Bracket reveal: Battle 4 Atlantis

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
11:10
AM ET
video Editor's note: It's time to reveal the fields for some of college basketball's biggest early season tournaments. Follow along as we break down the tournaments. All previews can be found here.

Tournament: Battle 4 Atlantis

When and where: Nov. 26-28 at Imperial Arena in Paradise Island, Bahamas

Teams involved: Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Georgetown, UAB, Butler


Initial thoughts: Wow. Talk about a loaded field. Three teams could potentially be ranked in the top 10 (Wisconsin, UNC, Florida) and a fourth (Oklahoma) in the top 15.

The hotel ballroom converted into an arena won't be lacking in star power, either: Georgetown leading scorer D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is a potential All-America candidate.

Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky and North Carolina's Marcus Paige are potential Wooden Award candidates, which recognizes the nation's best player. It could be an early showcase for Florida's Chris Walker as well. The highly-touted power forward opted to return to school instead of entering the NBA draft.

The opening games feature Wisconsin versus UAB and Florida versus Georgetown on one side; UCLA versus Oklahoma and Butler versus North Carolina on the other side.

The toughest opening game could be between the Sooners and UCLA. RecruitingNation ranked the Bruins' 2014 class No. 10 powered by forward Kevon Looney and center Thomas Welsh. The duo will have an opportunity to grow up fast against top competition.

Oklahoma returns four starters from last season, including leading scorer Buddy Hield, leading rebounder Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard, who led the team in assists. The Sooners spent the summer smarting from being upset in the NCAA tournament by North Dakota State and are clamoring to make an early-season statement.

UAB will take a young team to the tournament having returned just three of its top eight from last season. Butler isn't the giant killer it once was, but will boast a deep backcourt including leading scorer Kellen Dunham and Indiana transfer Austin Etherington.

Why you'll watch: Only once in the three previous years of the tournament has both the highest-ranked teams reached the final. Harvard won the inaugural event by upsetting No. 22 Florida State and then beating UCF -- which had upset No. 4 Connecticut. An unranked Villanova squad won it last season with wins over No. 2 Kansas and No. 23 Iowa. The strength of those wins propelled the Wildcats to an eventual No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Butler and UAB would love to disrupt the chalk matchups from happening.

The Hoyas could make noise if they find additional scoring to help Smith-Rivera.

In the event the tournament goes according to chalk, it could be a preview of a high-stakes March game. When No. 2 Duke beat No. 5 Louisville in 2012, it was without center Gorgui Dieng, who was injured in the semifinals. The Cardinals won the rematch in the Elite Eight with Dieng healthy, and eventually won the 2013 national title.

Wisconsin and North Carolina are on opposite sides of the bracket and would make for an intriguing matchup in the finals. Before that could occur the Badgers could face Florida -- in a faux third-place matchup of the 2014 Final Four -- in the semifinals.

The Badgers and Gators played last year in the regular season, and both teams return a lot of key players from that game. Florida lost more but will still be deep with point guard Kasey Hill, sharpshooter Michael Frazier II and forward Dorian Finney-Smith. Wisconsin lost only one key player from last season and expects to make another Final Four run.

Even the consolation games in this tournament could be marquee matchups -- what if the Tar Heels and Gators both lost and squared off? I'm pretty sure folks would still tune in to watch.

C.L. Brown | email

College Basketball

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