The Battle 4 Atlantis will be played on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then on Thanksgiving Day. The SoCon team in the tournament is the Chattanooga Mocs. The tournament will be held in Chattanooga and will feature one of the better four team tournaments that a SoCon team is participating in. Robert Morris and Coastal Carolina both should finish up very near the top of their conferences, and UL-Monroe could easily be a top half contender in the Sun Belt. Of course, for those that know the SoCon, the Mocs are certainly expected to be near the top.
Yes, this tournament is going to be very interesting. It's too bad not too many people in Chattanooga will likely see it due to where it falls on the calendar.
Here's the schedule:
Wednesday, November 26
Robert Morris at Chattanooga- Noon
Coastal Carolina vs. UL-Monroe- 2:30 PM
Thursday, November 27
Consolation Game- Noon
Championship Game- 2:30 PM
Chattanooga will be relying heavily on Casey Jones and Rico White early in the year. The Mocs will be bringing in a bunch of new faces that are expected to make the Mocs better, but they might have a few struggles early in the year. What will Chuck Ester, Duke Ethridge, and Justin Tuoyo look like this early in the year? There's no telling from here. The Mocs will be at home and be looking to provide their season a boost early on. The Mocs pressure defense could cause a lot of problems for other teams in this field. The Mocs are deeper this year and that should help them as they run their system.
Robert Morris is also breaking in a lot of new faces, but Lucky Taylor is their constant. The Colonials are a good mid-major and are going to be relying on Stephan Hawkins to continue his development. This team went 14-2 last year in the NEC before falling in an upset in the conference tournament. They will hoping that Marcquise Reed and Elijah Minnie step right in and make a huge impact on the team. They should be able to do that. Whether or not the Colonials can step in and win two games in Chattanooga is a very interesting question.
Coastal Carolina won the Big South a year ago, and are favored to do so again. The Chanticleers will be depending on Elijah Wilson and Warren Gillis to have a big year. Josh Cameron is a hot three point shooter. Shivaughn Wiggins is eligible and should be starting at point guard. This team has what is probably the most talented team in the Big South and a team that might be the favorite in Chattanooga in this field. This may be one of the better mid-majors in the country this year. They will be a very difficult team to beat by anyone in this field.
UL-Monroe has been trying to put it together for several years and just hasn't been able to, but this is the best Warhawks team in years. Tylor Ongwae averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a year ago. Nick Coppola is another key player. This team is probably the underdog in Chattanooga, but they are also a team that could easily find a win or two because this is a team that is really hoping to prove themselves on this stage.
This should be a great tournament with four competitive games. Coastal Carolina should beat UL-Monroe in the opener. I think Chattanooga slips by Robert Morris in the other first round game. That will leave the Colonials and the Warhawks, and for now, I'll take Robert Morris to beat UL-Monroe. The Mocs taking on the Chanticleers on Thanksgiving in the middle of the day? That should be a great game and I'm not sure who wins. I'll take the Mocs for now, despite the fact that I don't feel great about the pick. The home court advantage that I am counting on may not be in full effect due to Thanksgiving.