battleforatlantispicture

Your Comprehensive Battle for Atlantis Preview

If you are thankful for college basketball this Thanksgiving, you are going to be very thankful for the Battle for Atlantis tournament. The 8 team field kicks off on Thanksgiving day at 1 pm. All 8 teams are at least receiving votes in the 2 major polls. 4 of the teams are ranked in the top 17. The field is the #2 Louisville Cardinals, the #5 Duke Blue Devils, the #14 Missouri Tigers, the #17 Memphis Tigers, undefeated Minnesota, undefeated Northern Iowa, Stanford and Virginia Commonwealth. The field has 2 losses combined. Someone will be leaving with 3. 

 
Before I cover the teams, let's answer some burning questions about the tournament. 
 
Will it be on television?
 
Yes. 
 
Will the coverage be split between two networks just to be confusing?
 
Yes! One channel will show the day games, another channel will show the night games.
 
Will those networks be obscure networks than changed their name?
 
Yes! The day games will be on AXS.tv, the former HDNet. The night games will be on NBC Sports, the former Versus. 
 
I thought Atlantis wasn't real. How can they play games there?
 
The games are in the Bahamas. Idiot. 
 
Are the games going to be played in a ball room devoid of atmosphere?
 
You tell me. 
 
What's the bracket?
 
Missouri vs Stanford 1 PM AXS.tv
 
Louisville vs Northern Iowa  9:30 PM NBC Sports
 
On the other side we have
 
Duke vs Minnesota 3:30 PM AXS.tv
 
Memphis vs VCU 7 PM NBC Sports 
 
From there we get the final four on NBC Sports and the losers on AXS.tv. 
 
Here is a handy chart ranking everything you need to know about the offenses, defenses, and shooting. Numbers from Stat Sheet.
 
Possessions
  1. 73.5 Stanford
  2. 69.3 UNI
  3. 69.3 Mizzou 
  4. 68.3 Duke
  5. 68.3 Louisville 
  6. 66.3 VCU
  7. 66.2 Minn
  8. 62.5 Memphis
Points Per Possession Offensive

  1. 1.25 UNI
  2. 1.19 Mizzou 
  3. 1.17 Louisville 
  4. 1.17 Memphis
  5. 1.16 Duke
  6. 1.12 Minn
  7. 1.11 VCU
  8. 0.97 Stanford
PPP Defensive
  1. 0.7 Louisville
  2. 0.72 Minn
  3. 0.82 VCU 
  4. 0.85 Mizzou
  5. 0.85 Stanford
  6. 0.86 UNI
  7. 0.93 Duke
  8. 0.96 Memphis
Offensive Efficiency

  1. 124.5 UNI
  2. 119.2 Mizzou
  3. 116.8 Memphis
  4. 116.6 Louisville
  5. 115.6 Duke
  6. 112.5 Minn
  7. 111.1 VCU
  8. 97.3 Stanford
Defensive Efficiency 

  1. 70.2 Louisville
  2. 72.5 Minn
  3. 82.4 VCU
  4. 85.1 Mizzou
  5. 85.4 Stanford
  6. 85.6 UNI
  7. 92.7 Duke
  8. 96 Memphis
FT %

  1. 79.1 Memphis
  2. 77.6 UNI
  3. 72.1 Duke
  4. 70.4 Stanford
  5. 69.5 Mizzou
  6. 67.7 Louisville
  7. 67.4 Minn
  8. 64.9 VCU
Field Goal %

  1. 51.5 UNI
  2. 48.9 Minn
  3. 47.9 Duke
  4. 44.6 VCU
  5. 44.3 Memphis
  6. 43.8 Louisville
  7. 42.8 Mizzou
  8. 39.4 Stanford
Field Goal % Defense

  1. 28.6 Minn
  2. 33.9 Mizzou
  3. 34.8 Louisville
  4. 36.6 UNI
  5. 38.4 VCU
  6. 39.7 Stanford
  7. 42.1 Duke
  8. 42.1 Memphis
3 pt % offense
  1. 44 Mizzou
  2. 43.1 UNI
  3. 38.4 Duke
  4. 37.7 VCU
  5. 32.3 Minn
  6. 31 Louisville
  7. 29.4 Memphis
  8. 23.1 Stanford
3 pt % defense

