IU basketball: 2020 Maui Invitational to be held in Asheville, N.C. starting Nov. 30

Pack the hula skirts and leis and head for…North Carolina?

The reconstruction of the 2020-21 IU basketball schedule begins with news that there will be no trip to Hawaii in late November.

Few locations can match Maui when it comes to winter destinations, but Asheville, N.C. will have to suffice in 2020.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein appears to have been the first to report that the 2020 Maui Invitational has been relocated to Asheville, N.C.  Other accounts confirmed Rothstein’s report.

The event is expected to held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.  The 7,654 seat venue is located in downtown Asheville.

The 2020-21 college basketball season has been reduced to 27 games and starts on Nov. 25.  It is not yet clear how many of those games will be nonconference for Indiana.  But the Maui event should provide IU with three solid early season nonconference contests.

As it stands, Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV are scheduled to play in the 37th annual Tournament.

The PAC-12 conference has canceled all athletics until January 1, meaning Stanford would not be allowed to participate unless the league walks back that decision.

The timing of the rescheduled Maui event directly conflicts with the traditional timing of the Big Ten / ACC Challenge.  CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander is reporting that the Big Ten / ACC Challenge is likely to be moved to the following week, and played on campuses.

Although the relocated Maui Invitational will be held in the Tar Heel State, don’t expect any meaningful advantage to be gained by local schools Davidson and North Carolina.  The event may proceed without fans.  If a small amount of fans are permitted, presumably those tickets would be allocated evenly among the schools.

Indiana will make its seventh Maui Jim Maui Invitational appearance (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2015). IU holds an 11-8 all-time record in the Tournament.

The Hoosiers will be seeking their second Tournament championship title, with the first coming in 2002.

The event was originally scheduled to be held at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25.  Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and logistical challenges in Hawaii forced the move to the mainland.

Meeting Rooms & Non-Traditional Spaces | Harrah's Cherokee Center Asheville

UPDATE:  The Maui Invitational confirmed the reports with a release on Friday afternoon.

We’re taking Maui to the mainland!  For the first time ever, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and schedule changes announced by the NCAA, the Maui Jim Maui Invitational is planning to relocate to  Asheville, NC with games to be played at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville operating under the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for mass gatherings. Tournament dates will be announced shortly. We look forward to bringing the mystique of Maui to the mainland.

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