The Maui Invitational is arguably the most recognizable non-conference college basketball tournament. And the Georgia Bulldogs will be playing the 2019 version, according to a release.
Georgia, along with Kansas, Michigan State, UCLA, Dayton, Virginia Tech, BYU and Chaminade will play in the 2019 version of the event, as the Maui Invitational announced its 2019 field on Tuesday. This will be the first ever appearance in the event for Georgia. The 2019 tournament will run from Nov. 25 through Nov. 27 in 2019.
“I think any time you have an opportunity to play in the Maui Invitational it’s a great honor for your program,” Crean said on playing in the tournament. “It will be exciting to take our Georgia program there and to have our fans in the Bulldog Nation be part of such a special event. Any time you’re in Maui, you know you are going to be severely tested three straight days. It’s an incredible opportunity for your team.”
The Bulldogs recently made a coaching change, as the team will now be led by Tom Crean, who replaced Mark Fox. Crean has previous stops at Marquette, were he reached a Final Four, and Indiana, where he made 3 Sweet 16 appearances. Georgia made just two NCAA Tournament appearances in Fox’s nine seasons at the school.
“What you learn right away is that you’ve got to go in there with mid-season to late-season toughness, execution, perseverance and energy because that’s what everybody else has,” Crean said. “The atmosphere is second to none when it comes to the way the tournament is run, whether it’s the music, whether it’s the public address announcer or whether it’s the way the fans treat you. It prepares your team for so many things that you will see throughout the season. It is an absolute marathon inside of three days to see where your team can go.”
The 2018 Maui Invitational features Duke, Gonzaga, Arizona, Auburn, Illinois, Iowa State, San Diego State and Xavier and will be played from Nov. 19 through Nov. 21 later this year.
Georgia will have to replace Yante Maten, who led the team in scoring and rebounding last year, along with guard Juwan Parker. But the Bulldogs bring back a number of key players from this year’s team such as guard Tyree Crump and big men Nicolas Claxton and Derek Ogbeide. The Bulldogs 2018 non-conference schedule has not been announced yet.