The 2019 Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis tips off on Wednesday at the Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, with four of the nation’s top-13 teams battling for college basketball supremacy in the Caribbean. This year’s teams at the Battle 4 Atlantis include #6 North Carolina, #8 Gonzaga, #11 Oregon, #13 Seton Hall, Michigan, Iowa State, Alabama, and Southern Mississippi.
The last two national champions won the previous two Battle 4 Atlantis tournaments, with Villanova taking it down in 2017, and Virginia winning last year.
Virginia ran the table in 2019’s March Madness tourney to win the national championship. Gonzaga would love to break the curse of West Coast teams in March Madness, but their path to the collegiate title begins in the Bahamas.
Last Thanksgiving, Gonzaga defeated Duke to win the Maui Classic in Hawaii. This year, the Zags and their two European-born big men, Filip Petrusev and Killian Tillie, head to the Bahamas to slug it out with a couple of big-time schools.
2019 Battle 4 Atlantis
Michigan (4-0) vs. Iowa State (3-1)
#6 North Carolina (4-0) vs. Alabama (2-2)
#8 Gonzaga (6-0) vs. Southern Miss (2-3)
#13 Seton Hall (4-1) vs. #11 Oregon (5-0)
Hoops fans will be able to check out North Carolina’s super-frosh, Cole Anthony. The son of former NBA star, Greg Anthony, the freshman has made a huge splash in Chapel Hill.
Southern Mississippi isn’t a very good team, but don’t overlook their top scorer. Boban Jacdonmi, a senior from England, is trying to become the next British player to join the NBA ranks.
Michigan vs. Iowa State
Michigan (4-0) is picking up the pieces after beloved coach, Jim Beilein accepted an NBA job to lead the Cleveland Cavs. Michigan tapped ex-NBA star Juwan Howard, a Michigan grad and former member of the Fab Five, to coach the Wolverines this season.
Michigan beat up on a couple of bad teams, so they’ll be facing their first big test of the season during the Battle 4 Atlantis. Zavier Simpson, their 6-foot-0 senior point guard, averages 14.0 points, 9.0 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game. Isaiah Livers, a 6-foot-7 swingman, leads Michigan with 17.4 points per game.
Iowa State (3-1) lost their first game of the season at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers. They’re led by Solomon Young and Rasir Bolton.
Young, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, is averaging 12.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. The captain of the Cyclones missed most of last season after recovering from shoulder surgery. Young is the heart and soul of Iowa State.
Bolton, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, cut his teeth last year in the Big 12 by averaging 11.6 points per game as a freshman. He’s up to 12.6 points this season, but struggling with a 39.1 shooting percentage.
#6 North Carolina vs. Alabama
It’s rare for North Carolina (4-0) to field a team that’s not competing for the national championship. Roy Williams has a special player with Cole Anthony, who replaced a heck of a point guard in Coby White.
Anthony, a 6-foot-3 guard, flew out of the gates with 34 points in his Carolina debut against Notre Dame. Overall, Anthony is the leading scorer, averaging 22.8 points per game.
Alabama (2-2) lost their season opener 81-80 to Penn. They got spanked by Rhode Island by 14 points for their second loss of the season.
Kira Lewis, Jr., a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, leads ‘Bama with 21.5 points per game. Last season, as a true freshman, Lewis scored 13.4 ppg. The Lewis vs. Anthony matchup should be fun to watch.
Williams is only one win away from tying legendary Kentucky coach, Adolph Rupp (876 wins) for fifth all-time in college basketball history.
#8 Gonzaga vs. Southern Miss
Gonzaga (6-0) is a tough team to face because they’re highly efficient on offense, and play tough defense, which is rare for West Coast teams. The Zags are fifth in the nation in scoring, averaging 88.3 points per game. On defense, they allow only 59.0 points per game.
This season, Mark Few’s Gonzaga squad is led by a pair of European big men. Filip Petrusev, a 6-foot-11 sophomore center from Serbia, leads Gonzaga with 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Petrusev hits 61.4 percent of his shots. Killian Tillie, a 6-foot-10 forward from France, averages 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in the two games he’s played thus far in 2019.
Southern Mississippi (2-3) is a hot mess, much like a female protagonist out of a Tennessee Williams play. If it weren’t for William Carey, an NAIA school, So. Miss would be riding a four-game losing streak heading into the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Boban Jacdonmi, a 6-foot-9 forward from London, England, leads the Golden Eagles with 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Jacdonmi hopes he can join OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors) as the only active British players in the NBA.
#13 Seton Hall vs. #11 Oregon
The Oregon (5-0) and Seton Hall (4-1) game is the marquee matchup of the opening round at the Battle 4 Atlantis, with the #11 team in the country squaring off against the #13 team. It’s also cool to see a Big East team fight a Pac-12 team so early in the season.
Seton Hall suffered an early three-point loss at the hands of #3 Michigan State.
The Pirates crank out 84.4 points per game. They’re led by Myles Powell, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, who generates over 25 percent of Seton Hall’s total offense with 22.6 points per game. Powell torched Michigan State for 37 points, including six, 3-pointers in their loss to the Spartans last week.
Oregon won their first tough meeting of the season with an eight-point win over Penny Hardaway and #13 Memphis. The win saw the Ducks move up to the #11 spot.
Payton Pritchard, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, leads Oregon with 19.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game.