2011 Maui field takes it up a notch

The 2010 Maui Invitational is a solid tournament. It features big high-major names (Connecticut, Oklahoma), teams with designs on the Final Four (Michigan State, Kentucky, Washington), a mid-major conference championship favorite (Wichita State) and, of course, Chaminade. In other words, it's the Maui Invitational. It's solid.

The 2011 Maui field, however, is not merely solid. It's jaw-droppingly good. The tournament organizers will add four teams to the mix in 2011, and those schools will be announced at a later date, but we already know that Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Memphis, Michigan, Georgetown, and Tennessee will all be in the tournament. That field already has everything: recent national-title winners, storied programs, elite talent. It could be the best November tournament lineup of all-time, and we're still waiting to find out who the last four entrants are going to be. Awesome.

Also of interest is a change in the tournament format. I'll let the Associated Press explain:

The opening games will be played at the seven Maui-bound schools with three of the four mainland teams playing two games and the other playing one. The four mainland teams will play two doubleheaders at one of those schools on Nov. 19-20. The championship round will remain the same at the Lahaina Civic Center with all 12 games shown on one of the ESPN networks.

It's a somewhat complicated change -- not only is the tournament expanding in number, but geography; the Maui Invitational will now be taking place all over the continental United States. But whatever. If the tournament can consistently compile fields like 2011's, they can play the opening-round games in Siberia. I'd be down.