The Maui Invitational was one of many college basketball tournaments that had to make significant changes just to go ahead this season.
For the 2020 edition, the event was moved from Hawai'i to Asheville, North Carolina, where eight teams will be in a bubble for a week.
The North Carolina Tar Heels, Indiana Hoosiers and Texas Longhorns headline the field for the competition, which kicks off Monday afternoon inside the Harrah's Cherokee Center.
North Carolina and Texas should be viewed as the favorites to win the tournament since they are the only ranked sides, but as we witnessed in 2019, there is potential for upsets to occur right away at the Maui Invitational.
Maui Invitational Bracket and Schedule
Seven of the eight teams competing in Asheville played a game before arriving in North Carolina.
Of the seven, the UNLV Rebels were the only team to drop its opener, falling to the Montana State Bobcats at home by 13 points Wednesday. That suggests the first-round matchup between UNLV and North Carolina could be the most lopsided affair of the opening round.
North Carolina is hoping to avoid the same fate as the Michigan State Spartans in 2019, as they lost their first-round matchup as the tournament's highest-ranked program.
Of all the teams in the Maui field, Roy Williams' is viewed as the one with the most potential to win a championship. It sits at +550 (wager $100 to win $550) to reach the Final Four at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Garrison Brooks holds the lowest National Player of the Year odds of any player on the eight rosters at +5,000.
Brooks and Armando Bacot combined for 18 points and 19 rebounds in the season-opening win over the College of Charleston Cougars. The Tar Heels are expected to run their side of the bracket through their powerful frontcourt duo and freshman guard Caleb Love, who put up 17 points in his debut.
The Stanford Cardinal have not played a game this season, and the Alabama Crimson Tide do not have a paint presence that can matchup with Brooks or Bacot. Alabama could knock off North Carolina with its guard play, but to do so, Nate Oats' side needs to shoot better than the 7-of-31 three-point performance it had Wednesday.
The top half of the bracket is much more intriguing since it pits Indiana against the Providence Friars in the first round. Providence's guard duo of David Duke and A.J. Reeves could cause problems for the Indiana backcourt, but the Hoosiers can counter with the physical play of Trayce Jackson-Davis down low.
If the Friars limit Jackson-Davis' paint production, they could have a chance to pull off a win and set up a clash with Texas. The Longhorns could make some noise in the Big 12 behind star freshman Greg Brown, who posted 11 points and 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut.
Brown has the potential to be the breakout star of the tournament, and if he propels the Longhorns to a win, he could give his team a much-needed boost of confidence with the Villanova Wildcats and Baylor Bears on the schedule in the first half of December.
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