For the first time since 2008, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team is headed to the Maui Invitational. In Notre Dame’s last Maui appearance they made it all the way to the championship game with wins over Indiana and Texas before falling to North Carolina. The Irish are one of the headliners of the event to go along with teams such as Michigan, Wichita State and Marquette.
On Tuesday, the bracket was unveiled and it has the Irish facing off with the host school, Chaminade. Assuming Notre Dame gets past their first round game, they could be in for an interesting second round matchup. The other game in Notre Dame’s bracket is Michigan vs. LSU. The Wolverines will undoubtedly be favored, so we could see another Notre Dame/Michigan showdown.
Despite the losses of V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia, the Irish should have another solid team led by All-American forward Bonzie Colson and guard Matt Farrell. Guards Rex Pflueger and T.J. Gibbs both expect to see expanded roles as well.
Michigan is kind of in the same boat as Notre Dame. They lose the likes of Derrick Walton Jr., Zak Irvin and D.J. Wilson, but still expect to bring back another strong group. Led by Moritz Wagner, Muhammed-Ali Abdur Rahkman and newcomers Charles Matthews and Xavier Simpson, look for Michigan to be near the top of the Big Ten this season.
The Irish and Wolverines last played each other in the first round of the NCAA Tournament back in 2016. Beachem went perfect from the field to lead the Irish to a comeback victory en route to their second straight Elite Eight appearance.
The other side of the bracket seems to be the tougher one with first round games of Marquette vs. VCU and Cal vs. Wichita State. If there is a path to the championship round, Notre Dame seems to have a pretty decent one with Chaminade and potential matchups with either Michigan or LSU.