After only a little more than three months since the Michigan State Spartans played in the Final Four, the program is gearing up for another tournament. The full bracket for the 2019 Maui Invitational has been released.
Squeezed between dates with Kentucky, Seton Hall and Duke, the Spartans will make the cross-country trip to Hawaii for the Thanksgiving week tournament. MSU will open play against Virginia Tech on Monday, November 2 at 5 p.m. ET. The game will air live on ESPN2.
The Spartans have only played Virginia Tech one other time, 2013 in New York during the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. MSU won that game 96-77.
The Hokies are coming off of their most successful season in 24 years and reached the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1967. However, they will lose the vast majority of their starting lineup, including star player Kerry Blackshear Jr., who transferred to Florida.
If Michigan State is successful against Virginia Tech, they will move on to play the next day against the winner between Dayton and Georgia. Kansas and UCLA, the other headliners in the tournament, will play against Chaminade and BYU, respectively. MSU played both Kansas and UCLA last season, losing to the Jayhawks to start the season and beating UCLA in Las Vegas.
Despite the other blue bloods in the tournament, MSU will almost certainly enter as the favorite to win the championship. As is often the case, Michigan State will start the season with a front-loaded schedule that will see them play some of the best teams in the country.