It probably wasn't realistic for the Maui Invitational to pit Kentucky and Washington against one-another in the first round this November, but give credit to tournament organizers for doing the next best thing.
Washington drew a rebuilding Virginia squad in the quarterfinals and Kentucky opens with an Oklahoma team headed for a down season. If both the Huskies and Wildcats take care of business as expected in their openers, they will meet in the semifinals on Nov. 23 in what would likely be one of the most anticipated non-conferences games of next season.
A battle between a pair of likely top 25 teams always makes for a nice non-conference matchup, but it's the recruiting back story that ensures a Washington-Kentucky showdown would be must-see TV.
The enmity between the two fan bases started earlier this year when five-star Turkish big man Enes Kanter committed to Washington and then reneged on the decision and opted for Kentucky instead. Then McDonald's All-American Terrence Jones revealed in mid-May that he was signing with Kentucky after originally donning a Washington cap at a news conference at his high school three weeks earlier.
Amazingly enough, a third marquee recruiting battle may come down to the Huskies and Wildcats. Elite Class of 2011 point guard Tony Wroten is still considering a long list of schools, but the Seattle native's two favorites have long been Washington and Kentucky.
The day after Jones chose Kentucky, Washington point guard Isiah Thomas fanned the flames by tweeting that he hoped the Huskies would get a chance at revenge in Maui. Thomas echoed those sentiments Thursday with another tweet minutes after the bracket was announced.
"They didn't want the UW/UK in the 1st rd???" Thomas wrote. "Guess we both gotta win so people can watch what they wanna see."
You've got to love that attitude from Thomas. In a loaded Maui field that also features Michigan State, UConn and potential Missouri Valley favorite Wichita State, let's hope Washington and Kentucky find a way to make this matchup happen.