March 22, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Louisville Cardinals mascot Cardinal Bird performs during the first half in the semifinals of the west region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Michigan State Spartans at US Airways Center. Louisville is among the eight possible 2013 NCAA teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis field. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewickel-US PRESSWIRE
The Battle 4 Atlantis finally released its bracket for Thanksgiving weekend earlier this afternoon, and it looks quite a bit different than the one I drew up before the announcement. While Duke is in the same half of the bracket as Memphis, and Louisville is separated from the Tigers, and I pegged Northern Iowa as the Cardinals' quarterfinal opponent -- all as I predicted -- the rest of the pairings look rather different.
Speaking of "different," the Battle 4 Atlantis once again laid out its schedule in a manner contrary to the one put out by just about every other eight-team early season tournament. Basically, for the second year running, the two halves of the bracket aren't set up as a pair of doubleheaders. But at least they have the championship and consolation games on the final night in 2012, unlike last season.
The winner of the 1 p.m. ET game between Missouri and Stanford will face the victor between Louisville and UNI, who meet in Thanksgiving's last quarterfinal --which starts eight and a half hours later -- in one semifinal. The other side of the bracket will see the winners of the second afternoon game, Duke-Minnesota (approx. 3:30 p.m. ET), and the survivor of the first contest of the night session, Memphis vs. VCU (7 p.m. ET). Further complicating matters are the plans for TV coverage, which will be split between NBC Sports Network, home of the night games during all three days, and AXS.tv, the channel for the day sessions.
The quarterfinals look like this (if you haven't clicked on the link yet). I'm honestly surprised they didn't try to get both Louisville and Duke on NBC Sports Network for the quarterfinals.
Game 4: approx. 9:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 1: 1 p.m. ET, AXS.tv
Game 3: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 2: approx. 3:30 p.m. ET, AXS.tv
Who is your pick to win the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis?
Duke (221 votes)
Louisville (495 votes)
Memphis (127 votes)
Minnesota (193 votes)
Missouri (576 votes)
Northern Iowa (26 votes)
Stanford (12 votes)
VCU (57 votes)
1707 total votes