The Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas hosts a stacked field featuring multiple ranked opponents. For that single reason, this early-season tournament potentially reveals nation title contenders as well as pretenders. Action tips-off on November 26th and the schedule is as follows:
Battle 4 Atlantis Schedule
|Nov. 26||1||North Carolina vs. Butler||12 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Nov. 26||2||UCLA vs. Oklahoma||2:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Nov. 26||3||Wisconsin vs. UAB||7 p.m.||AXS TV|
|Nov. 26||4||Florida vs. Georgetown||9:30 p.m.||AXS TV|
|Nov. 27||5||Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner||1 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nov. 27||6||Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner||3:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nov. 27||7||Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser||7 p.m.||AXS TV|
|Nov. 27||8||Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser||9:30 p.m.||AXS TV|
|Nov. 28||9||Game 5 Loser vs. Game 6 Loser||2 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nov. 28||10||Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nov. 28||11||Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner||8 p.m.||AXS TV|
|Nov. 28||12||Game 7 Loser vs. Game 8 Loser||10:30 p.m.||AXS TV|
A heavyweight in this year's tournament, Billy Donovan must find a way to win without the likes of Dorian Finney-Smith and Eli Carter. Both guards are currently dealing with injuries leaving the front court duo of Chris Walker and Jon Horford to shoulder much of the pressure. Unfortunately for the Gators, their weakness appears to be in keeping pace with teams that like to play fast. With a top notch roster, Florida may look to slow things down in order get off better shots on a consistent basis.
North Carolina Tarheels
Marcus Paige finally has help around him on the court allowing him to take over the scoring role. In the front court, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks can rebound with anyone in the nation while efficiently putting up points in the paint. Needless to say, this is a team with depth that likes to turn outings into track meets. On a neutral court, the speed of UNC could prove vital in claiming the prize in the Bahamas.
After losing a ton of talent to the NBA last season, the Bruins have restocked. Bryce Alford and Norman Powell have taken over the scoring roles by averaging over 20 points per game each. There's no denying the athleticism of this team as a strong suit as 90+ points have become commonplace this season. Look for solid play on both ends of the court, regardless of the lack of experience.
The favorite of the tournament, Wisconsin plays unselfishly making them difficult to guard on an individual basis. Frank Kaminski made a name for himself in the NCAA Tournament a year ago and continues to provide the leadership on this squad capable of winning it all. Possibly the most disciplined team in the nation, look for Bo Ryan's team to limit turnovers while scoring at an efficient pace.
Lon Kruger received a bit of good news 17 hours before the onset of the season with TaShawn Thomas being declared immediately eligible. A core of returning starters look to put an early exit in the NCAA Tournament behind them and make a statement here early. However, the biggest weakness may be experienced depth. Jumping out to a quick start thanks to defense and the transition game, the Sooners must find a way to sustain momentum if they hope to reach the championship round.
The nation's 11th ranked recruiting class must grow up fast as the Hoyas look for a complimentary player to D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Heading into the tournament, the 7-0 350-pound Joshua Smith remains the x-factor. Although extremely difficult to defend, Smith's conditioning could hurt the team if the guards fall short.
Shooting 22-of-45 from beyond the arc, the Bulldogs do not shy away from an open three-point attempt. Looking to repair some damage after unforeseen fallout from last year, Butler pulled in an McDonald's All-American in Tyler Lewis via transfer. Unfortunately, Lewis remains ineligible for this season forcing interim coach, Chris Holtmann, to lean on unproven talent.
Looking to shock the nation in this tournament, UAB relies heavily on their ability to create turnovers. In their past two games the Blazers have forced 51 turnovers but have not been able to capitalize while shooting just over 35% in both contests. It may take a miracle for this squad to advance into the winner's bracket but the Battle 4 Atlantis has a history of surprises. Last season, unranked Villanova knocked of No. 2 Kansas and before that, UCF beat No. 4 UConn while Harvard won the inaugural event.