MHERST, Mass. -- The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team will open its 2002-03 season against 2002 NCAA runner-up Indiana in the first round of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, Monday, Nov. 25, at Noon (HST, 5 p.m. Eastern), tournament chairman Wayne Duke announced today.
Game Two of the tournament will feature UMass against five-time national champion Indiana. The winner of the that contest will face the Game Four winner, a battle between two perennial NCAA Tournament competitors, Gonzaga, seeking its fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, and the University of Utah, led by one of college basketball's finest head coaches, Rick Majerus.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our basketball program to play one of college basketball's greatest programs," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "It is an honor to play a Final Four team with such an outstanding tradition.
"This tournament will be an opportunity for our program to play three quality opponents on a neutral floor. It should be a great experience for our young players, one that should help prepare us for the challenges we will face later in the season."
Among the storied match-ups in the 2002 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Hosted by Chaminade University: Game One boasts a 20th anniversary rematch of what many experts call the greatest upset in the history of college basketball, when a small, little known Division II Hawaii school named Chaminade beat then top-ranked Virginia, led by three-time college MVP, Ralph Sampson. The winner of this memorable rematch will face the winner of Game Three, in which the rapidly improving Arizona State Sun Devils, under Head Coach Rob Evans, try to knock off the seven-time NCAA champion Kentucky Wildcats.
"We're thrilled to have a terrific line-up of teams representing a cross-section of the nation's leading conferences," said Tournament Chairman Wayne Duke. "We're extremely proud of our history as one of college basketball's most respected early season tournaments, and we look forward to the upcoming 19th EA SPORTS Maui Invitational continuing a great tradition."
The first round schedule, to be played Monday, November 25, is as follows: