PROVO — In Mark Pope’s first season as BYU's head coach, the Cougars could face some of college basketball’s most prominent programs in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
The tournament bracket was released Thursday and BYU will play UCLA in the first round of the Maui Invitational in November, with the winner likely taking on Kansas in the second round. The Jayhawks take on host Chaminade in the first round.
The Cougars and Bruins square off Nov. 25 (9:30 p.m. MST, ESPN2) at the Lahaina Civic Center. BYU and UCLA will be meeting for the first time since 2010, with the Bruins leading the all-time series, 11-10.
Other first-round matchups in the prestigious eight-team tournament will feature Georgia-Dayton and Virginia Tech-Michigan State.
“It’s another great year for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, with several teams expected to have big seasons ahead of them,” tournament chairman David Odom said in a statement. “This field features a spread of young and experienced talent — both from the players and the coaches. We’re looking forward to seeing who will take home the Wayne Duke Championship Trophy in the unbeatable atmosphere that is the Lahaina Civic Center this November.”
BYU will be playing in the Maui Invitational for the first time since 2014. The Cougars finished as the tournament runner-up in 1992. UCLA is making its sixth appearance in the Maui Invitational. The Bruins won the tournament in 2006. UCLA, which finished 17-16 last season, will be led by first-year head coach Mick Cronin.
All 12 games of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be televised on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, and streamed on ESPN3.
Combined, this season’s Maui Jim Maui Invitational field has secured 196 NCAA tournament berths, including 44 Final Four appearances and 16 national championships.
Georgia is making it first tournament appearance. The seven returning programs will arrive in Maui with a combined five tournament championships.
BYU, Michigan State and Kansas are among the top 20 winningest programs in the nation since the start of the 2009-10 season. The Spartans enter the 2019 tournament fresh off a trip to the Final Four last season.
Some of the biggest names in coaching will part of this year's Maui Invitational field — Kansas' Bill Self, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Georgia's Tom Crean.