  1. 19.1 Minn
  2. 26 VCU
  3. 28.8 UNI
  4. 32 Louisville
  5. 33.8 Stanford
  6. 35.7 Mizzou
  7. 36.6 Memphis
  8. 40.8 Duke
Rebounding %
  1. 60.2 Louisville
  2. 58 Minn
  3. 57.9 Mizzou
  4. 56.6 Memphis
  5. 54.6 Stanford
  6. 54.1 VCU
  7. 54.1 UNI
  8. 50.7 Duke

Assist to Turnover
  1. 1.87 Memphis
  2. 1.57 Louisville
  3. 1.28 UNI
  4. 1.27 Duke
  5. 1.24 VCU 
  6. 1.17 Minn
  7. 1.17 Mizzou
  8. 0.85 Stanford
If that doesn't give you the fix that you need, let's look at each team individually. 

 
Stanford Cardinal 3-1
 
Stanford took a tough loss to Belmont on Sunday where they shot the ball horribly. Missouri is a less than ideal match up for the Cardinal. They ride 4 players pretty heavily. Chasson Randle and Josh Huestis play over 30 minutes a game. Aaron Bright plays 29 and Dwight Powell 25. The only option off the bench who has shown scoring ability is Andy Brown at 7.7 points a game. 
 
Randall leads the Cardinal with 13 points a game despite not having much luck from the field. He's shooting 31% and is 2-16 from 3. He gets the foul line a lot, 27 times, and is a 74% foul shooter so that helps. Randall leads the team with 6 steals. The other guard, Aaron Bright, has been a shooting disaster as well. He's 0-12 from 3 and is at 26% from the field this year. Josh Huestis has been very solid at 10.5 points, 9 boards a game and has 11 blocks. He can step out and make a 3. He's attempted the 3rd most on the team, 9 and made the most, 4. Dwight Powell has been good in the front court as well. He's putting up 12.2 and 7.2 boards.
 
Missouri Tigers 3-0
 
Missouri lost a lot from their excellent team last season, but they bring in UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi, Auburn transfer Earnest Ross and Laurence Bowers is back from injury. Missouri runs 8 players double digit minutes. Phil Pressey is getting 32 minutes a game, freshman Negus Webster-Chan 30. Oriakhi, Bowers, Ross and Keion Bell are all getting around 25 minutes a game. 
 
Bowers has come back from the injury with a vengeance. He is averaging 15.3 points on 58% shooting, including knocking down 4 threes, and has 5.3 boards a contest. Pressey has matched Bowers in points with 15.3 and he leads the Tigers in assists with 4.7. He's the biggest threat from 3. Alex Oriahki has torn things up. He's averaging 12.3 and 11.7. He's been awful from the field, 37%, but is 73% from the line in 26 attempts. Ross has averaged 13.3 and 6.3. He's knocked down 4-10 from 3. Keion Bell has not shot well, 8-23, but has made 10-11 free throws. That's something. Negus Webster-Chan has a cool name. He has 6 steals. He has been mainly a 3 point shooter on offense. 5 of his 6 made field goals are 3s. 
 
Minnesota Golden Gophers 4-0
 
Minnesota has 9 players in all 4 of their games this season. The starting lineup has been the same though. It's Rodney Williams, Austin HollinsAndre Hollins, Joe Coleman and Eliott Eliason. Fresh off injury, Trevor Mbakwe has been brought back slowly with 16 minutes a game. No, Austin and Andre are not brothers. Austin is the son of Memphis Grizzles coach Lionel Hollins, a fact you will hear every Minnesota game. 
 
