The Maui Invitational won’t take place on an island this year.
Instead, one of the biggest early-season tournaments will be held more than 4,500 miles away.
The Maui Invitational will be held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina, this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. The NCAA approved a plan on Wednesday to start both the men’s and women’s seasons on Nov. 25.
Maui Invitational to have same field
The Maui Invitational, traditionally held in the days leading up to Thanksgiving each year at the Lahaina Civic Center in Hawaii, will instead take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, per the report.
Games will be played at the ExploreAshville.com Arena at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center, which hosted the Southern Conference tournament earlier this year. The field is expected to remain the same, too, and should include Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.
CBS’ John Rothstein reported this week that there is a plan in place to hold eight of the early-season tournaments in Orlando this fall, similar to how the NBA is finishing its season in a bubble at Walt Disney World.
The NCAA approved teams to start practice on Oct. 14. Each team will be allowed a maximum 27 games this season.
The decision to relocate the Maui Invitational will make it significantly closer for nearly every team in the field, too. Only Stanford will have to travel further.
It’s unclear if fans will be allowed to attend.
"We're a tourism-based community, we fit that vibe of what an early-season tournament would look like," Harrah's Cherokee Center general manager Chris Corl said this month, via ESPN. "Our goal is to bring business to town. As long as we can cover costs, we'll do whatever it takes."
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