The college basketball world was turned upside down one day in 1982 and that day spawned one of the greatest traditions in college basketball, the Maui Invitational. The day in question? December 23, 1982 when Chaminade University (a D2 school) took down Ralph Sampson and the University of Virginia.
No. 51: Maui Invitational (D1 Basketball):
Without that upset it's very doubtful we'd be sitting here talking about any tournament on the islands of Hawaii. The Maui Invitational began in 1984 and has been hosted by Chaminade since then at the Lahaina Center.
It's a tournament that's attracted the best of the best in college basketbal on an annual basis because of that upset. Teams like Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina have all won the tournament in the past. The original tournament saw Providence take down Chaminade in the finals, but it wasn't easy, winning 60-58.
What makes the tournament so fun besides being on the island of Maui is it's in a true old-school basketball gym that seats just 2,400 people yet hosts lineups of teams that could fill a 24,000 seat arena easily.
This tournament has been won by many a great team, but no other team can compare to the record that Duke has, winning 5 Maui Invitational titles. It's also been a launching pad for a few teams on their way to national titles as three teams have won both the Maui and the National Championship in the same year, Michigan (88-89), North Carolina twice (2004-05, 2008-09) and finally UConn (2010-11).
Over the next two years the tournament stays on the forefront of college basketball with 2012 featuring the likes of Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas, and USC. 2013 will have Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Dayton, Gonzaga, Minnesota, and Syracuse.
Without a shadow of a doubt this is simply the best in-season tournament in all of college basketball and hey, who wouldn't want to be on the island of Maui around Thanksgiving weekend, right? I know it's way up there on my personal list of must see events because of the basketball first, but hey a vacation while watching basketball is a plus as well.