Zags to play Illinois in Maui Invitational - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Zags to play Illinois in Maui Invitational

Photo: Gonzaga Athletics Photo: Gonzaga Athletics

By Gonzaga Athletics

MAUI, Hawaii – The Gonzaga men's basketball team will open the 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational against Illinois on Nov. 19, at 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time on ESPN2.
 
Monday's quarterfinal matchups feature Auburn taking on Xavier and Duke squaring off against San Diego State in the top half of the bracket, while the bottom half of the bracket will feature Arizona facing Iowa State and Gonzaga playing Illinois. The 35th edition of the nation's premier early season Tournament will take place Nov. 19-21 at the Lahaina Civic Center on the island of Maui. All 12 Championship Round games of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
 
"The Maui Invitational is the best preseason tournament in college basketball," Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few said. "This year's field may be the best ever, made up by legendary programs. We love taking our fans and program to Maui. It has a special place in my heart with how much time I've spent there with my family."
 
The 2018 event represents the first time in tournament history that eight Division I teams take the floor on Maui, a format which will continue in the following alternating years (2018, 2020, 2022 and beyond).
 
Illinois has won five of the six all-time meetings between the programs, including the latest matchup, 85-74, in Spokane on Dec. 8, 2012. The programs have met three times on neutral courts during the regular season. The Zags won an 85-83 overtime thriller in front of nearly 21,000 fans at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 2, 2010.
 
Gonzaga and Illinois have both won the Maui Jim Maui Invitational – the Illini doing so in 2012, and GU taking the title in 2009. Each program is making their fifth appearance at the Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs were in the event in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2013.
 
The Zags won the 2009 tournament title behind co-Tournament MVP performances from Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin. Adam Morrison was named the tournament's MVP in 2005, following a tournament record 43-point performance against Michigan State.
 

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