Wichita State Shockers

Battle 4 Atlantis gives Wichita State a chance to earn big bucks in the sun

Wichita State playes enjoy Sunday’s offensive outburst against Maryland-Eastern Shore at Koch Arena. On Monday the Shockers were on a plane headed for the Bahamas, where the team will compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Wichita State playes enjoy Sunday’s offensive outburst against Maryland-Eastern Shore at Koch Arena. On Monday the Shockers were on a plane headed for the Bahamas, where the team will compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Wichita Eagle

Those precious hours of rest taken from Wichita State basketball last March didn’t disappear. They will reappear on the clock this week in the Bahamas.

The Shockers (4-0) open the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday against LSU (3-0) at 11 a.m. Because of TV desires, their second-day opponents tip at 8:30 p.m. on AXS TV, which broadcasts night games at the tournament. The winner of No. 10 Louisville-Old Dominion will play the WSU-LSU winner at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The losers meet at 8:30 p.m.

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Either way, tournament organizers gave the Shockers around a 10-hour advantage on recovery for Thursday’s game. While it doesn’t make up for last season’s three-games-in-87-hours dash from Dayton to Providence in the NCAA Tournament, it’s something.

“I would like for the folks that schedule these games to maybe assist CBS and the NCAA Tournament in the future, based on our experience last year,” WSU director of athletics Darron Boatright said.

WSU’s excitement for this week goes well beyond a friendly schedule. Great travel. Great scheduling power. Great payday, win or lose.

The Battle 4 Atlantis started in 2011 and immediately took a place with the best holiday tournaments. Defending NCAA champion Connecticut played in the first tournament. The 2012 field included Louisville, Duke, VCU, Northern Iowa, Memphis and Missouri. Syracuse won it last season in a field that included Gonzaga, UConn, Michigan, Texas and Texas A&M.

Tournament director Lea Miller created the tournament and pitched it to the Atlantis resort after it stopped sponsoring Michael Jordan’s celebrity golf tournament. She had to get approval from the NCAA to sanction the Bahamas for a tournament.

“The first team I signed was UConn, and I went to over 20 UConn games in the 2010-2011 season,” she said. “I signed them the week before they won the Big East Tournament, and then they won the national championship.”

Miller met with Boatright in 2013 at the Final Four in Atlanta to discuss getting the Shockers to Atlantis.

“We had been attempting to get an invitation for some time,” Boatright said. “Lea made it very easy. It wasn’t as much pleading our case as it was we had this year open and they had a vacancy.”

The Battle 4 Atlantis runs with the Maui Invitational —where WSU plays in 2017 — as the most prestigious in-season tournaments. Coaches and players like the travel to the Bahamas and everybody likes the money.

Each school gets $150,000 as an appearance fee, plus travel costs for 30 people, 15 hotel rooms and two suites. WSU departed Monday on a charter jet with a traveling party of around 200, 150 of those fans.

Teams that reach the championship game earn $200,000. Teams in the third-place ($50,000) and fifth-place ($25,000) also receive a check for their scholarship fund.

“The financial incentives help,” Boatright said. “The fact that it’s in the Eastern Time Zone and fairly easy to get to helps. The wear and tear is not there, for a team and a coaching staff, as much as it is for the Hawaii events.”

Marshall reunion in 2018 — Wichita State is scheduling a homecoming tour for coach Gregg Marshall for its November tournament in 2018.

The Shockers will play in the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., Boatright said Sunday. The contract with the ESPN-owned tournament is awaiting his signature for return.

“We think it’s a quality event, but we would also like to take Coach Marshall back to South Carolina,” Boatright said. “If that’s a gesture we can make for him, we obviously want to do that.”

Marshall spent eight seasons (1988-96) as an assistant coach at College of Charleston, helping coach John Kresse build that program from an NAIA power to a strong NCAA program. The court at TD Arena, where the tournament is played, is named for Kresse, a man who strongly influenced Marshall’s career.

Charleston is a three-hour drive from Rock Hill, S.C., where Marshall coached Winthrop from 1998-2007. He also worked as an assistant at Belmont Abbey College, in nearby Belmont, N.C., in 1987-88.

Boatright said he did not know other teams in the field. Dates are not yet announced. The tournament is usually played before Thanksgiving.

This season’s Charleston Classic ended Sunday with Villanova defeating Wake Forest in the championship game. The field also included Western Michigan, UTEP, Mississippi State, Central Florida, Boise State and College of Charleston. The 2017 tournament is Nov. 16, 17 and 19 at TD Arena on the College of Charleston campus. Indiana State, Temple, Auburn, Ohio, Old Dominion, Hofstra, Clemson and Dayton are in the field.

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

Battle 4 Atlantis

Imperial Arena

Paradise Island, Bahamas

Wednesday

Wichita State vs. LSU, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)

Baylor vs. VCU, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Michigan State vs. Saint John’s, 6 p.m. (AXS TV)

Louisville vs. Old Dominion, 8:30 p.m. (AXS TV)

Thursday

Michigan State-Saint John’s winner vs. Baylor-VCU winner, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Wichita State-LSU winner vs. Louisville-Old Dominion winner, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Michigan State-Saint John’s loser vs. Baylor-VCU loser, 6 p.m. (AXS TV)

Wichita State-LSU loser vs. Louisville-Old Dominion loser, 8:30 p.m. (AXS TV)

Friday

Third-place, noon (ESPN/ESPN2)

Championship, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)

Fifth-place, 6 p.m. (AXS TV)

Seventh-place, 8:30 p.m. (AXS TV)

How to watch

If the Shockers win, games are on ESPN or ESPN2.

If they fall into the losers bracket, games go to AXS TV.

▪  AT&T U-Verse — 1106

▪  DirecTV — 340

▪  DISH — 167

▪  Sling TV — sling.com

Cox Kansas does not carry AXS TV.

A look at the field

No. 10 Louisville (3-0), No. 20 Baylor (3-0) and No. 24 Michigan State (2-2) appear in the Associated Press poll and WSU is receiving votes.

Baylor brings the best win of the young season to the Bahamas. The Bears defeated No. 13 Oregon 66-49 last week.

Seven of the eight teams are in the top 90 of Ken Pomeroy’s ranking, led by No. 7 Louisville and including No. 23 Baylor, No. 24 WSU and No. 27 Michigan State.

Old Dominion is eighth with a not-horrible No. 107.

In Pomeroy’s defensive ranking, Louisville (No. 2), WSU (No. 5), VCU (No. 15) are in the top 20.

Paul Suellentrop

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