Austin Hollins and Rodney Williams have both scored 14.5 points a game. Williams is shooting an absurd 73.5% from the field. Austin is hitting 56%. That includes his team best 8-18 from 3. Andre has been the opposite of Austin. He is 3-15 from 3 and 29% from the field. Minnesota has a pair of opposites off the bench. Maverick Ahanmisi is 5-9 from 3, Oto Osenieks is 0-8. Mbakwe has gotten off to a solid start off the bench. He's putting up 6-6. He's second on the team with 7 blocks. Eliott Eliason has blocked 10. The Gophers are pick pockets. Joe Coleman has 10 steals, Austin 9, Andre 7, Williams 6 and Mbakwe 4. 
 
Duke Blue Devils 3-0
 
Coach K has been short handed this season with the injury to Marshall Plumlee. Mason Plumlee is getting 33 minutes a game, Rasheed Sulaimon, he of Lil Wayne trash talking fame, 32, Ryan Kelly 31, Seth Curry 29, Quinn Cook 27 and Tyler Thornton 25. The question of if the minutes will take a tool on their legs is something to watch for Friday and especially Saturday. 
 
Mason Plumlee has been tremendous this season. He's scoring 21.7 points a game on 77% shooting, 77% from the foul line, with 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. He's been turnover prone early on. He has to keep the fouls in check. He's too important for Duke to be sitting on the bench. Sulaimon has lived up to the hype so far this season. The freshman is averaging 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Most of his scoring has come from hitting 44% from 3. Seth Curry is Duke's second leading scorer at 16 points a game. He is 8-20 from 3, 8-14 from 2 and 8-9 at the foul line. Ryan Kelly fills up the stat sheet, 10.7 points, 5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks. Cook is putting in 7.7 a game and leads the team with 4.7 assists. He is mainly a 3 point shooter, 10 of 17 attempts are 3s. The same goes for Tyler Thornton. He is 4-12 from 3 and 1-1 from 2. 
 
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 2-1
 
Shaka Smart's club has gone deep so far this season. 6 players play at least 19 minutes and 8 at least 13. Juvonte ReddicDarius Theus and Troy Daniels have all played around 27 minutes a game. Treveon Graham is getting 23. The 5th starter should be Rob Brandenberg, but Briante Weber has played more minutes. 
 
Reddic has been the go to guy for the Rams. He's averaging 16.3 points on 63% shooting, 73% from the foul line. He's the team leader in rebounds with 8.7. He's more than doubling up second place Troy Daniels at 4.3. Daniels is averaging 8.7 a game, a majority of that has come from his 8-18 shooting from 3. Darius Theus and Treveon Graham are both scoring 10.7 points a game. Theus leads the team with 5.3 assists a game. Theus and Graham are both solid 3 point shooters. Graham has a decided advantage at the free throw line. He has hit 8-11 compared to 7-12. Briante Weber is averaging 9 a game. Half of his shots have been 3s. He's been more dangerous on the defensive end, where he leads the team with 10 steals. Brandenberg has really struggled from the field, 7-24, 29%. He's 1-11 from 3. Melvin Johnson has been another scorer off the bench to compliment Weber with 7 points a game. 
 
Memphis Tigers 2-0
 
Memphis goes 8 deep and get the most out of their top 4 players. Chris Crawford is putting in 32.5 minutes, Joe Jackson 31, Antonio Barton 30.5 off the bench and Adonis Thomas is at 30 minutes. Tarik Black (25.5), Shaq Goodwin (16.5), DJ Stephens (15.5) and Ferrakohn Hall (15.5) round out Josh Pastner's rotation. 
 
The thing that has stood out so far for Memphis has been balance. 4 players have averaged double digits and 5 players average at least 4 rebounds. Joe Jackson has been the leading scorer with 13.5 points. He has 5 assists a game and 4 rebounds to go along with 2.5 steals. Jackson has been ok from the floor, 8-20, but is 9-10 from the foul line so far. Barton has put up 12.5 a game by hitting a lot behind the 3 point line. He's 6-12 from 3, 2-6 from 2. Swing man Adonis Thomas has hit 50% from the field to get his 12 points a game. He has missed 10 shots on the year. Half of those are his 3 attempts. He hasn't made one. Tarik Black rounds out the double digit scorers with 11. He is 8-14 from the floor and 6-10 at the foul line. He's getting guys in foul trouble. He's pulled in 4.5 boards a game. Ferrakohn Hall and DJ Stephens are both at 5.5 rebounds a game to tie for the team lead. Neither has been that big a scoring option so far. Shaq Goodwin has 4.5 boards a game. He's 2-7 from the field and 6-6 at the foul line. More a threat than Hall or Stephens so far. Chris Crawford has gotten off to a slow start shooting wise. He's just 2-10 from 3. 
 
