The 2021 college basketball season is nowhere on our radar right now, with 2020 still months away at best, assuming things start as planned. Still, that doesn’t stop news around 2021 from occurring, as was the case today:
Sources: Michigan State, UConn, Syracuse, Arizona State, Auburn, VCU, and Loyola-Chicago are expected to headline the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 23, 2020
8th team is currently TBD.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reports that the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team will be one of eight teams to take part in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis. Among the other teams that will be participating next year:
- Arizona State Sun Devils
- Auburn Tigers
- Connecticut Huskies
- Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
- Michigan State Spartans
- VCU Rams
As Rothstein notes, an eighth team is currently TBD — but seems likely to come from either the Big 12 or a West Coast mid-major league (or, as Chris Dobbertean notes in the comments, a C-USA squad since they’re a sponsor and usually have a team in it).
The Syracuse men’s team hasn’t been to the Battle 4 Atlantis (which takes place in the Bahamas) since 2015, when the Orange beat Texas A&M in the championship game to take home the title. While this year’s tournament may have some doubts around it, the SU women’s team is scheduled to be down in the Bahamas for that event in 2020.
Jim Boeheim’s squad has kept things a bit closer to home for early-season tournaments recently, and this is the first neutral site game for Syracuse since 2017-18 (vs. Kansas in Miami). This is the first larger neutral-site tournament they’ve participated in since that aforementioned 2015-16 Battle 4 Atlantis run.
Aside from the excitement around heading down to the Bahamas, the field here is also an interesting one. Seeing UConn on the list basically confirms at least part of the bracket alignment, since these events love matching up the Orange and Huskies for both TV and in-person ticket sales purposes. Barring a matchup this year in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a game against Michigan State would be the first for SU since the 2018 NCAA Tournament upset.
Syracuse hasn’t faced Loyola-Chicago since 1986 (an 87-66 win) and VCU hasn’t been on the slate since 1992 (a 94-81 victory). The Orange have won two straight games against Arizona State — the most recent in 2018 — but no Auburn since the 2003 NCAA Tournament run (obviously a ‘Cuse win in the only matchup between the schools).
Assuming most of you are happy about this? Plan on attending? It’s nice to get this locked in early, in what should be an immediate boost to the quality of SU’s non-conference slate (which will also include an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game, plus Georgetown).