Thanks to a Sunday press release from UMass we now finally know the bracket and schedule for the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis. The new event will take place in a temporary arena built within a ballroom at the Atlantis Report in the Bahamas on November 24th, 25th, and 26th. (Pay no attention to the website that tacks on a day before and after.) Despite the unconventional venue, this is now the richest preseason tournament, as teams will receive at least $2 million for their participation.
That figure explains why teams like defending National Champion Connecticut and Sweet 16 participant Florida State, as well as Ivy co-champ Harvard have signed up for the first edition, even though a TV contract has not yet been announced. (I presume that since Harvard doesn't offer athletic scholarships, which is the likely destination for the other seven schools' payouts, its bounty will head into its already massive endowment.)
The most likely champions, Huskies and Seminoles are on opposite ends of the bracket, setting up an intriguing final, that will take place at a non-traditional time on the final day. Instead of playing the championship game last, as you'd expect in one of these three-day/12-game events, the organizers have decided to schedule the final for a 4:30 p.m. ET tip on the final day, likely to accommodate that TV contract that's yet to be announced. The third-place game will open the day's action, and in a bit of a downer, the event concludes with the fifth- and seventh-place games in the evening session, which will likely lack TV coverage.
As for the bracket, the Seminoles headline the early session. Florida State opens with UMass, a likely win, but they could be seriously tested in the semifinals by either potential opponent, perennial SoCon contender College of Charleston or in-state rival UCF.
The Huskies take on UNC Asheville, the defending Big South tournament champion, in their quarterfinal, with the Harvard-Utah winner awaiting on day two. UConn has defeated the Crimson in each of the last two seasons, picking up a 29-point win last season.
The full slate is on the 2011 Early Season Events page.
H/T friend of the blog Buzz from GopherHole