Russell: Looking at Xavier's resume-building opportunities in Maui Invitational

Xavier will open the 2018 Maui Invitational with a game against Auburn

Xavier will open the 2018 Maui Invitational with a game against Auburn

IL will open the 2108 Maui Invitational against Gonzaga, the tournament announced Tuesday. The 35th edition of the nation's premier early season Tournament will take place November 19-21 at the Lahaina Civic Center on the island of Maui.

This is the first-ever trip to the holiday tournament for Xavier or Auburn.

Two preseason top-five teams, loaded Auburn, new-look Arizona and Xavier and improving Iowa State and San Diego State? Gonzaga won the 2009 Maui championship. It's no wonder the Maui Invitational will reclaim its place as the holiday season's most anticipated college basketball tournament.

Combined, the teams own 196 NCAA Tournament berths, including 27 Final Four appearances, and 197 conference regular season and tournament championships.

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Neither team has a player remaining from the meeting in 2015, in fact, both programs legendary coaches won't even be on the bench as San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher retired in 2017 after 16 seasons at the helm of the Aztec basketball program.

Duke basketball has won the Maui five times - most recently in 2011. Duke defeated North Carolina 74-64.

"The 2018 event represents the first time in tournament history that eight Division I teams take the floor on Maui, a format which will continue in the following alternating years (2018, 2020, 2022 and beyond)".

Due to high demand, travel packages for the 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational are sold out.

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