What Winnning The Maui Invitational Really Means

The Maui Invitational is easily the most prestigious early season tournament in college basketball, but does winning on the island have any relation to winning off it?

The Maui Invitational is the unquestioned king of early season college basketball tournaments, a status cemented by the fact that three of its past seven champions have gone on to cut down the nets in April. But just how strong is the correlation between November success on the island and success over the succeeding four months? A quick look at the profiles of the tournament's 27 champions shows...pretty strong.

Not since the tournament's third year of existence has a champion (a Will Perdue-led Vandy squad) missed out on the NCAA Tournament, and only once over those 24 years has the tourney winner earned a seed higher than eight in the dance (Dayton in 2003).

Here's a look at the full history of champions with their NCAA Tournament finish and seed (in parentheses):

1984 - Providence - No Tournament
1985 - Michigan - Second Round (2)
1986 - Vanderbilt - No Tournament
1987 - Iowa - Sweet 16 (5)
1988 - Michigan - National Champion (3)
1989 - Missouri - First Round (3)
1990 - Syracuse - First Round (2)
1991 - Michigan State - Second Round (5)
1992 - Duke - Second Round (3)
1993 - Kentucky - Second Round (3)
1994 - Arizona State - Sweet 16 (5)
1995 - Villanova - Second Round (3)
1996 - Kansas - Sweet 16 (1)
1997 - Duke - Elite Eight (1)
1998 - Syracuse - First Round (8)
1999 - North Carolina - Final Four (8)
2000 - Arizona - Championship Game (2)
2001 - Duke - Sweet 16 (1)
2002 - Indiana - Second Round (7)
2003 - Dayton - First Round (10)
2004 - North Carolina - National Champion (1)
2005 - Connecticut - Elite Eight (1)
2006 - UCLA - Final Four (2)
2007 - Duke - Second Round (2)
2008 - North Carolina - National Champion (1)
2009 - Gonzaga - Second Round (8)
2010 - Connecticut - National Champion (3)

That comes out to four national champions, one national runner-up, two semifinalists, two elite eight appearances, four trips to the sweet 16, eight second round exits, four one-and-dones, and just two squads left out of the field.

A look at the tournament seeds the Maui champions have earned is even more impressive:

No. 1 - 6
No. 2 - 5
No. 3 - 6
No. 5 - 3
No. 7 - 1
No. 8 - 3
No. 10 - 1
Missed Tournament - 2

So seventeen of the Maui Invitational winners - well over half the total number of champions - have gone on to earn an NCAA Tournament of three or better.

All news that bodes will for the quartet of Duke, Michigan, Kansas and UCLA, who will take the floor in semifinal action Tuesday night.

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