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East // East Oahu Sports

Chaminade To Face Baylor In Opening Hoops Play This Fall

Chaminade’s performance at the Maui Invitational last November, highlighted by an upset win over Texas in the first round, helped set the tone for another memorable season for the Silverswords, which went on to earn the school’s fifth-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II tournament.

The Swords will have their chances to make an early impact on the college basketball scene again this year, as they will open the Maui Invitational against Baylor University Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m. The Bears (23-14 in 2012-13) won the NIT title last season and have been to the Elite Eight two of the past three seasons.

“I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the bracket,” said Chaminade head coach Eric Bovaird, whose team went 19-11 overall last season. “All the teams in this year’s field are of high quality. Baylor has had a great run with coach (Scott) Drew at the helm. They return a very, very good team along with adding a phenomenal recruiting class. It will be a serious challenge to compete with a team of their caliber, but we really look to forward to it.”

The Swords will face either Gonzaga (32-3) or Dayton (17-14) on the second day of the championship round. The Bulldogs finished the season as the Associated Press top-ranked team and subsequently earned the West Region’s No. 1 seed for last year’s Division I NCAA tournament, while the Flyers have advanced to the postseason in five of the last six seasons.

The other half of the Maui bracket will see California taking on Arkansas and Syracuse (a Final Four participant last year) facing Minnesota. All games in the championship round will be televised nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Chaminade traditionally plays one of the toughest schedules in the country among Division II schools, and the 2013-14 slate looks demanding once again, at least on paper. They open the season Nov. 8 hosting Western Oregon in the PacWest/GNAC Challenge at McCabe Gym. The Challenge concludes the next night when the Swords play St. Martin’s. The Swords defeated both teams in last year’s Challenge, which was played in Oregon.

Following the three-day Maui Invitational Nov. 25-27, the Swords open PacWest action Dec. 2, when they host Hawaii-Hilo at McCabe, followed by a home date Dec. 7 against Hawaii Pacific. They return to non-conference action when they host a pair of schools from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – Northwood Dec. 19 and Lake Superior State Dec. 21.

The team won’t begin its first Mainland road trip until Jan. 18 to visit Holy Name, marking the first of a four-game stretch away from home. The regular season ends with four straight home contests, beginning Feb. 20 against Notre Dame de Namur and concluding March 1 against Fresno Pacific.

For the second straight year, the top six teams in the standings will compete at the PacWest Basketball Tournament March 6-8 in San Diego, hosted by Point Loma Nazarene. The winner gets the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

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