Battle 4 Atlantis Preview
Today begins the Battle 4 Atlantis, which once again has a great field, headlined by last years number one overall seed Virginia. Wisconsin, Florida, and Butler all look like good teams who should make the NCAA Tournament. The bottom four of Oklahoma, Stanford, Dayton, and Middle Tennessee are all projected to miss the NCAA Tournament but they all could make a statement in the Bahamas. Here I will give a power rankings with a preview and then I will give my predictions for each game.
1.Virginia: The Cavaliers have a dominant regular season team, as they continue to defend at a high level, while they sprinkle in some good offense. Ty Jerome has been a complete stud thus far this year, while his backcourt mate Kyle Guy continues to shoot the ball at a high level. De’Andre Hunter, Mamadi Diakite, and Braxton Key have formed a great versatile frontcourt, while Jack Salt and Jay Huff are quality inside. This team should win the tournament, as they are clearly the best team in the tournament in my opinion.
2.Wisconsin: The Badgers have one of the best players in the country in Ethan Happ, along with some great pieces around them. Happ might be the best player in this tournament, he should continue to perform at a high level. Brad Davidson, D’Mitrik Trice, Khalil Iverson, and Brevin Pritzl are all solid pieces around Happ, which is key. This team should probably win two games in this tournament, although they certainly have the talent to win the Battle 4 Atlantis title.
3.Butler: The other team with a star-player is Butler with Kamar Baldwin, who has is an elite level guard. Baldwin already is putting up huge numbers both scoring and passing the ball. Paul Jorgensen has become the second scorer for the Bulldogs, while the frontcourt pair of Joey Brunk and Nate Fowler are both solid players. Aaron Thompson, Henry Baddley, and Sean McDermott are all solid pieces who work well around Kamar Baldwin. This team will probably win game one before they might lose to Virginia in the second round of the tournament.
4.Florida: The Gators have a team that on paper could beat anyone this year, however, they will need to have their players step up. Jalen Hudson is the best player on the Gators, while KeVaughn Allen has proven himself to be a great player in years past. Andrew Nembhard, Deaundre Ballard, Keyontae Johnson, Kevarrius Hayes, and Keith Stone all are proven, solid players. The Gators have a solid roster that should win a game or two in this tournament.
5.Oklahoma: The Sooners lost Trae Young to the NBA and because of that this team looked to be in rebuild mode, however, they look like a better team this year. Christian James has been putting up monster stats thus far this year, while Aaron Calixte and Brady Manek are both solid contributors. I think this Oklahoma team could potentially knock off Florida, which could help them pick up a couple of quadrant one wins.
6.Middle Tennessee: The Blue Raiders are seemingly in rebuilding mode right now, however, they still are a solid team. Antonio Green looks to be the teams next great transfer to average big numbers. They also have four other players who are scoring in double figures with Reggie Scurry, Donovan Sims, Karl Gamble, and James Hawthorne. Look for this team to pick up a win or two in this event and who knows, maybe they knock off Virginia in the first round.
7.Dayton: The Atlantic 10 has not been good thus far this year but Dayton could be here to rescue the conference by doing well in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Flyers have six double-digit scorers in Josh Cunningham, Obi Toppin, Ryan Mikesell, Jordan Davis, Trey Landers, and Jalen Crutcher. This team might win a game or two in this tournament but they probably aren’t winning this event.
8.Stanford: The Cardinal are a young team that looks poised to be good in a couple of years but maybe not right now. KZ Okpala has put up big numbers thus far this year, while Daejon Davis and Cormac Ryan are both good players. This event will be a good thing in terms of getting these players experience, however, I would be surprised if they won more than a game in this event.
My Battle 4 Atlantis Predictions:
Virginia 78 Middle Tennessee 44
Butler 78 Dayton 67
Wisconsin 76 Stanford 53
Florida 76 Oklahoma 75
Virginia 67 Butler 56
Wisconsin 71 Florida 64
Middle Tennessee 78 Dayton 75
Oklahoma 89 Stanford 76
7th Place Game: Dayton 81 Stanford 76
5th Place Game: Oklahoma 84 Middle Tennessee 74
3rd Place Game: Butler 73 Florida 72
Championship Game: Virginia 56 Wisconsin 44