The field Louisville will face in the Battle 4 Atlantis is tougher than the group in Maui.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Maui Invitational isn't in trouble. It's not going to go the way of the Great Alaska Shootout or the Holiday Festival. It's silly to say that when you look at those cut-away shots of the Pacific Ocean that ESPN loves to flash from Lahaina, especially late at night.
But the folks in Maui do need to reach for their thinking caps because this Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that recruited the University of Louisville certainly appears to be serious in its quest to overtake Maui as the best November college basketball event. They're even getting help from the NBC Sports Network, which is a good thing.
Maui has one team – North Carolina (9) -- currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.
The tournament in Nassau, which tips on Thanksgiving Day, has four -- Louisville (2), Duke (5), Missouri (13) and Memphis (19), plus unbeaten Minnesota, which is 26th.
Maui has one coach (Roy Williams) who has won a national title and two others who have coached in the Final Four (Brad Stevens, Rick Barnes.). Atlantis has three NCAA title winners (Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith) and another Final Four coach (Shaka Smart).
I also decided to add the current rankings of each team in the Pomeroy computer ratings. I had a problem with Chaminade, which is not included because of its status as a Division II team. The mighty Silverswords rolled Texas by 13, outscoring the Longhorns in each half.
So I was generous and awarded Chaminade a computer ranking of 100. The average Pomeroy ranking of the teams in the Atlantis field is miles better than Maui. Here goes:
North Carolina – 11.
Mississippi State – 220.
Butler – 77.
Marquette – 46.
Texas -- 22.
Chaminade – 100.
USC – 187.
Illinois – 40.
Total ranking points – 703. Average ranking: 88.
BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS
Missouri -- 36.
Stanford -- 51.
Minnesota -- 14.
Duke -- 12.
Memphis -- 29
VCU -- 23
Louisville -- 4
Northern Iowa 53.
Total ranking points: 222. Average ranking: 28.
Add the considerably shorter (but not much cheaper) flight to Nassau for teams in the Midwest, East and South, and Maui has a legitimate headache on its hands.
*And here is how Sagarin ranks the field for the Battle 4 Atlantis: 1. Louisville; 2. Minnesota; 3. Duke; 4. Missouri; 5. VCU; 6. Memphis; 7. Stanford; 8. Northern Iowa.
Duke and Minnesota both won Sunday – and play each other Thursday. The Blue Devils got the tougher draw as they'll have to go through the unbeaten Gophers and then play either VCU or Memphis.