Bracket Games: Louisville favored at Battle 4 Atlantis
A couple of weeks ago Michigan State could easily have been the favorite, or at least a co-favorite, to win the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis. Then the Spartans coughed up a lead to Arizona in Hawaii and barely challenged Kentucky during a loss in the Big Apple – not to mention a narrow escape at home to Florida Gulf Coast. Add in a couple of preseason injuries, and MSU arrives in the Bahamas trying to find its footing.
Tom Izzo will likely right the ship, but the road to an Atlantis title now goes through Louisville. True, the Cardinals haven’t been tested, but they’ve dominated Evansville, William & Mary, and Long Beach State during a quick start at home. Rick Pitino’s group opens with Old Dominion. Here are some other bullet-point notes regarding the Battle 4 Atlantis …
Quick Takes on the Battle 4 Atlantis …
- Favorite: Louisville – The Cardinals have yet to allow 60 points in a game. They may lack stars, but depth and defense continue to carry the day.
- Challengers: Michigan State, Baylor – There’s still plenty of youthful talent in East Lansing, led by Miles Bridges, and Izzo roams the sideline. The Bears already have a win over Oregon. And even though Dillon Brooks didn’t play, Baylor won by a convincing 17-point margin.
- Dark Horse: Wichita State – Yes, Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker are gone, but coach Gregg Marshall always finds a way to get the most out of the talent on his roster, which is hardly depleted.
- Opportunity Knocks: St. John’s, VCU, Old Dominion – Although VCU projects as an NCAA tournament team, a couple of notable W’s would anchor their non-conference resume. St. John’s is coming off a loss at Minnesota, and Old Dominion only has a couple of non-Atlantis options to make a splash ahead of Conference USA.
We’ve seen unexpected results in Atlantis before. It should be a fun few days.