The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team entered the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis as the favorite and lived up to that billing, beating Alabama-Birmingham, Georgetown and Oklahoma en route to a tournament title.
The Badgers are more under the radar entering the 2018 installment of the event, which begins this week on Paradise Island in The Bahamas. UW opens with a game against Stanford at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Here’s a closer look at the eight-team field:
NO. 25 WISCONSIN (3-0)
Coach: Greg Gard, 60-36 in his fourth season at UW.
Top scorers: Sophomore guard D’Mitrik Trice (18.3 ppg); senior center Ethan Happ (18.3); sophomore guard Brad Davison (11.7); sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl (11.0).
Road to Atlantis: Beat Coppin State (85-63), Xavier (77-68) and Houston Baptist (96-59).
Worth noting: Happ has opened the season with a triple-double and a pair of double-doubles. He’s averaging 12.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. … Trice is shooting 65.0 percent (13 of 20) from 3-point range. … Nate Reuvers has a team-high seven blocked shots.
Coach: Jarod Haase, 35-34 in his third season with the Cardinal.
Top scorers: Sophomore forward KZ Okpala (22.7); freshman guard Cormac Ryan (14.7); sophomore guard Daejon Davis (10.7)
Road to Atlantis: Beat Seattle (96-74) and North Carolina-Wilmington (72-59); lost to North Carolina (90-72).
Worth noting: Davis has 11 turnovers through three games. He committed a team-high 132 turnovers last season. … Ryan is 10 of 22 (45.5 percent) from 3-point range. … Okpala has attempted 29 free throws, making 23 (79.3 percent). … Josh Sharma, a 7-foot senior center, was recruited by UW. He’s averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Coach: Mike White, 71-38 in his fourth season with the Gators.
Top scorers: Senior guard Jalen Hudson (12.0); sophomore guard Deaundrae Ballard (10.3)
Road to Atlantis: Lost to Florida State (81-60); beat Charleston Southern (76-46) and La Salle (82-69).
Worth noting: Freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard, a five-star recruit, has 17 assists and six turnovers. … Senior guard KeVaughn Allen is 2 of 11 from 3-point range. The Gators are shooting 26.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team. … Ballard, who averaged 3.7 points last season, is 11 of 13 on 2-point shots this season.
Coach: Lon Kruger, 143-91 in his eighth season with the Sooners.
Top scorers: Senior guard Christian James (22.7); senior guard Aaron Calixte (13.3); sophomore forward Brady Manek (13.3).
Road to Atlantis: Beat Texas Rio Grande Valley (91-76), Texas San Antonio (87-67) and Wofford (75-64).
Worth noting: Manek is averaging 11.3 rebounds per game. … James is 19 of 21 from the free throw line. … Calixte is a graduate transfer from Maine. … This could be the fourth meeting in five seasons between UW and Oklahoma. After the Badgers beat the Sooners 69-56 in the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis title game, the teams split home-and-home games the following two seasons.
NO. 4 VIRGINIA (3-0)
Coach: Tony Bennett, 222-86 in his 10th season with the Cavaliers.
Top scorers: Junior guard Ty Jerome (17.0); sophomore swingman De’Andre Hunter (14.3); junior guard Kyle Guy (11.7); junior forward Mamadi Diakite (10.0).
Road to Atlantis: Beat Towson (73-42), George Washington (76-57) and Coppin State (97-40).
Worth noting: Bennett, the son of former UW coach Dick Bennett, spent two seasons working alongside Badgers coach Greg Gard on Bo Ryan’s staff. … Jerome is 11 of 16 (68.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Cavaliers are shooting 47.1 percent from beyond the arc as a team. … Guy has 12 assists and one turnover. Virginia has a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio as a team. … Opponents are shooting 34.8 percent from the field against the Cavaliers, including 28.6 percent from 3-point range.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (3-1)
Coach: Nick McDevitt, 3-1 in his first season with the Blue Raiders.
Top scorers: Junior guard Antonio Green (22.3); junior forward Reggie Scurry (13.5); sophomore guard Donovan Sims (12.3); senior forward Karl Gamble (12.0); senior forward James Hawthorne (10.8)
Road to Atlantis: Beat Lees-McRae (91-69), Milligan (102-70) and Charleston Southern (75-73); lost at Belmont (92-73)
Worth noting: The Blue Raiders have far more turnovers (77) than assists (56). Five Middle Tennessee players already have at least 10 turnovers. … Scurry and Gamble average 8.3 rebounds per game. … Green has attempted 40 shots from 3-point range, more than half of the team’s total. He’s made 14 of them (35.0 percent). … The Blue Raiders lost their top six scorers from a team that went 25-8 overall and finished first in Conference USA with a 16-2 record. Kermit Davis also left to coach Mississippi and was replaced by McDevitt, who went 98-66 in five seasons at North Carolina-Asheville.
Coach: LaVall Jordan, who is 24-14 in his second season with the Bulldogs.
Top scorers: Junior guard Kamar Baldwin (23.3); senior guard Paul Jorgensen (18.7); sophomore center Joey Brunk (15.0).
Road to Atlantis: Beat Miami of Ohio (90-68), Detroit (84-63) and Mississippi (83-76).
Worth noting: Prior to taking over his alma mater last season, Jordan spent one season at UW-Milwaukee, going 11-24. … Baldwin went 12 of 12 from the free throw line against Mississippi. He also leads the team in rebounding (6.7) and assists (5.7). … The Bulldogs are shooting 65.3 percent on 2-point shots, which ranks in the top five nationally according to KenPom.
Coach: Anthony Grant, 17-17 in his second season with the Flyers.
Top scorers: Fifth-year senior forward Josh Cunningham (20.0); redshirt freshman forward Obi Toppin (15.0); junior forward Ryan Mikesell (13.3); sophomore Jordan Davis (13.0); junior guard Trey Landers (12.3); sophomore guard Jalen Crutcher (12.0).
Road to Atlantis: Beat North Florida (78-70), Coppin State (76-46) and Purdue Fort Wayne (91-80).
Worth noting: Cunningham missed the first two games of the season with a wrist injury. Toppin had 18 points and 10 rebounds against North Florida in his collegiate debut. … Landers and UW sophomore point guard D’Mitrik Trice were teammates at Wayne High School near Dayton, Ohio. … Crutcher, who made the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team last season, leads Dayton with 6.0 assists per game. … The Flyers have two transfers from Big Ten programs – guard Ibi Watson (Michigan) and center Jordy Tshimanga (Nebraska) – sitting out this season.