GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG men's basketball will play in the expanded 2011 EA Sports Maui Invitational, participating as one of four new Mainland teams, it was announced on Thursday.
In all, 12 teams will participate in the expanded tournament. The bracket format includes the traditional eight-team, three-day event played at Maui's oceanfront Lahaina Civic Center during Thanksgiving week, which will now be known as the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational "Championship Round," and the eight participating teams playing in the Championship Round are called the "Island Teams".
With expansion comes four additional Division I teams known as the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational "Mainland Teams." Each of the eight Island Teams (excluding Chaminade) will play one game each against a Mainland Team – seven games in total – before traveling to Maui for the Championship Round. The Mainland Teams will then play each other in the "Regional Games" – a four-game event.
"We feel privileged to be a part of a high level tournament like the Maui Invitational," said UNCG head coach Mike Dement. "We're going to open the season with two difficult games, but we'll have a more veteran team this year and should be ready to compete. It's going to be a challenging tournament, but we've been in challenging positions before. It's great to be a part of the Maui Invitational."
The four Mainland Teams that will play in the opening games and regional games are Belmont, Middle Tennessee State, Towson and UNCG. The eight Island Teams that will play in the opening games and championship round are Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA and host Chaminade. The championship round is schedule for Nov. 21-23.
As part of the expanded format, UNCG opens the 2011-12 season at Tennessee (Nov. 11) and Georgetown (Nov. 14). Regional games will be played at Middle Tennessee State's Murphy Center, Nov. 19-20 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. UNCG will face host MTSU in the opening game, and either Belmont or Towson the next day.
The Spartans return four starters and several key reserves from last season's squad, including 2011 Southern Conference All-Freshman team honoree Trevis Simpson. In 27 games, including nine starts, the 6-4 swingman averaged 11.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Other returning starters include 6-10 senior center Aloysius Henry (9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and junior point guard Kyle Randall (9.4 ppg, 103 assists). Forward Aaaron Brackett (7.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and guard Korey VanDussen (8.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg) also return.
UNCG expects to release its complete 2011-12 men's basketball schedule by mid-August.
- UNCG -