The Maui Invitational takes place every year during Thanksgiving week
Due to Hawaii’s travel restrictions among the COVID-19 Pandemic, Las Vegas is hosting The Maui Invitational Tournament 2021 games at the Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. For two years in a row, The Maui Invitational Tournament is happening right here in the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World.
The 2021 Maui Invitational began on Monday, November 22 and runs through today, Wednesday November 24, 2021.
Eight teams are competing this year, including; Butler, Houston, Notre Dame, Oregon, Saint Mary’s (CA), Texas A&M, Wisconsin, and Chaminade.
1. Why in Las Vegas?
COVID-19 travel restrictions in The Aloha State has caused the event to change location. The 2020 edition was held in North Carolina for the same reason. The Mayor of Maui, Michael Victorino said that North Carolina was not Maui-like enough to host the tournament.
The mayor chose Las Vegas as the site for this year’s tournament because the location is closer to Maui than North Carolina. Still, the tournament has been just as exciting and there have been some great games so far. After-all, Vegas is known as the “Ninth Island.”
There are still many travel limitations placed on travelers heading to Hawaii. The directors of the tournament didn’t want to worry about the tournament being cancelled.
The Maui Invitational Tournament will enforce health and safety guidelines for all attendees, which will include proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to games beginning as well as a mask mandate inside the arena.
2. Schedule and Scores
(Monday, Nov. 22)
Game 1: Wisconsin 69, Texas A &M 58
Game 2: Houston 70, Butler 52
Game 3: Oregon 73, Chaminade 49
Game 4: Saint Mary’s 62, Notre Dame 59
(Tuesday, Nov. 23)
Game 5: Texas A&M 57, Butler 50
Game 6: Wisconsin 65, Houston 63
Game 7: Oregon 62, Saint Mary’s 50
Game 8: Notre Dame 90, Chaminade 64
(Wednesday, Nov. 24)
Game 9: Houston vs. Oregon at 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 10: Wisconsin vs. St. Mary’s at 5:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 11: Butler vs. Chaminade at 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 12: Texas A&M vs. Notre Dame at 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
3. Maui Invitational Tournament History
The Maui Invitational Tournament is an annual early season college basketball tournament that takes place Thanksgiving week normally in Lahaina, Hawaii. The tournament is hosted by Chaminade University of Honolulu, a NCAA Division II school. Eight NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams are invited to Maui to complete the field.
The tournament has been played since 1984 and is carried by ESPN. Camping World (Formerly known as Champs Sports), sponsored the tournament once in 2020. Maui Jim became the title sponsor of the tournament in 2015 and will return as title sponsor in 2021. The previous fourteen tournaments were sponsored by EA Sports (It’s in the game)!
Of the eight teams that play in the tournament, normally there is one from each of the six major conferences; (Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, ACC, SEC,) and one from another conference such as the American Athletic Conference, or Conference USA, etc.
Beginning in 2018 and continuing with every even-numbered year, Chaminade will play games on the mainland. Eight Division I schools will compete in the championship bracket in Maui.
4. Effect on Hawaii’s Economy
Each year, more than 4,000 out-of-state visitors-boosters, players, officials, team and game personnel, media representatives, sponsors, production crews and basketball fans attend. The 2007 Maui Invitational Tournament ranked among Hawaii’s top revenue-generating events. It bolstered the local economy by more than $8 million according to financial data released by the Maui Visitors Bureau.
The tournament has brought more than $110 million to Maui’s economy since the tournament’s debut in 1984 through 2005.
These numbers project that Las Vegas will most likely bump up business traffic during the Tournament.
Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas, sports fans!