Dayton will face Gonzaga in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. The Zags return Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Sam Dower (and Stockton’s precocious kid) from last season’s 32-3 campaign. The winner of the UD/Zags contest will likely face Baylor.
UD’s last trip to Maui, in 2003 (with a field so weak I believe Chaminade was the odds-on favorite to win it), resulted in three victories and a non-seaworthy championship surfboard. The legend of Keith Waleskowski still reverberates around the island.
The 2013 field includes three probable Top 25 teams in Baylor, Gonzaga and Syracuse — meaning the chance to claim significant scalps is there for the taking.
While Dayton may not depart Lahaina with the tournament title, Flyer fans will surely claim the coveted Battle of Sunburns and Heat Exhaustion. And at the end of the day, isn’t that really what this whole thing is about?