November 28, 2014

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Reigning national champion Connecticut is one of eight teams that were announced Friday as confirmed members of the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis field.

The Huskies will be joined by one of their longtime rivals, Syracuse.

Texas, Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Washington, Michigan and Charlotte also are in the field, which has representation from eight conferences - the American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, West Coast and Conference USA.

''It's loaded,'' tournament founder Lea Miller said.

The tournament will again be played over Thanksgiving at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, inside a converted ballroom-turned-arena.

Opening-round matchups have not been announced.

''I said this prior to the tournament: You can go 0-3 here and still be a very good team,'' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said after his team lost to Butler in Friday's third-place game and left the Bahamas with a 1-2 mark. ''And I definitely know you can go 1-2 here and still be a very good team.''

Because of the tournament's exempt status, teams are guaranteed three games but only count as one contest for schedule purposes.

The tournament has quickly become one of the more highly regarded early-season tournaments, in part because of the Bahamas location, in part for the organization - such as security assigned to each team to help get them around what can be a crammed resort in a timely fashion - and in part because of the payout.

''It's a terrific event,'' Thompson III said. ''It's well-run. It's extremely organized. It's first class, it's first class in every way, shape and form. And as much as it's difficult the way we're going home, you know you're coming down here and you're going to play against three tough teams. And if that's what you want, that's what you're going to get.''

The tournament pays out a total of approximately $2 million to its participants, plus covers travel expenses and offers some money to school scholarship funds.

''This was a great tournament,'' Butler guard Alex Barlow said. ''I hope Butler gets to come back to it and they have a field like this again because it's been a lot of fun.''

The 2016 field has not been announced, though it's expected that Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast - both darlings of recent NCAA tournaments - will be on that year's bracket.

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