BYU will open with San Diego State in the EA Sports Maui Invitational Nov. 24 at the Lahiana Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii.
So technically the Cougars open the tournament at home on Nov. 18 against Arkansas-Little Rock. But the first game that really counts is against SDSU in what is termed the “championship round.”
The Cougars and Aztecs were long-time rivals in the Western Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference. The two teams last played in 2011, with San Diego State winning the MWC tournament title in Las Vegas with a 72-54 victory over Jimmer Fredette and BYU.
One of the more memorable games between the two teams also occurred in 2011 at the Marriott Center. San Diego State was 20-0 and ranked No. 4 in the country, while BYU was 19-1 and ranked ninth. Fredette scored 43 points to propel the Cougars to a 71-58 victory. The leading scorer for the Aztecs in that game was Kawhi Leonard, this year’s NBA Finals MVP.
Last year, San Diego State (31-5) won the Mountain West Conference regular season title and was awarded a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Aztecs advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to Arizona, 70-64.
BYU also earned an NCAA tournament bid last year but made a quick exit, losing to Oregon 87-68 in the second round.
The winner of the Cougars-Aztecs game in Maui will play the winner of Pitt-Chaminade on Nov. 25. The other teams in the tournament are Purdue, Kansas State, Arizona and Missouri.
That’s a pretty strong field, and BYU can earn itself some valuable RPI points with a strong showing.
For fans who can’t make it to Maui, the games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.