The Sunflower

The Sunflower picks the Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Wichita+State+Shockers+guard+Conner+Frankamp+in+introduced+to+the+crowd+during+the+charity+exhibition+game+against+Newman.
Wichita State Shockers guard Conner Frankamp in introduced to the crowd during the charity exhibition game against Newman.

Wichita State Shockers guard Conner Frankamp in introduced to the crowd during the charity exhibition game against Newman.

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes

Wichita State Shockers guard Conner Frankamp in introduced to the crowd during the charity exhibition game against Newman.

Thanksgiving week provides college basketball with an opportunity for clashes between top 25 programs.

That’s the expectation for Wichita State and Notre Dame who could potentially meet in championship of the eight-team Maui Jim Maui Invitational, with games starting Monday. The tournament offers young and seasoned teams an opportunity to play in a shot-schedule atmosphere with games Monday through Wednesday.

The Maui Jim Invitational has a history dating back to 1984. Providence won in the tournament’s inaugural year, and since then, powerhouses like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Michigan State, Villanova, Indiana and Gonzaga have claimed the Invitational’s championship.

Tournament MVPs Kemba Walker, Frank Mason III, Joel Barry, and Dell Curry, Travis Ford, and Bobby Hurley, have their name recognized on a banner inside tournament’s the gymnasium.

Wichita State plays California in the first round (4 P.M. CDT) Monday.

Before the action starts, members of The Sunflower weighed in on the tournament, casting their picks for the bracket.

__________________________

Matt Crow, Sports Editor

Marquette v. VCU

Wichita State v. California

Notre Dame v. Chaminade

Michigan v. LSU

Semifinals 

Marquette v. Wichita State

Notre Dame v. Michigan

Championship

Wichita State v. Notre Dame

Winner: Wichita State

Summary: Though the Shockers typically struggle early in the year, they should have what it takes to make it through to the end. I think Notre Dame will be a hard-fought game, and the Shockers should make easy work of California and Marquette en route to the championship game.

Tournament MVP: Shaq Morris’s diverse skillset will lead the Shockers to victory over the Fighting Irish. He will then be named tournament MVP.

__________________________

Ray Strunk, Projects & Enterprise Editor

Marquette v. VCU

Wichita State v. California

Notre Dame v. Chaminade

Michigan v. LSU

Semifinals 

Marquette v. Wichita State

Notre Dame v. LSU

Championship

Wichita State v. Notre Dame 

Winner: Notre Dame

Summary:

Bonzie Colson is only 6-5, but his wingspan is 7-0. There’s a reason he was named Preseason AAC Player of The Year. He’s just one of the reasons Notre Dame will win this three-game invitational tournament.

Tournament MVP: 

Bonzie Colson. Enough said.

__________________________

Evan Pflugradt, Opinion Editor

Marquette v. VCU

Wichita State v. California

Notre Dame v. Chaminade

Michigan v. LSU

Semifinals 

Marquette v. Wichita State

Notre Dame v. Michigan

Championship

Wichita State v. Michigan

Winner: Wichita State

Summary:

The results are pretty clear. Chaminade isn’t going anywhere quickly, and Michigan should handle LSU with ease. What critics are most interested in, is the opportunity for a potential face-off between No. 6 Wichita State and No. 12 Notre Dame. This matchup won’t reach the surface, thanks to an upset by Michigan. Nobody will see this upset coming. The Shockers will escape the week without a matchup against an AP Top 25 ranked team, and that hurts the rankings for strength of schedule and other analytics, but they stay undefeated for another week. I watched the Shockers lose all three games of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando two seasons ago — that was unexpected. This Wichita State team is far from Gregg Marshall’s first (and only) team to lose all three games of a regular-season invitational tournament.

Tournament MVP: If Wichita State’s Shaq Morris continues what he has in two games, he will win the tournament MVP with ease. He has posted 3-6 shooting from three-point range, and scored in double-figures in each of the Shockers two games, despite limited minutes. His only competition is on his team, in the backcourt. A breakout from Landry Shamet or Conner Frankamp is the only thing standing in the big man’s way.

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About the Writers
Evan Pflugradt, Sports Editor

Evan Pflugradt is the Sports Editor of The Sunflower.

Pflugradt graduated from the Elliott School of Communication in spring 2017, and was recognized as the Elliott School’s Most Outstanding Journalism Graduate for the 2017 graduating class. Pflugradt graduated from Wichita State with a bachelor of arts in communication — journalism.

He has previously served as The Sunflower’s Editor-in-Chief, Opinion Editor, and Sports Editor. Additionally, he worked as a digital news intern for KMUW, NPR for Wichita.

Pflugradt transferred to Wichita State from Johnson County Community College in 2015.

Currently, he’s a second-year graduate student seeking a master’s degree from the Elliott School of Communication.

 

Matt Crow, Sports Editor

Matt Crow is the Sports Editor for The Sunflower. Crow is a senior at Wichita State majoring in communications with an emphasis is electronic media. He was born in San Diego, California, but has spent most of his life living in Wichita, Kansas. After graduation, Crow plans to pursue a career in sports photography.

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