Best bets for the Maui Invitational
HONOLULU — Zach Edey, a 7-foot-4, 300-pound center who’s the most dominant player in college basketball, is not the biggest attraction of the Maui Invitational. It’s tough to top Edey, the reigning national Player of the Year for second-ranked Purdue.
But in a holiday tournament with a Final Four feel to it, the featured attraction on the marquee is No. 1 Kansas. Five of the top 11 teams in last week’s Associated Press poll are getting together, with the Jayhawks and Boilermakers joined by No. 4 Marquette, No. 7 Tennessee and No. 11 Gonzaga.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a field this stacked,” DraftKings oddsmaker Matt Grill said. “It’s going to be absolutely amazing.”
DraftKings posted Kansas as the +185 favorite to win the eight-team tournament, which begins Monday and concludes Wednesday at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii campus. The event was moved from Maui because of the August wildfires that devastated the town of Lahaina.
The Jayhawks drew the easiest first-round matchup against Division-II Chaminade, the tournament’s host team. Grill said Kansas would be close to a 50-point favorite against the Silverswords, though DraftKings did not post a line on the game.
Purdue opened as a 3.5-point favorite against Gonzaga, and the line moved to -5 due to early money showing on the Boilermakers, according to Grill. Tennessee is a 13.5-point favorite against Syracuse, with the winner advancing to face the Boilermakers or Bulldogs. In the day’s final game. Marquette is a 6-point favorite over UCLA, with the winner advancing to play the Jayhawks, safely assuming they don’t fall in an historic upset.
Hunter Dickinson, a 7-2 transfer from Michigan, is Kansas’ top player. Dickinson posted 27 points and 21 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ 89-84 comeback victory over Kentucky last week. Dickinson and Edey, former rivals in the Big Ten, are the favorites to win the Wooden Award as DraftKings lists Edey at +200 and Dickinson at +425.
Grill said Tennessee (+330) is his pick to win the tournament. The Volunteers are in the same half of the bracket with Purdue (+380) and Gonzaga (+800). Marquette (+425) would likely need to beat Kansas to reach the title game.
My Best Bets:
Tennessee-Syracuse Under 146
Gonzaga +5 over Purdue
Marquette (-200 moneyline) over UCLA
UCLA-Marquette Under 138.5
Kansas +185 to win Maui Invitational