It’s been about three weeks and another fascinating NCAA basketball season is certainly underway. We’ve had upsets, buzzer-beaters, holiday tournaments, and unexpected results out the wazoo to start the year. We’ll be taking a few moments to look closely at a few aspects of the sport with today’s edition of Loose Change. There’s plenty to look at, but here are a few takeaways based on the last week or so of action.
1. Takeaways from the Battle 4 Atlantis
The college basketball season has our fair share of holiday tournaments. We looked at the Maui Invitational in last week’s takeaways (and we’ll look at it again later), but another one of the yearly spectacles is the Battle 4 Atlantis. Eight teams headed to the Bahamas for quite the exhibition of basketball. Kansas entered as the prohibitive favorite, entering the week at #3 in the nation, but they were not the victors crowned last Friday night.
Tennessee, the only other ranked team in the field, put on quite the show to claim the Battle 4 Atlantis title. They took care of Butler in the opening round, survived overtime against USC in the semifinals, and had quite the performance in a 64-50 title game win over that tough Kansas squad. The Volunteers got that big bounceback they needed after that confusing loss to Colorado just a few weeks ago and look back on track as a top favorite in the SEC.
Speaking of Kansas, they played one of the craziest games of the tournament in the semifinals, barely surviving their semifinal against Wisconsin. The Badgers clawed back into that game several times and had a lead late before Bobby Pettitford Jr. hit the game-winning shot with mere milliseconds left, handing the Jayhawks the 69-68 overtime win. Both semifinals went in overtime, and we got some quality basketball on that side of the bracket.
There was intrigue in the consolation side of things as well. On Friday, NC State knocked off Butler for 5th place, winning both of those games by double-digits after a 6-point loss to Kansas, a very solid showing for the Wolfpack. On the other hand, Dayton really didn’t get what they needed from this trip, losing all three games (including in overtime to BYU in the final game) and driving a stake into their at-large chances.