LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas will square off against Wake Forest in the team’s first appearance in the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas, announced by tournament officials Monday.
Villanova, Tennessee, Iowa, UTEP, Xavier, USC join Kansas and Wake Forest to fill out the tournament field that will travel to the Bahamas, Nov. 28-30. Slightly less tropical, the Jayhawks will welcome Towson to Allen Fieldhouse for their first game of Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 22.
On Monday, the remainder of the bracket was released, unveiling that KU will play three games in the Bahamas, beginning with Wake Forest on Thursday, Nov. 28 at 2:30 p.m. CT on AXS TV. The Jayhawks will square off next against either Villanova or USC on Friday, Nov. 29. Tip-off times will be 8:30 p.m. CT with a KU victory against Wake Forest or 2:30 p.m. CT should the Jayhawks lose to Wake. The third day of the Battle 4 Atlantis is slated for Saturday, Nov. 30, with four games starting at noon CT and the championship contest beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT.
NBC Sports Network and AXS TV will televise the tournament field which boasts a combined 191 NCAA Tournament appearances, 25 Final Four appearances and five NCAA Championships.
Kansas went 31-6 in 2012-13 and won its unprecedented ninth-straight Big 12 and NCAA-leading 56th overall conference regular-season championship. Head coach Bill Self brings back 10 letterwinners, but no starters, from the team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2012-13.
Reloading in a hurry, Self and his staff welcome eight newcomers to the 2013-14 roster – including the nation’s No. 1 recruit in guard Andrew Wiggins. Together, the class of 2013 comprises the second-ranked recruiting class in the country. KU is ranked as high as fifth in the 2013-14 national preseason polls.
About the Battle 4 Atlantis Opponents:
Kansas’ first opponent in the Bahamas, Wake Forest, a member of the ACC, went 13-18 in 2012-13 under head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who enters his fourth season at the helm of the Demon Deacons in 2013-14. He and his staff return eight scholarship players and four starters from this year’s squad, including All-ACC honoree Travis McKie (13.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and ACC All-Freshman Team selection Devin Thomas (9.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg).
Kansas and Wake Forest are knotted at 2-2 in the all-time series. They last met on Dec. 4, 2001, which resulted in an 83-76 KU victory.
A member of the new BIG EAST Conference, Villanova returned to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in nine seasons in 2012-13. Led by veteran coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats return their leading scorer from a year ago in redshirt junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston. Pinkston, who averaged 13.3 ppg in 2012-13, was named third team All-BIG EAST, while guard Ryan Arcidiacono was tabbed as a member of the All-Rookie team.
Kansas is 3-1 all-time against Villanova. The last time the two met, the Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats, 72-57, in the NCAA Sweet 16 en route to the National Championship on March 28, 2008.
Led by first-year head coach Andy Enfield, formerly of Florida Gulf Coast, the Trojans return two of their top-three scorers from last season in guards J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley, as well as 7-2 center Omar Oraby. USC, a 14-18 team in 2012-13, also brings in a strong group of freshmen, including 2013 California Gatorade High School Basketball Player of the Year wing Roschon Prince and one of the highest-scoring guards in Connecticut high school history, Khalil Dukes.
KU’s most recent opponent in the Battle 4 Atlantis field, the Jayhawks traveled to Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 2011 and defeated the Trojans, 63-47. Kansas owns an 11-5 all-time record in the series.
Under second-year coach Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee finished the 2012-13 season with a 20-13 record and an NIT appearance. Senior guard Jordan McRae and junior power forward Jarnell Stokes will return to lead the Vols in 2013-14 after collecting All-SEC accolades last year.
KU and UT are tied at a game apiece in the all-time series. In their last meeting, the Vols won, 76-68, in Knoxville on Jan. 10, 2010.
NIT runner-up Iowa racked up the second-most wins in school history with a 25-13 record during head coach Fran McCaffery’s third season. The Hawkeyes received votes in the final USA Today Coaches poll and lose only two players from the 2012-13 squad. Forward Aaron White and guard/forward Roy Devyn Marble were the fourth-highest scoring duo in the Big Ten, averaging 27.4 points. Both return for the 2013-14 season after earning All-Big Ten Third Team honors last season.
In 10 previous meetings, the Hawkeyes own a 7-3 series advantage. KU and Iowa last met on Feb. 3, 2000, where the Jayhawks fell by a 77-69 margin in the road contest.
Led by head coach Tim Floyd, in his fourth season at UTEP, the Miners finished the 2012-13 campaign 18-14, advancing to the semifinals in the 2013 Conference USA Championship. UTEP welcomes back five of its top-seven scorers and the top-four rebounders from the 2012-13 campaign. Julian Washburn, an All-Conference USA and All-Defensive Team honoree, returns for his junior campaign as the leading scorer (12.3 ppg) last season.
The Jayhawks are looking for their first victory over the Miners. UTEP is 3-0 against Kansas – although it’s been a while. The last time the teams met was March 22, 1992 in the NCAA Midwest Sub-Regional, which UTEP won, 66-60.
A new member of the BIG EAST Conference, Xavier posted a 17-14 record in its final of 18 seasons as a member of the Atlantic 10 in 2012-13. Head coach Chris Mack, in his fifth year with the Musketeers, brings back three starters, highlighted by 2013 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year guard Semaj Christon. The team’s leading scorer (15.2 ppg), Christon was named a 2013-14 Third Team preseason All-American (NBCSports.com) and was a member of the 2012-13 Kyle Macy Freshman All-America Team (CollegeInsider.com).
Kansas is 6-0 all-time against the Musketeers. They last played in Anchorage, Ala., squaring off in the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 26, 1999. KU won by a landslide, 111-70.
Battle 4 Atlantis First Round Schedule – Thursday, Nov. 28
Game 1: Villanova vs. USC (live at 12 p.m. CT on AXS TV)
Game 2: KANSAS vs. Wake Forest (live at 2:30 p.m. CT on AXS TV)
Game 3: Xavier vs. Iowa (live at 6 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network)
Game 4: Tennessee vs. UTEP (live at 8:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network)
Battle 4 Atlantis Second Round Schedule – Friday, Nov. 29
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser (live at 12 p.m. CT on AXS TV)
Game 6: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser (live at 2:30 p.m. CT on AXS TV)
Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner (live at 6 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network)
Game 8: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (live at 8:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network)
Battle 4 Atlantis Final Round Schedule – Saturday, Nov. 30
7th-8th Place: Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 loser (live at 12 p.m. CT on AXS TV)
5th-6th Place: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (live at 2:30 p.m. CT on AXS TV)
3rd-4th Place: Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 loser (live at 6 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network)
1st-2nd Place: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner (live at 8:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network)