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MAUI, Hawaii -- The stage is set for the 20th anniversary EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Hosted By Chaminade University with today's announcement of brackets for the Thanksgiving week college basketball classic which takes place on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. The intimate 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center and NCAA Division II school, Chaminade, once again play host to seven NCAA Division I teams from across the nation who will compete November 24-26 for the coveted title which sets the tone for the 2003-2004 NCAA college basketball season.
Among the matchups for this year's tournament: Game One features host Chaminade taking on 1985 NCAA national champion Villanova, who knocked off North Carolina by two points for the 1995 Maui championship, one of the tournament's most thrilling title games. The winner of this tournament opener will meet the winner of Game Four, in which Santa Clara, whose '95 team led by All American Steve Nash upset defending national champion UCLA and Michigan State in Tom Izzo's first year as head coach to take third place in the 1995 Maui Invitational, faces first-time Maui competitor and local standout, the University of Hawaii, a four-time NCAA Tournament participant.
In the other bracket, Game Two features a battle of Midwestern forces with 2003 Mid-American champion and first-time Maui competitor Central Michigan, who defeated sixth-seeded Creighton in this year's NCAA Tournament, tipping off against 12-time NCAA Tournament competitor Dayton, who upset Connecticut and Maryland to take third place in the 2000 Maui Invitational. That winner will meet the winner of Game Three, in which former NCAA national champion Ohio State, with an overall NCAA Tournament record of 37 wins and 21 losses in 22 tournament appearances, goes head-to-head against Steve Fisher and 2002 NCAA Tournament competitor San Diego State.
"We're proud to be celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2003 as one of college basketball's most respected tournaments," said Tournament Chairman Wayne Duke. "We have a great field in November, a memorable history of great upsets and outstanding champions, and commitments from a terrific array of teams over the next several years that solidify our future among college basketball's finest."
Tickets for the 20th anniversary EA SPORTS Maui Invitational are now on sale to the public via the official tournament web site at www.mauiinvitational.com, and through Oahu Travel, the official tournament travel agency, which can be reached at (800) 826-3822 or www.oahutravelinc.com.
Up-to-the-minute tournament schedule, ticket and general information is also available at www.mauiinvitational.com, or by calling (808) 667-DUNK.
Corporate sponsors of the 2003 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational include title sponsor EA SPORTS, the Maui Visitors Bureau, County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Get-The-Game, Delta Air Lines, and the following host hotels - Westin Maui, Sheraton Maui and Kapalua Bay Hotel. The tournament is managed by KemperSports Marketing.