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Maui Invitational to be played in Indianapolis — sorry, everyone

From having fire eaters at a luau on the beach to some fire shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s. Thoughts and prayers, players and coaches.

Brigham Young Cougars pose for a team photo after defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies in the final round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The downgrading of destinations for holiday college basketball tournaments continues as the MVP of these preseason events, the Maui Invitational, will move from Lahaina, Hawai’i to Indianapolis, Indiana.

This event draws an outstanding field every year, and 2020 is no exception. No word on if they’ll use Bankers Life Fieldhouse or Hinkle Fieldhouse as the host facility, but both will be a significant upgrade on the infamous Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, which only got air conditioning in 2005 because Roy Williams complained. He’s back in the event this year with the Tar Heels.

However... if you’re the college basketball intelligentsia, or a player looking forward to a few days on the beach with some good food and palm trees before the long winter begins, this is a significant downgrade.

High temperature last Thanksgiving in Indianapolis? 37 degrees. It was 86 degrees in Maui. And no amount of St. Elmo’s Steak House legendarily hot shrimp cocktails is warming enough to make up the difference here.

The moving of these preseason events continues to make the most sense in this time of Covid-19. But that doesn’t mean the players and coaches have to be happy about it. I think we’re all looking forward to being able to get on a plane and head to the beach without any worries again. But for now: At least we’ll still be getting some great basketball.