Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bahamas drama? Self says tourney ‘competitive,’ but KU heavy favorite

In a photo provided by Atlantis, Paradise Island, Virginia Tech and Mississippi State play Dec. 18, 2010, during the Battle at Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

In a photo provided by Atlantis, Paradise Island, Virginia Tech and Mississippi State play Dec. 18, 2010, during the Battle at Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.


The 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis has been described by ESPN as a tournament that “features the Kansas Jayhawks as well as a handful of solid and/or ascendant programs.”

That’s a polite way of saying the (4-0) Jayhawks are heavy favorites to emerge as champions of a three-day Thanksgiving-week extravaganza that includes Wake Forest (5-0), Villanova (4-0), USC (4-1), Tennessee (3-1), UTEP (3-2), Xavier (5-0) and No. 23 Iowa (5-0).

KU coach Bill Self is convinced tourney organizers have assembled a strong field.

“I was just reading Sports Illustrated — the one with Wayne (Selden) on the cover. Iowa is projected to be an 8-seed (in NCAA Tournament). Villanova is projected to be a 7-seed. Xavier is projected in the field. Tennessee is projected to be in the (tourney) field,” Self said.

“This will be a competitive tournament. Our guys need to lace ’em up and have some fun. Hopefully we are having fun because we are winning basketball games.”

Here’s a quick look at the Battle 4 Atlantis field as paired in first-round, Thursday matchups on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas.

Kansas University vs. Wake Forest

2:30 p.m., Central time, Thursday

The Jayhawks, who are 2-2 all-time versus Wake Forest, will be facing a 5-0 team that has feasted on Colgate (89-78), VMI (98-71), Presbyterian (69-48), Jacksonville (90-83) and The Citadel (82-54). The Demon Deacons have yet to play a game outside of Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Let’s be honest. We should have won these five games,” coach Jeff Bzdelik told the Winston-Salem Journal.

The Deacons have four double-digit scorers: 6-3 sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre (18.6 ppg), 6-9 sophomore forward Devin Thomas (14.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg), 6-7 senior forward Travis McKie (12.2 ppg) and 6-1 senior guard Coron Williams (11.2 ppg).

Head coach is Bzdelik (pronounced buzz-DELL-ick) who has a 39-60 record in three-plus seasons at the ACC school. That includes an 11-39 mark in conference games.

Bzdelik was a controversial hire after going 12-20, 9-22 and 15-16 in his three seasons at the University of Colorado. He had a 73-119 record in three seasons with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets (2003-05).

KU is 2-2 all-time against Wake.

Bedore prediction: KU 79, Wake Forest 62.

Villanova vs. USC

noon, Thursday

This matchup features an intriguing bench battle between 13th-year Wildcat coach Jay Wright and newcomer Andy Enfield, in his first year at Southern California after turning Florida Gulf Coast into “Dunk City” in just two seasons.

Gulf Coast had a 15-17 record in 2011-12, then embarked on a magical 26-11 season that included a Sweet 16 appearance a year ago.

Enfield, who was an assistant coach for five years under Leonard Hamilton at Florida State, is known as the “shot doctor,” partly because he hit 92.5 percent of his free throws during his playing days at Johns Hopkins.

USC has lost at Utah State and won at home versus Cal State Northridge, Northern Arizona, Cal State Fullerton and West Alabama. The Trojans are led by 6-5 junior guard Byron Wesley (19.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg), 7-2, 270-pound senior center Omar Oraby (13.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and 6-3 senior guard J.T. Terrell (10.0 ppg). Oraby hails from Cairo, Egypt.

Villanova, which has beaten Lafayette, Mount St. Mary’s, Towson and Delaware at home, is led by 6-7 junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston (20.3 ppg), 6-6 senior guard James Bell (18.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and 6-6 junior guard Darrun Hilliard (14.0 ppg). Villanova defeated Towson, 78-44, while KU also clobbered the Tigers, 88-58.

KU is 11-5 versus USC and 3-1 vs. Villanova all-time.

Prediction: Villanova 84, USC 66.

Tennessee vs. UTEP

8:30 p.m., Thursday

Former Missouri State coach Cuonzo Martin, who scored more than 1,600 points as a player at Purdue, has registered records of 19-15 and 20-13 in his first two years as Bruce Pearl’s successor at Tennessee.

The Vols dropped their opener at Xavier (67-63) and have since beaten USC Upstate, Citadel and Tennessee State. Tennessee is led by 6-6 senior guard Jordan McRae (21.5 ppg), 6-8 junior forward Jarnell Stokes (11.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and 6-2 senior guard Antonio Barton (10.8 ppg).

UTEP is led by former Iowa State and NBA coach Tim Floyd, who went 25-10, 15-17 and 18-14 in his first three years as the Miners’ coach. He’s yet to lead UTEP to an NCAA berth. UTEP’s leading scorers are 6-6 junior guard McKenzie Moore (14.0 ppg), 6-10 junior forward Cedrick Lang (11.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), 6-8 junior forward Julian Washburn (10.4 ppg) and 6-8 freshman forward Vince Hunter (10.2 ppg). UTEP has beaten Loyola, West Alabama and Colorado State at home. UTEP has already played New Mexico State twice, losing both at home and on the road.

KU is 1-1 all-time against Tennessee and 0-3 vs. UTEP.

Prediction: Tennessee 64, UTEP 60.

Xavier vs. Iowa

5 p.m., Thursday

Iowa is led by fourth-year coach Fran McCaffery, who has directed the Hawkeyes to records of 11-20, 18-17 and 25-13. He’s yet to lead the proud program to the NCAAs. Iowa has defeated UNC-Wilmington, Nebraska-Omaha, Maryland Eastern Shore, Abilene Christian and Penn all at home. The Hawkeyes are led by 6-6 senior guard Roy Devyn Marble (14.6 ppg), 6-9 junior forward Aaron White (13.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and 6-9 sophomore forward Jarrod Uthoff (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg).

