Tournament guide, breakdown and predictions: Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 4:44pm

The court at Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in The Bahamas.

The court at Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in The Bahamas. Buy this photo
Lev Facher/Daily

 

PARADISE ISLAND, The Bahamas — Don’t let the fancy resort and tropical destination fool you — the Michigan men’s basketball team views its southward swing to The Bahamas over the Thanksgiving holiday as a business trip.

Indeed, there’s work to be done. The Wolverines could face two ranked teams in a span of three games, and those three games will be played within a roughly 48-hour window.

The Battle 4 Atlantis, hosted by the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort just off the shores of Nassau, Bahamas, packs a punch in its lineup this year. The tournament features No. 10 Gonzaga, No. 18 Connecticut, No. 25 Texas A&M, Syracuse, Texas, Charlotte, Washington and Michigan.

The Daily lays out the Wolverines’ potential paths through the tournament, complete with game times, broadcast information and more. Stick around at the end for a tourney breakdown and some predictions, too. 

Round 1

Michigan takes on No. 18 Connecticut at 9:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on AXS TV (see below for channel listings), and caps off the first tournament quadruple-header of the week.

Round 2

If the Wolverines beat the Huskies, they’ll play either Charlotte or Syracuse the following day. A win would pit them against that game’s victor in a 3:30 p.m. matchup, broadcast on ESPN. Lose to Connecticut, and they’ll tip off once again at 9:30 p.m. against the loser — another AXS Broadcast.

Round 3

With two wins, the Wolverines will play on Friday against whichever team in the group of Texas, Texas A&M, Gonzaga and Washington escapes the tournament’s first two days with a 2-0 record. Regardless, they’ll play one of those teams in the final round.

At 2-0, Michigan would play at 3:00 p.m. on ESPN. If the Wolverines beat Connecticut but lose on Thanksgiving Day, they would play at 12:30 p.m., also on ESPN. A first-round loss followed by a win would have them tip off at 7:00 p.m. on AXS, and two losses would result in a 9:30 p.m. tip on AXS to close the tournament.

Breakdown:

Michigan faces another tough test Wednesday in Connecticut center Amida Brimah. At 7 feet, he presents another physical, low-post presence — he won’t score as much as Xavier’s 6-foot-10 forward Jalen Reynolds did on Friday, and the Huskies’ offense won’t run through him, but he’ll present a major issue on the glass at both ends of the floor. Michigan’s bigs haven’t shown themselves capable of handling such size or physicality quite yet.

The Wolverines should feel better about playing Syracuse the next day. Michigan got past Jim Boeheim’s trademark 2-3 zone last December at Crisler Center, and the Wolverines’ deep, experienced backcourt has the patience and shooting ability necessary to find space around the perimeter to win the game from the 3-point line. Charlotte, meanwhile, is a program looking to retool under first-year head coach Mark Price. Michigan looks to hold an edge in its second-round game, regardless of the opponent.

And while Texas A&M posts a stiff secondary challenge in the other bracket, it’s tough to envision any team in the field handling Gonzaga and Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-foot-10 forward who has clear star potential in the NBA. The Bulldogs are the clear favorites in this tournament, and the Wolverines wouldn’t fare well against Wiltjer if they faced him.

Prediction:

The Wolverines will play the Huskies tougher than they played Xavier on Friday, but still won’t be able to pull off a win. But they’ll rebound the next day against Charlotte, avenging the 49ers’ upset two years ago at the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament. They’ll finish strong against Texas, leaving Paradise Island with a 2-1 record.

TV LISTINGS:

If your cable package includes AXS, here’s where to find it:

Ann Arbor:

• AT&T U-verse (1106)

• Charter (820)

• Comcast (382)

• DirecTV (340)

• DISH (167)

 

Detroit:

• AT&T U-verse (1106)

• Charter (770 and 820)

• Comcast (382)

• DirecTV (340)

• DISH (167)

• Wyandotte Cable TV (179)

 

Grand Rapids

• AT&T U-verse (1106)

• Charter (820)

• DirecTV (340)

• DISH (167)

Temporary bleachers above a ballroom rug inside Imperial Arena.

Temporary bleachers above a ballroom rug inside Imperial Arena. Buy this photo
Lev Facher/Daily