UT to play Syracuse in Maui

Published 10:03 am Friday, July 28, 2023

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The bracket for the 2023 Maui Jim Maui Invitational was released Tuesday, and the Vols are set to face Syracuse on the tournament’s opening day, Monday, Nov. 20.

The 2023 Maui Invitational takes place at Lahaina Civic Center Nov. 20-22. This season marks UT’s fourth appearance at the event, with previous trips in 2004, 2011 and 2016.

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The other matchup on Tennessee’s side of the eight-team bracket features Gonzaga vs. Purdue. The opposite side of the bracket includes Kansas vs. Chaminade and Marquette vs. UCLA.

Tennessee’s all-time series with Syracuse is tied, 3-3, dating to 1972. The Vols have won each of the last two games in the series, but the programs have not met since 2002. In the series’ only previous neutral-site clash, a Tennessee squad led by All-Americans Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld was knocked out of the 1977 NCAA Tournament by a Syracuse team coached by a first-year head coach named Jim Boeheim.

Longtime UT assistant Adrian Autry now enters his first season as Syracuse’s head coach after the legendary Boeheim retired in March following 47 years at the helm.

Syracuse has participated in the Maui Invitational three times and has never lost at the event, owning a 9-0 record and winning the tournament title in 1990, 1998 and 2013.

Two current Vols grew up in New York. Junior point guard Zakai Zeigler is from Long Island (Wyandanch), and sophomore forward Tobe Awaka hails from Hyde Park.

The Vols are 114-100 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, most recently toppling Duke in the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament. This season’s Tennessee non-conference schedule now features three games against ACC opposition, as UT also is set to face North Carolina and NC State.

To prep for the upcoming season ninth-year head coach Rick Barnes, the Volunteers depart Monday for a 10-day, three-game exhibition tour of Italy.