Another Great Maui Field Guarantees More Top Ten Loses
Nov. 19, 2001
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
LAHAINA, Hawaii - For the second straight year the Maui Invitationalhas three teams ranked in the Top Ten, including the No. 1 team in thenation.
At least two of those three - No. 1 Duke, No. 5 UCLA and No. 7 Kansas - willleave the 50th state with a loss, something that has become familiar for TopTen teams this November.
Four teams in the preseason Top Ten - No. 2 Maryland, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 6Florida and No. 10 Saint Joseph's - have already lost a game less than twoweeks into the season.
'That's a fact of life,' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Sunday, the daybefore his Blue Devils opened the Maui Invitational against Seton Hall.'When you play tough people you have a chance to lose. It's a chance to getbetter. You don't come to Maui expecting to go 3-0. You come to Mauiexpecting to have three very difficult games and to come out gettingbetter.'
This is Duke's third trip to Maui and the Blue Devils have left 3-0 eachtime. They won the eight-team tournament in 1992, also as the No. 1 team inthe country and defending national champions, and in 1997, as the preseasonNo. 3.
Those fields also had highly ranked teams - Duke beat No. 1 Arizona in the1997 title game - and that's something Krzyzewski sees as a positive.
'Our sport is a great sport because we play each other anywhere, any time,throughout the season and we get better because of it and that's why theNCAA tournament is so good,' Krzyzewski said.
Monday's other opening-round matchups have South Carolina against Chaminade,the Division II host school, Kansas against Ball State, and UCLA againstHouston.
Kansas and UCLA are in the same bracket, so a title would mean a win overthe other in the semifinal and more than likely over Duke in thechampionship game.
Kansas coach Roy Williams and UCLA's Steve Lavin both said they weren'tconcerned with other Top Ten teams losing early.
'In college basketball those things are going to happen,' Williams said.'There's no reason to focus on that, just on trying to make our teambetter.'
Lavin described the tournament as a 'crash course.'
'It's a wonderful opportunity to learn about your team in an acceleratedatmosphere with three games in three days,' he said.
As Krzyzewski, Williams and Lavin played down the early losses by thehigher-profile programs, Houston coach Ray McCallum jumped in.
'On the other hand, our guys are saying, `Man, maybe we can pull theupset,'' he said.
Last year's tournament produced some early upsets, with No. 2 Maryland andNo. 14 Connecticut losing to Dayton before No. 1 Arizona beat No. 8 Illinoisin the title game.
In college basketball, Chaminade is synonymous with upset. In 1982,competing then in the NAIA, the Silverswords knocked off No. 1 Virginia andRalph Sampson.
First-year South Carolina coach Dave Odom was an assistant to Terry Hollandat Virginia then, and he'll have plenty to tell his team before theopening-round game this year.
'The memory of 1982 is indelible and one of the reasons I hadn't been backsince,' said Odom, the head coach at Wake Forest for 12 seasons whoinherited this schedule. 'I was tricked into this one.'
Of the teams in the field, only Seton Hall has played a game, an 87-79victory over San Francisco on Friday in coach Louis Orr's debut with thePirates.
Kansas will be without freshman forward Wayne Simien, its leading scorer inits two exhibition games. He is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks afterundergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday.
UCLA might have freshman point guard Cedric Bozeman for the Houston game. Hepracticed Saturday for the first time since taking a hard fall and bruisinghis tailbone in the exhibition opener.