Xavier is led by fifth-year coach Chris Mack, who has led the squad to a 95-44 mark, 48-16 in the Atlantic 10. The Musketeers have reached the NCAA Sweet 16 twice in his tenure. Xavier, which has beaten Gardner-Webb, Tennessee, Morehead State, Miami of Ohio and Abilene Christian, all at home, is led by 6-3 sophomore guard Semaj Christon (16.4 ppg), 6-10 junior center Matt Stainbrook (10.2, 9.2).

KU is 6-0 all-time versus Xavier and 3-7 versus Iowa.

Prediction: Xavier 79, Iowa 74

Semifinal predictions: KU 81, Villanova 76; Xavier 67, Tennessee 66.

Final prediction: KU 91, Xavier 78.


Sam Burns 8 years, 10 months ago

The additional drama is trying to watch the game Thursday if you have Cox.

Benz Junque 8 years, 10 months ago

My Direct TV package has but not NBC Sports. I'll have to stream the last two games on my phone or computer via NBC Sports Extra.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 10 months ago

Can I assume that if I walk into a sports bar in Kansas, that they'll carry the game, or am I screwed like everyone else seems to be?

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 10 months ago

I've never heard of AXS TV but it's not offered on Time Warner Cable in Brooklyn. Any idea how to watch this game?

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 10 months ago

firstrowsports and don't usually provide quality. Any legit viewing options out there?

Michael Johnson 8 years, 10 months ago

Find a friend who has att u-verse or any of the satellite companies.

Matthew Harris 8 years, 10 months ago

Yeah Priest. I'm watching it on my laptop through Direct TV. My In laws have DTV and will let me use their account to watch it online. Find a friend with DTV or Dish. If you can't watch it at their home. Try using their online account.

Mel Clare 8 years, 10 months ago

AXSTV is on channel 340 I think if you have Direct TV...............

Michael Pannacciulli 8 years, 10 months ago

Verizon FiOS is one of the few systems that carry AXS TV. It used to be called HD Net, owned by Mark Cuban.

Scary that we have never beaten UTEP and have a horrible record against Iowa! Wow.

Bryce Landon 8 years, 10 months ago

Listen on the radio.

Kansas needs to bring their A-game because the other seven programs are surely going to play the disrespect card to motivate themselves when they read what ESPN said about our presence in the tournament. We cannot afford to assume that we will win this thing just for showing up. That is a recipe for failure.

Rich Hetherington 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree, this is actually a very strong field and while these teams may be considered 2nd tier this year, there are some very good programs here that should not be over-looked.

I'm disappointed that I can't record the game tomorrow and since I'll be at a Thanksgiving dinner, the best I'll get will be reading a recap and a box score... man that irks me! Either way, I look forward to Friday and Saturday's games and if we come out of this with wins over Wake, Villanova and either Iowa or Xavier (or Tennessee), that will be a great thing heading into 2 very difficult road games following the tournament!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 10 months ago


1] I think Gary has been very generous and diplomatic in his evaluation of the match-ups for the Hawks. I respectfully disagree and predict KU will beat the crap out of any of these teams.

2] In fact. KU could take on a combined All-Star team of the the seven other schools best players and still win handily.

3] The only team that has a chance to beat Kansas, will be the team wearing Crimson and Blue!! Besides, there are no "B" teams in the field, so why worry!!!

4] The good news - I have ATT U-VERSE and can get the game....the bad news, I will be at my brother-in-law's house filled with Missouri Tiger alumni and fans. Guess I'll record it.

5] These kind of games on a neutral floor will be a good experience for our young team.

6] Regarding the Maui Invitational in 2015, I had the good fortune of going in 1996. It was fabulous...I encourage anyone who has the chance to go, to do it. You won't regret it.

PS Eat some poi for me!! [Only kidding, that stuff is a human rights violation of the Geneva Convention!! :( ]

Kent Richardson 8 years, 10 months ago

I will also be descended upon by Mizzou and Hog fans. At least I didn't marry any of them.

Waylon Cook 8 years, 10 months ago

Eyechart was a whinebag at CU and can't wait to beat him. Last time we played Wake was the ass whooping in 2000? Or have we since.

Waylon Cook 8 years, 10 months ago

We are 3-10 combined against Iowa and UTEP????????? WTF?

Wally Riker 8 years, 10 months ago

Fellow Jayhawkers, any online communities that will broadcast tomorrow's game? I don't believe I'll be able to watch on Comcast. I would appreciate any online feeds/watchparties. Tks

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 10 months ago

I know it's been said a ton, but the comments/community on this site has really gone downhill. There didn't ever seem to be that much of a problem with spamming or vulgar content so I really don't see the need for the change that caused the decline in user activity. Anyhow, thanks to Michael for the suggestion of trying to find someone with a Direct TV online account. So far, I've had no luck with tracking that down. If someone wants to be so kind as to lend a fellow Jayhawker your log in info for this one game, I'd greatly appreciate it! You could always change the log in info after the game if you are worried about anything. If someone out there feels in a giving mood, just message me via Facebook (Priest Fontaine).

Benz Junque 8 years, 10 months ago

The changes were made to increase revenue via advertising, not to better the experience by cutting down on vulgarities tied to the anonymity of user names.

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 10 months ago

Of course, if someone has a better solution to watching this game then let me know!

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 10 months ago

Wrong, tournaments make their own TV deals.

Mike Granger 8 years, 10 months ago

Can't watch 1st game on AXS. But looking forward to Friday & Saturday games.

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