For the first time since its inception in 2011, the ever-popular Bad Boy Mowers’ Battle 4 Atlantis National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s basketball tournament could be on the move, going away from Paradise Island, The Bahamas, to the Sanford Pentagon, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
CBS Sports men’s college basketball insider Jon Rothstein was one of the first to break the news, via Twitter, on Tuesday afternoon. The initial post read: “Sources: The 2020 Battle 4 Atlantis will be played at the Sanford Pentagon in South Dakota. Dates are TBD.”
The NCAA is set to announce the official start of college basketball at some point today at its division one council meeting. Rothstein stated that after that meeting, the official date for the tournament will be announced.
The planned dates for Battle 4 Atlantis was November 25-27. The tournament is a highly competitive one with some games, including the championship game, carried live on sports giant ESPN.
According to Rothstein, a source said Sanford Pentagon will be able to accommodate a limited number of fans for the event with social distancing protocols in place.
With the restrictions placed on international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it comes as no surprise that the tournament could end up in a different location this year. Some of The Bahamas’ travel restrictions include the quarantining for 14 days upon arrival, once a negative RT-PCR test result is presented no more than five days prior to date of arrival.
The Atlantis Resort has not set a date as to when it will reopen its doors after shutting down in late March because of the pandemic.
This year, the prestigious classic was set to feature a women’s division, initially set for November 21-23. Details are sketchy at this time.
For the men, this year’s field of teams include the ever-dangerous Duke University Blue Devils, the Ohio State University Buckeyes, the West Virginia University Mountaineers, the Creighton University Bluejays, the Texas A&M Aggies, the Utah Utes, the Marshall University Thundering Herd and Wichita State Shockers.
Duke won the 2012 edition of the tournament. Other than the Blue Devils, the Buckeyes and Utes have at least one NCAA national championship trophy in their trophy case.
Making their debut are the Mountaineers, the Buckeyes and the Bluejays.
Last year, the University of Michigan Wolverines won the title. They routed the Gonzaga University Bulldogs in the championship game, 82-64.
Over in the women’s bracket, the Associated Press’ number one and two teams, respectively the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the University of Oregon Ducks, lead a talented field. The other teams are the Central Michigan University Chippewas, the Marquette University Golden Eagles, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, the University of Oklahoma Sooners, the University of South Florida Bulls and the Syracuse University Orange.
The men’s field for the 2021 tournament is already known and includes the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis Champion, the Syracuse Orange. The other teams are the University of Connecticut Huskies, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Arizona State University Sun Devils, the Auburn University Tigers, the Michigan State University Spartans, the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams and the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers.
The Huskies will make their third tournament appearance while the Orange, Spartans and the Rams will make their second appearance each.
The Ramblers, Red Raiders, Sun Devils and the Tigers will be making their debut.
The prestigious tournament has featured some Bahamians including now National Basketball Association (NBA) players Chavano “Buddy” Hield (Sacramento Kings) and DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns). Other Bahamians who have played in the tournament are Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn (Spartans), Tavario Miller (Aggies) and Dwight Coleby (Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers).
Other than Hield and Ayton, several other Battle 4 Atlantis alumni have played in the NBA. These include Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks), Mikal Bridges (Suns), Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee Bucks), Seth Curry (Mavericks), Quinn Cook (Los Angeles Lakers), Danuel House Jr. (Houston Rockets) and Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets).