Vols Basketball to Open With Wisconsin in Maui Invitational
(utsports.com) The official bracket for the 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational was released Tuesday, and Tennessee’s first opponent in the championship round is Wisconsin. The Volunteers and Badgers tipoff Monday, Nov. 21, at 2:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. Hawaii Time), and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
The other opening-day matchup on Tennessee’s side of the bracket features Georgetown and 2016 Final Four participant Oregon. While the opposite side of the bracket includes games between 2016 national runner-up North Carolina and Chaminade, and Oklahoma State and UConn.
Projected to enter 2016-17 with a top-25 ranking, Wisconsin made a run to the Sweet Sixteen last season under the direction of first-year head coach Greg Gard. The Badgers received a huge boost in late May when leading scorer Nigel Hayes (15.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) announced that he was returning for his senior year.
The All-Big Ten forward will be joined by consensus 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Big Ten All-Defensive Team selection Ethan Happ (12.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg). Also back for the Badgers are starting guard Zak Showalter (7.5 ppg, .346 3FG) and starting forward Vitto Brown (9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .400 3FG).
The Vols and Badgers have met just three times previously, with UT owning a 2-1 edge and a win in the series’ only neutral-site clash (a 79-67 victory in the 1981 Far West Classic in Portland, Oregon).
Tennessee is 22-33 all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Vols’ last triumph over a Big Ten foe was a come-from-behind win over Iowa in the “First Four” of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Vols head coach Rick Barnes owns a .500 career record against Big Ten teams (28-28) and is 1-3 against Wisconsin.