comes in under new coach Tom Crean, who is trying to rebuild a program that has lost seven possible returning players from last year's team. Crean led Marquette to the title game last season where the Golden Eagles lost to Duke 77-73.
Saint Joseph's, Oregon and Alabama are all making their first appearances on Maui.
All the games will be televised live on one of ESPN's networks.