Northern Iowa Panthers 3-0
 
The Panthers have played 11 guys a game so far this season. They start 2 freshmen, Matt Bohannon and Seth Tuttle, a sophomore, Deon Mitchell, a junior, Marc Sonnen, and senior Jake Koch. The top 2 off the bench are sophomore Max Martino and freshman Chris Olivier. A lot of youth on this squad. 
 
Deon Mitchell was a 20 minute a game guy last year who shot a lot. He's a 28 minute guy this year who shoots a lot more. He leads the team with 17.7 points and 4.7 assists. Mitchell leads the team in field goal percentage at 67%. He's 13-16 at the foul line and is even 4-8 from 3. Seth Tuttle has been a big help down low with 12-7. He's at a cool 63% from the floor and a cooler 80% from the foul line. He is second on the team in steals behind fellow big man Jake Koch. Koch is putting up a near double double with 11.7 and 9.7. He is just 9-19 from the field, but is an assassin from the foul line, 15-18. Nate Buss is averaging 8 points in 13 minutes. He is 10-18 from the field, so that's a good thing. Matt Bohannon and Marc Sonnen normally shoot 3s. Bohannon is at 43%, Sonnen at 35%. 
 
Louisville Cardinals 3-0
 
The Cardinals should be the tournament favorite since they are the top ranked team. It's one of the perks of being ranked 2nd I suppose. Louisville has 8 players that play at least 17 minutes a game. Rick Pitino has started preseason Big East Player of the Year Peyton Siva and center Gorgui Dieng every game game. Chane BehananWayne Blackshear and Russ Smith are expected to fill out the Cards lineup. 
 
Russ Smith is called Russdiculous and his performance this season has been. The junior guard is averaging 21.3 points a game. He's hitting 49% from the field overall. He's made 13-27 from 3. The rest of the Cards have combined for 13 made 3s. Smith is a tough on ball defender with 7 steals. 1 behind Siva. Siva has gotten off to a slow start scoring wise at 7.7 points a game. He's 5-16 from the field, 3-10 from 3, but has made 10-10 at the foul line. More important for Pitino, he has 27 assists to 9 turnovers. Gorgui Dieng is 2nd on Louisville in assists with 2.7 a game. He leads the team with 6 blocks. Dieng has a 10-8.3 line while hitting 58% from the field. Chane Behanan averaging a near double double with 9 points and 11.3 rebounds. Blackshear is 2nd on the team in scoring with 10.7 points. He's 6-20 from 3. George Mason transfer Luke Hancock should see significant minutes but has really struggled, going 5-29 from the floor and 3-24 from 3. 
 
 
Since that wasn't enough, I'm going to predict the whole tournament. That is right, not a girl in sight. How did you know? Feel free to mock me at how horrible these predictions are.
 
Thursday
 
Louisville 72 Northern Iowa 55
 
Missouri 84 Stanford 66
 
Memphis 63 VCU 59
 
Duke 71 Minnesota 60
 
Friday 
 
Louisville 79 Missouri 72
 
Duke 68 Memphis 65
 
Northern Iowa  62 Stanford 56
 
Minnesota 64 VCU 63
 
Saturday 
 
Louisville 72 Duke 69 – championship game
 
Memphis 64 Missouri 60 – 3rd place 
 
Minnesota 65 Northern Iowa 61 – 5th place
 
VCU 67 Stanford 58 – 7th place
Scott

About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on Run the Floor.

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