To stay perfect in Maui, Syracuse basketball must beat gauntlet of powers

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball will compete in the 2023 Maui Invitational, according to the Orange’s athletics department, and the eight-team field is absolutely loaded with elite squads.

Per, Syracuse basketball will participate in the 40th-annual Maui Jim Maui Invitational from Nov. 20-22, 2023, at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii.

The other seven groups in this event are tournament host Chaminade, Gonzaga, Kansas, Marquette, Purdue, Tennessee and UCLA. Good grief, that’s a stacked field.

All-time, the Orange is 9-0 in the Maui Invitational, capturing the tourney’s grand prize in 1990, 1998 and 2013. Most recently, in 2013, the ‘Cuse knocked off Minnesota, California and Baylor on its way to the event’s championship.

Syracuse basketball will play in Hawaii during the 2023-24 campaign.

I took a look at the Orange’s all-time records versus the other 2023 Maui Invitational teams, with information provided by the fabulous Web site,

Interestingly enough, the ‘Cuse is a combined 22-12 versus these other seven squads, although Syracuse basketball has pretty limited historical series with some of these potential future opponents.

The Orange is 1-0 against Chaminade, 2-0 against Gonzaga, 3-3 against Kansas, 9-5 against former Big East Conference rival Marquette, 3-0 against Purdue, 3-3 against Tennessee, and 1-1 against UCLA.

Obviously, the 2023-24 stanza won’t be here for a while, but if the last season or two is any indication, Syracuse basketball will face some top-flight competition in this event.

Kansas, for one, captured the 2022 national title on Monday night, when the No. 1 seed Jayhawks snuck by No. 8 seed North Carolina by three points. Of course, we all remember what the ‘Cuse did to Kansas in 2003.

Gonzaga is led by one of Orange head coach Jim Boeheim’s good friends, Mark Few. In the recently concluded Big Dance, the Bulldogs were the No. 1 overall seed, but they fell in the Sweet 16 to No. 4 seed Arkansas.

Syracuse basketball and Gonzaga engaged in a really thrilling Sweet 16 battle during the 2016 NCAA Tournament, one in which the ‘Cuse reached the Final Four.

Both Purdue and Tennessee earned No. 3 seeds in the 2022 March Madness, although the Boilermakers fell in the Sweet 16, while the Volunteers were bounced in the round of 32.

UCLA, meanwhile, advanced to the Final Four in 2021 and got to the Sweet 16 this past March. And then there’s Marquette. The Golden Eagles, in the 2022 Big Dance, lost in the round of 64 to UNC.

In my humble opinion, one of the most annoying NCAA Tournament losses that Syracuse basketball has suffered throughout the program’s history occurred in 2011, when the ‘Cuse got beat by Marquette in the round of 32.

But the Orange exacted revenge when it throttled the Golden Eagles in the 2013 Elite Eight, a game that was held in Washington, D.C., and that I had the good fortune to watch live.

Are any of my fellow Syracuse basketball fans going to make the trip to the 2023 Maui Invitational? If you are, I’m so jealous!

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Benny Williams, veteran guards returning is big time. dark