The Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament gets going today in the Bahamas, with No. 3 Kansas taking on N.C. State to start. Dayton-Wisconsin will follow, while USC-BYU will be up next. Tennessee and Butler will finish off day one.
Win or lose, Tennessee will face either USC or BYU on Thursday.
Butler enters the tournament 3-1 so far, with their only loss coming to Penn State (68-62). Butler moved on from LaVall Jordan during the offseason, turning to former Ohio State head coach Thad Matta. The 54 year old hasn’t coached since parting ways with the Buckeyes back in 2017.
“I do know Thad,” Rick Barnes said of the new Butler coach. “We have coached against each other. Thad is a terrific coach. He is an extremely sound (coach). There is nothing he is going to try to do to trick you. He is going to line up. He is going to guard you. He is going to be extremely sound fundamentally on both sides. Pass the ball. Shoot the ball. Play inside-out. Good balance. Aggressive. They look to attack, create offense with their defense.”
Tennessee is just one game removed from their embarrassing performance against Colorado in Nashville. The Volunteers couldn’t do anything right on that day, but they were able to bounce back against a decent Florida Gulf Coast squad last week.
Barnes turned to senior transfer addition Tyreke Key at point guard, returning Zakai Zeigler to his sixth-man role that he was in last season. That formula should continue in the Bahamas.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Tennessee is favored by seven points over Butler today.
Injury note: Big man Uros Plavsic is set to return after missing one game with an ankle injury.
How to watch
Time: (Approximately) 7:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday
Location: Imperial Arena (Bahamas)
Streaming: WatchESPN.com or ESPN app