How to Watch
When: Noon ET
Where: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Radio: 610 Sports (WTEL-AM)
This is the first match-up between Villanova (5-0) and Northern Iowa (5-1).
The Battle 4 Atlantis championship game here, and what a journey it’s been. For Villanova, the first two games tournament games have been spent dodging upsets and playing catch-up on the scoreboard. On the other hand, Northern Iowa has been the cause of upsets, defeating SMU and North Carolina State.
Villanova last entered the Battle 4 Atlantis in 2013, and ultimately won the tournament in their first appearance. The Wildcats are looking to repeat the success, but to do so, must overcome their initial gameplay shakiness. In uncharacteristically uncoordinated performances, ‘Nova has faltered in the first half of both games played so far, as seen through lackluster shooting and excess turnovers. While Villanova regains composure by the second half, thanks in large part to dominant plays by Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, ‘Nova must smooth it’s wrinkled shooting to best fend off upset-hungry UNI.
Northern Iowa’s Battle 4 Atlantis victories have come down to close numbers. Defeating SMU 61-58 and North Carolina State 64-60, the Panthers’ path to the championship game has been paved by outlasting opponents through offensive spurts. Senior center Bennet Koch is a key player in that strategy, scoring half his 16 points in the final minutes against N.C. State. However, UNI must be prepared to create more consistent shooting opportunities, as the Wildcats are equally, if not more, seasoned in finishing runs on top.