If North Carolina and Marquette win today, it will guarantee extending a streak of a team from either the Atlantic Coast Conference or Big East playing for the Maui title to nine years. The conferences have gone head to head in the championship game twice in that span, with the ACC winning both times - North Carolina defeated Notre Dame in 2008, and Duke topped Marquette in 2007.
The ACC's overall winning percentage in Maui games, based on schools' current affiliation, is a tournament-best .701, with a 47-20 mark.
The Big Ten has a 55-31 Valley Isle record, boasting the most total wins and a .639 winning percentage.
The 12 officials scheduled to work in Lahaina this week have handled a combined 160 NCAA tournaments and 44 Final Fours. Tim Higgins has worked the Big Dance 27 times, with nine Final Fours. Ed Hightower's 26 NCAA tournaments include 12 Final Fours, and Jim Burr has handled 22 NCAA tournaments and 16 Final Fours.
Pearl Harbor visit
Illinois' game on Friday against the University of Hawaii meant the Illini spent some time on Oahu, a trip that included going to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, and meeting veterans of World War II.
Illinois freshman guard Mike LaTulip tweeted: "Unbelievable experience at Pearl Harbor. Always remember the fallen," and that the visit "put things in perspective that's for sure. We've talked to a few survivors. Extremely humbling."
Three of the teams in this year's field have incoming recruiting classes for next season ranked among the nation's top 15 by rivals.com.
Marquette's No. 7 ranking leads the way. According to Rivals, the Golden Eagles' top early signee is guard Duane Wilson, who plays for Dominican High School in Milwaukee and is a cousin of current Marquette player Jamil Wilson.
John Groce's first recruiting class at Illinois was ranked No. 10, topped by guard Kendrick Nunn, who has helped Chicago's Simeon High School claim three consecutive state titles.
North Carolina's recruiting class was ranked 15th, and the Tar Heels landed the
top-ranked individual among those committing to this year's Maui teams - forward Isaiah Hicks, the No. 14 overall high school recruit in the nation, according to Rivals.
A quartet of Rivals' rated recruiting classes from this year could take the floor in Lahaina in 2013, topped by the 12th-ranked group headed to Baylor. Arkansas was listed 13th, California was 21st and Syracuse was 22nd.
In a free-throw contest teaming Maui youths with tournament coaches on Sunday at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Emmanuel Lutheran Middle School student Alex Teoh and Marquette coach Buzz Williams took first place. The event raised funds for local basketball programs. Illinois forward Sam McLaurin won a video-game contest for Maui Invitational players Saturday night. Chaminade has lost its last 12 Maui games. The Silverswords' longest losing streak on the Valley Isle is 30 games, from 1993 to 2002.
"First of all, thanks for noting that I am a graduate of Duke. It only took me 12 years to get that little diploma, but I did major in math."
- News conference moderator Jay Bilas, in response to a quip from North Carolina coach Roy Williams after Bilas said Marquette had been to "seven NCAA tournaments in the last five years."