Monday morning usually isn’t the highlight of anyone’s week. But the No. 17 Michigan basketball team gets to spend it in Hawaii, taking on No. 10 Memphis in the first round of the Maui Invitational.

The last time the Wolverines played the Tigers, the setting was similar. In 1996, the teams played in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. But this time, they’ll be 150 miles to the southeast, and Michigan won’t be on probation.

The game will be the first of the eight-team Maui Invitational, which features some of the biggest basketball brands in the country.

No. 6 Duke, No. 12 Kansas, Georgetown, UCLA and Tennessee will all be part of the biggest early-season tournament in college basketball. If Michigan wins Monday, it will play the winner of Duke versus Tennessee on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST. The championship game will be on Wednesday at 10 p.m.

“I think this is one of the best basketball tournaments there is anywhere, at any level,” said senior guard Zack Novak. “It’s fun to be here. You look at the programs that will be here – 21 national championships between all of us – so that’s special. It’s a good opportunity and I’m just looking forward to getting in and playing in it.”

Led by Glen Rice, the Wolverines won the tournament in 1988 and they last played in it in 1998.

“It’s an early measuring stick in the season that you’re going to really see where you are against teams that are going to be in the NCAA Tournament,” said Michigan coach John Beilein on Sunday. “So we’ll find out very soon where we are in regards to that and what we have to work on going forward.”

Michigan (3-0) has technically already played its first Maui Invitational game. It beat Towson 64-47 last Monday as part of the “Maui on the Mainland” portion of the tournament. These games consisted of the big-name teams hosting smaller schools on the continental United States. The games in Hawaii are known as the Championship Round.

The win over Towson marked the middle of the Wolverines’ pre-Hawaii schedule. Michigan routed Ferris State 59-33 in its first game of the season and narrowly escaped an upset threat from Western Illinois, 59-55, on Thursday.

“You’ve been with (the team) for five weeks,” Beilein said. “But you’re discovering how they’re going to react on a national stage.”

Memphis (1-0) will present the Wolverines with their biggest challenge of the season. The Tigers are a fast, athletic offensive juggernaut that scored 97 points in its season-opening win over Belmont. Memphis shot 59 percent in the game, which ranks first in Division-I.

The Tigers’ roster features three sophomores who were highly touted recruits a year ago. Guard Will Barton led the team in scoring last year and poured in 23 points in his first game. The others — Joe Jackson and Tarik Black — were the second and third-leading scorers from last season.

“I see a really long, athletic team that is going to try to speed us up,” Beilein said. “They’re going to try to have us play at a pace that we’re out of control. We don’t mind being sped up as long as we’re in control of the tempo. What we can’t do is, they speed us up and then we get wild.”

In its first three games, Michigan has shown flashes of brilliance, but inconsistency has plagued the team. Hot-and-cold shooting, poor post play and a sometimes stagnant offense have kept the games closer than they should have been.

The week will also provide a test for freshman point guard Trey Burke, who will be facing the first high-class competition of his career. He has been effective so far, showing the ability to create in transition and shoot the 3-pointer reliably. But facing the longer, faster teams will present a look he hasn’t seen yet.

“This will be such a great experience for Trey to just continue to mature as one of the youngest point guards in the country,” Beilein said of his starting point guard who has scored 10 points per game and is shooting 43 percent on 3-pointers.

As a team on the rise that is looking to enter the elite of college basketball, Michigan will use this week to see how it stacks up to the best national competition. Still, the tournament means very little in terms of the Wolverines’ bigger goals for the season.

“I don’t think we will take the results of these tournaments too much either way because it’s November,” Beilein said. “It’s so different than football where games like this early in the season will determine where you are in the BCS.

“For us, it’s good and it can be very positive but if we played incredibly the whole weekend, it wouldn’t mean anything as far as our chances in February and March if we don’t improve.”

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