A fast break away from where crystal blue waters lap against pearl white sandy beaches is a ballroom that is transformed into a basketball gym for three days each year. It is appropriately called Imperial Arena, not so much for the venue itself, though the conversion itself is impressive, but for the occupants who will run and shoot on the court and goals brought in specifically for this event.

The fifth annual Battle 4 Atlantis begins Wednesday at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Nassau. While most vacationers will take in the many first rate water features from slides, rafting and swimming with dolphins, for a couple of thousand, they are here to watch the future of this college basketball season; the tourney that has been an indicator of teams and players to watch four months from now.

Tenth ranked Gonzaga, heads up the field led by Player of the Year candidate Kyle Wiltjer taking on Washington a young team with potential. They travel over six hours by plane to renew a rivalry dormant since 2006. Syracuse takes on Charlotte and first year coach and former NBA All Star Mark Price.

On AXSTV Wednesday, our coverage tips off with a Lone Star State showdown not seen in three years, when Texas with new coach Shaka Smart takes on Texas A&M with perhaps it’s best team in years. Number 18 Connecticut meets Michigan at 9:30, the Huskies and Wolverines both looking to reach the NCAA postseason after missing out last year’s with close losses and injuries.

This tourney has been a harbinger for Duke, Louisville, Wisconsin and Villanova in establishing how far they could go in the long run, either showing they could indeed live up to expectations or as in the case of the Wildcats vaulting into the top 10 off a championship in the Bahamas.

This field is wide open to making statements where they belong in the national picture.

AXSTV will have six key games over three days at 7/6c and 9:30/8:30c Wednesday through Friday.

– Kenny

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