Maui Invitational 2017 bracket: Wichita State, Notre Dame headline tournament
Michigan, Marquette, California, LSU and VCU are also in the 34th annual field
We already knew the teams involved in the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational, and now we know the matchups.
On Tuesday, the Invitational announced the top half of the bracket will feature matchups between Marquette and VCU, and Wichita State facing California. The bottom half of the bracket will showcase Notre Dame against local Chaminade, and Michigan squaring off against LSU and its new-look program under head coach Will Wade, who left VCU this offseason and could wind up playing his former team if the chips fall right.
Here's a look at the bracket of the three-day tournament, which will take place Nov. 20-22 at the Lahaina Civic Center on the island of Maui.
On paper, Wichita State should be considered the favorite to win the bracket. The Shockers return Conner Frankamp, Shaquille Morris, Zach Brown and Rashard Kelly for their senior seasons, and will likely enter the 2017 season as a top-five team in national polls. Gregg Marshall has enjoyed his greatest successes with veteran-heavy rosters, and his projected starting five next season will feature four seniors as well as an up-and-coming sophomore in Landry Shamet.
Notre Dame also projects to be a major player in the tournament, and if it's one thing we've learned, it's not to pencil Mike Brey's team as an underdog. Coming off a 26-win season, the Fighting Irish also boast an experienced starting five -- headlined by senior point guard Matt Farrell and potential national player of the year candidate Bonzie Colson, who likely would have been selected in the NBA Draft had he declared early.
Of the two projected top-20 teams, the Shockers have the more clear path to the title game, with Michigan providing a good road block in the way of the Irish and their hopes to march to the championship.
Last season, the veteran-laden North Carolina Tar Heels blew away the competition by taking the invitational crown in a 71-56 victory against Wisconsin in the title game.
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