Hawkeyes Scrap Alaska, Heading to Atlantis

The Iowa Hawkeyes were scheduled to play in the Great Alaskan Shootout next winter but they’ve traded in their parkas for some fun in the Bahaman sun as they will now take part in the ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’.

The tournament will be held over Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 28-30.  The tournament is held annually at the Atlantis Royal Towers Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

The eight-team field features Kansas, Tennessee, Villanova, USC, Wake Forest, UTEP, Xavier and the Hawkeyes.  Four of the eight teams saw postseason action last season; Kansas advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, Villanova fell to North Carolina in the NCAA second round; Iowa was the NIT runners-up, while Tennessee lost in the NIT first round.

“Both the Great Alaska Shootout and Battle 4 Atlantis are phenomenal tournaments,” said head coach Fran McCaffery.  “The Great Alaska Shootout is a tournament rich in tradition, while the Battle 4 Atlantis is an exciting new tournament that began two years ago.  We are excited about this new opportunity for our program and fans.”

The Battle 4 Atlantis enters its third year, with Harvard winning the tournament title in 2011 and Duke in 2012. Tournament match ups and television information will be announced at a later date.

Now that we have the official release stuff out of the way, here are my quick takes:

-This is a better tournament for the 2013-2014 Iowa Hawkeyes to be in, especially coming off the 2012-2013 season where their strength of schedule kept them out of the NCAA tournament.  This tournament offers a much better RPI resume than the Alaskan Shootout.

-Kansas loses its starting five and will be in a rebuilding mode, but some folks still think they could be a Top 25 team.  Plus the name Kansas carries weight.

-USC is coached by flavor of the month Andy Enfield, but they are not a good program right now.

-Tennessee is going to be a good team.  ESPN’s Jason King ranks Tennessee 19th in his early poll (he has Iowa 25th) and ESPN’s Andy Katz has Tennessee 18th (and Iowa unranked).  Both King and Katz have Villanova on their teams to watch list (i.e. other teams getting votes).  Xavier and Wake Forest have names but their teams are not expected to be elite.  That said, they are better than the South Carolina State’s of the world.

Teams are guaranteed three games in this event and it was a loaded field this past November when Duke beat Louisville for the title.  Missouri, Memphis, VCU, Minnesota, Stanford and UNI were in the field last year, too.

There was an open spot after Michigan State chose to take part in a different tournament next year.

Iowa will also play at Iowa State, which should be another solid RPI game as well as playing Drake in Wells Fargo Arena in December. While that is not going to be a resume builder, it’s much better to play games against Top 150 RPI teams than some of the 300 or worse teams Iowa faced last year.

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