Battle 4 Atlantis announces ridiculously strong 2012 field

Looking for the best place in late November to find both warm tropical weather and high-level college hoops?

Whether you're trying to actually pony up the bucks to travel there and watch your team play, or you just want to sit on the couch and live vicariously through teasing cutaway shots of beaches, bikinis and palm trees, Maui now has some serious competition for that honor.

As far as the product on the floor went, the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis over Thanksgiving weekend was a strong success.

The field for the second installment of the tournament was announced early this week, and its, um, well, good.

The eight-team field will included Duke, Memphis, Louisville, Stanford, Missouri, Minnesota, VCU and Northern Iowa. In other words, that's three legitimately 'elite' programs, three more very strong high-majors and two perennial mid-major powers.

That's a strong upgrade from top to bottom from last week's field, which behind name programs like UConn and Florida State included Harvard (the eventual tourney champ), Central Florida, College of Charleston, UMass, UNC-Ashville and Utah.

It seemed like only a matter of time that the Battle 4 Atlantis made some major noise in terms of going head-to-head with the Maui Invitational for the blue-blood programs. {YSP:MORE}

The tournament dubbed itself "the richest preseason tournament in college basketball," awarding $2 million to participating schools. The tournament also already has a strong national television presence on both Versus and HDNet. It was presented well on TV, too, with the dimmed lights and blue hue over the crowd surrounding the court.

The Maui Invitational, which is one of ESPN's ratings darlings during Thanksgiving week, counters with an equally-impressive 2012 field that includes Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas, USC and Chaminade.

In an age where ESPN has pleasantly saturated the market during Thanksgiving with made-for-TV tournaments in order to fill programming time slots, it's nice to see that the Maui Invitational now has some serious competition for top billing in the years after the Great Alaskan Shootout lost its clout. The Battle 4 Atlantis's presence, apparent willingness to go after the biggest programs around and obviously deep pockets should keep both tournaments strong for years to come.

(h/t @billyedelinSBN)

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