Syracuse basketball (4-0) is in Maui, Hawaii this week for the EA Sports Maui Invitational. This is the third time the Orange has been in the event. It won in 1990 and 1998, as well.
The eight teams in the Maui Invitational are a combined 30-and-0 coming into the week's slate of games. All teams are guaranteed three games Monday through Wednesday. This year's field includes three ranked teams in Syracuse, Gonzaga, and Baylor. The other participants include California, Arkansas, Minnesota, Dayton, and Division II school and host, Chaminade.
"This is as good a tournament as I've been in 30-some years in terms of field," Coach Boeheim said at a press conference this morning. "We've played in a lot of tournaments and this is a tremendous field. I think there's going to be five or six teams coming out of this tournament in the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year."
The #9 Orange first face Minnesota (5-0) out of the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers are coached by 31-year-old Richard Pitino, who is the son of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.
"My family has known [Coach Boeheim] for a long time," Pitino said. "My mother loves him. I'm not sure if she'll be rooting for him or for me tomorrow, but it's going to be really exciting."
Minnesota comes off of a 79-57 win over Wofford, while the Orange most recently escaped versus St. Francis Brooklyn in the Dome on Monday, 56-50. Minnesota is led by junior guard DeAndre Hollins. He averages close to 19 points per game. DeAndre Mathieu leads the Gopjers in assists with close to six per contest.
The game is the second on the Lahaina Civic Center floor tomorrow in Maui, following Arkansas vs. California. Tip-time for SU and Minnesota is set for 12:30 local time, or 5:30 PM eastern. The winner faces either Arkansas or Cal on Tuesday. You can listen on WAER starting at 5:00 PM Monday with Countdown to Tip-off, with the game to follow. Tune in on 88.3 FM, waer.org, or the WAER app for your smart phone.