CHAMAPAIGN — The Fighing Illini will complete in the Maui Invitational, Nov. 19-21. The Illini will face USC in the opening round on Monday, Nov. 19 at 11 p.m. CT on ESPN2, July 26.
The EA SPORTS Maui Invitational announced Thursday the official bracket for the 2012 edition of the nation’s premier early season college basketball tournament. For the 29th year, Maui’s oceanfront Lahaina Civic Center will be home to Basketball in Paradise during Thanksgiving week, as the eight Island Teams compete in the Championship Round for the Wayne Duke Championship Trophy.
Illinois will play the final first round game on Monday, Nov. 19, taking on USC at 11 p.m. Central Time. That game will be televised on ESPN2. Other first round match-ups include Texas vs. Chaminade (8:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU), Marquette vs. Butler (2:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2) and North Carolina vs. Mississippi State (5 p.m. CT, ESPN2).
The ESPN networks will combine once again to offer live television coverage of all 12 Championship Round games. For the fourth straight year, every game will be produced in high definition on ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNU HD. All games also will be available live on WatchESPN.
“This year’s Championship Round match-ups will give fans around the globe another compelling week of basketball in the most beautiful travel destination in the world,” said David Odom, EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Tournament Chairman. “We look forward to hosting several of the nation’s top collegiate teams to compete at the Lahaina Civic Center at the premier early season college basketball tournament, and we’re excited for another great Thanksgiving feast!”
Travel packages for Illini fans that include game tickets to the Championship Round and hotel accommodations are currently available online at IllinoisSportsTravel.com and by phone at 855-329-9272. Remaining tickets for the Championship Round, including school specific booster tickets, will be on sale to the general public beginning on Wednesday, August 22 at 1 p.m. CDT online at MauiInvitational.com (No phone orders, website only).
Prior to the Championship Round and Regional Games, the Island Teams and Mainland Teams will face-off in seven Opening Games at the Island Teams home arenas from November 9-13. Illinois will host Colgate in the season opener on Nov. 9 at the Assembly Hall.
The four newly announced Mainland Teams - Colgate, Coppin State, Elon and Florida Atlantic - will participate in the Regional Games at Elon University from November 17-18.
Illinois is making its fourth appearance at the Maui Invitational, owning an all-time record of 6-3. The Illini finished third in its most recent trip in 2007, defeating Arizona State in the first round, falling to eventual tournament champion Duke in the semifinal, and defeating Oklahoma State on the final day. Illinois was the Maui runner-up in 2000, defeating UNLV and Maryland before falling to Arizona in the title game. Illinois finished third in 1987 in its first visit to Maui, defeating Baylor, falling to Villanova, then beating eventual national champion Kansas.
For more information, visit the official EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Web site, MauiInvitational.com.