The Battle 4 Atlantis will feature eight teams, twelve games in 72 hours; a college hoops junkies dream! The two ranked teams in this years field are Kansas (2) and Iowa (23). This field of eight will bring some competitive games in three days.
Here we go with the match ups and my predictions for Thursday. My predictions in italics at the end. (All times Eastern Standard Time).
Villanova vs USC, 1PM
Former Dunk City (Florida Golf Coast) Coach Andy Enfield of USC got a reality check with a 13 point loss against Utah State to open this season. Both the Trojans and Wildcats have four game winning streaks. The Wildcats offense is much deeper than USC. The duo of JayVaughn Pinkston, 20 points-per-game and James Bell, 18 points-per-game are going to be too much for this Trojan Team.
Wildcats by seven.
Kansas vs Wake Forest, 3:30PM
After knocking off Duke last week, this young Jayhawk team has built up some confidence. All eyes are on the number one recruit in the country, Andrew Wiggins. As Lee Corso would say “not so fast, my friend.” Sophomore Perry Ellis is averaging 16.8 ppg, like Wiggins. Both players were key contributors in the 11 point win over Duke and will have no problem cruising to a win against the Deacons.
Jayhawks by 12.
Xavier vs Iowa, 7pm
This has been the game I’ve been looking forward to. Both teams are 5-0 and this will be a good test for both teams. Iowa dropped out of the Great Alaska Shootout in favor of this tournament to beef up their RPI. The Hawkeyes, last year’s NIT runner up, missed the Big Dance due to the weak non-conference schedule. The match up of guards really intrigues me; Roy Devyn Marble (14 points, 3.8 assists) against Semaj Christon (16.4 points, 5 assists), will battle on the perimeter. The deep bench of Iowa will be too much for the Musketeers.
Iowa by eight.
Tennessee vs UTEP, 9:30PM
UTEP (3-2) and Tennessee (3-1) will slow down the pace a bit in comparison to the previous three games of the day. The Vols are led by Jordan McRae, who is averaging 21.5 points a game up from last years 19.2 average. UTEP will get their leading scorer, McKenzie Moore, back from sitting out after a concussion. Moore is averaging 14 ppg. Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon average 16 rebounds per contest between them and the boards are going to be key to this game.
Vols by nine.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Mihawkeye for more sports talk and other shenanigans.