2023 Maui Invitational College Basketball Preview – A Loaded Field Offers Plenty of Betting Value
We are right at a month into the College Basketball season and the buy games are concluding. There are numerous different tournaments being played or getting set to begin this week. Today, we will preview one of the best tournaments beginning this week in the Maui Invitational. As always, we have a loaded field with 3 of the top 4 in the AP poll and 3 more teams who are top 25 in the coaches’ poll.
Kansas is the betting favorite, but I think there are s few teams who have value. The Jayhawks have an easier path as they will match up with Chaminade in round one. I’m more intrigued by two teams on opposite sides of the bracket with similar odds. Purdue (+380) and Marquette (+450) is who I have my eye on to win this tournament. Let’s break down why . . .
Purdue to win the Maui Invitational +380
Depending on how you feel about Hunter Dickinson, the Boilermakers have the most dominant player in this field. Purdue is top 10 in both adjusted offense and defense early on which is the best combo of any team in the field. The quality of opponents for all teams has been similar outside of Kansas who should have probably lost to Kentucky a week ago.
From top to bottom, I think Purdue has the best team in this field. Their guards are excellent and they have something they have not had in a while which is quality wing depth. They had no problem with Gonzaga last year in the Phil Knight Invitational and it can be debated this is a better version of Purdue and a worse version of Gonzaga.
The Boilermakers are shooting 46% from deep while Gonzaga ranks outside the top 280 in defending the three. This is a huge advantage for the Boilermakers as around 34% of their points are off three-point shots. If they are able to get by the Bulldogs, they possess huge advantages over Syracuse and Tennessee. Edey will feast on both teams’ interior and the Orange do not defend the three well or have the depth to contend.
The path is not overly daunting and the quality depth mixed with matchup advantages for the Boilermakers are why I like them to win this tournament. They defend the three well (17th in the nation) while being as efficient as any team in the field. The continuity is not to be ignored, as most of these teams are working with new players being implemented into new systems. I would not be shocked if they coast to the finals where they will hopefully be met by . . .
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Marquette to win the Maui Invitational +450
Marquette likely has the toughest first-round matchup of any team in the field. Although the UCLA Bruins have not been as sharp, they still pose some potential problems to this Marquette team. The Bruins size specifically is the most concerning. They rank top 15 in average height (per KenPom) while Marquette is just inside the top 100.
The matchup against the Bruins is going to be a complete contrast of styles. UCLA wants to slow the game down and get one great shot. They are outside the top 250 in average offensive possession length as well as being able to slow teams down on the defensive end. Marquette is top 10 in average offensive possession length and wants to run often with Kolek and Jones at the helm.
This will be the toughest defense the Golden Eagles will face from a perimeter standpoint but they have two veteran guards who can withstand the pressure that Cronin-led teams typically play with. Another advantage for Marquette is having the best 6th man in the country in Chase Ross. He is a spark plug off the bench and allows some pressure to be taken off of the starting backcourt.
If they can survive against the Bruins, I think they can knock off the top-ranked team in the country. We saw the Jayhawks have issues with the Kentucky guards who are young and athletic. Kolek and Jones may not be as athletic but they are just as elite and can give the Jayhawks backcourt all they can handle.
I think the combo of Ighodaro and Joplin will give Dickinson trouble and without a dominant effort from Dickinson, I’m not sure if the Kansas guards will have enough to compete with Marquette. The team that I think could give the Golden Eagles the most issues they would not see until the championship game. Do not be surprised if Marquette leaves this tournament as the top-ranked team in the country.
THIS IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DELONTE SMITH
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