LAHAINA, Hawaii -- North Carolina, a three-time champion of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, will face Mississippi State in the opening round of the 29th edition of the tournament.
The brackets, released Thursday, show the Tar Heels getting the winner of the Butler-Marquettegame in the semifinals. The other half of the bracket had Texas playing Chaminade, the Division II host school, and Southern California meeting Illinois.
The championship game is Nov. 21.
North Carolina won the tournament in 1999, 2004 and 2008, and the Tar Heels are trying to close in on Duke's record five titles. No other team in the 2012 field has won the tournament although Illinois (2000) and Marquette (2007) both finished second.
The tournament has four schools -- Colgate, Coppin State, Elon and Florida Atlantic -- which will only play regional games at campus sites.
This should be a good early test for the Heels. Carolina lost Barnes, Marshall, Zeller, and Henson to the NBA and Mississippi State lost a few good players as well in Arnett Moultrie, Dee Bost, and Brian Bryant.
However, the Heels won the recruiting battle as they added four, four star recruits as well as adding transfer Luke Davis; compared to Mississippi State's one four star recruit.