STANFORD, Calif.- Stanford will participate in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis, an eight-team tournament that is loaded with some of college basketball's premier programs. The second-year event will be held Nov. 22-24 during Thanksgiving weekend at the famed Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Next year's impressive field includes six teams that have participated in the NCAA Final Four over the last 15 seasons. The eight schools in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis draw have combined for more than 160 NCAA postseason appearances. When the season opens in early November, it's likely that the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis will be recognized as the most competitive preseason tournament field of all.
In addition to Stanford, the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis field consists of Duke, Louisville, Memphis, Minnesota, Missouri, Northern Iowa and VCU. The full schedule for the 12-game tourney, which will be televised by NBC Sports Network and HDNet, will be announced in August.
Harvard was crowned last year's tourney champ, which also included teams such as Connecticut and Florida State.
The 4,000-seat arena boasts state-of-the-art regulation facilities at the epicenter of the world's largest open-air marine habitat, complete with lavish guest accommodations, restaurants, bars, spa, lounges, waterslides and the largest casino in the Bahamas. For more information on the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis, click HERE.
Marquee preseason tournaments are nothing new for Stanford, which is playing in its fourth consecutive such event following appearances in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off (2011), 76 Classic (2010) and Cancun Challenge (2009).
Here's a closer look at the participating teams:
Duke Blue Devils
One of college basketball's most storied programs, Duke wrapped up the 2011-12 season with a 27-7 overall record, a second-place ACC finish in the regular season and its 17th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in NCAA history at 927-289 overall.
Projected by some national media outlets as next year's preseason No. 1, Louisville returns 12 letterwinners after a successful 2011-12 campaign in which the Cardinals won 30 games, sixth-most in school history. Under Rick Pitino, Louisville won the BIG EAST Conference tournament championship and reached the school's ninth NCAA Final Four.
Another top-25 fixture, Memphis will be playing its final season in Conference USA before transitioning to the Big East in 2013-14. Head coach Josh Pastner's squad has advanced to the NCAA Tournament six times over the last seven seasons and last year's club finished 26-9 overall and 13-3 in conference play.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota's 2011-12 campaign ended with a 75-51 loss to Stanford in the championship game of the Postseason NIT. The Golden Gophers finished 23-15 overall under head coach Tubby Smith. With standout Trevor Mbakwe granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, Minnesota is also being tabbed a possible top-25 preseason pick.
Missouri is coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, compiling a 30-5 overall record while earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament after capturing the Big 12 Tournament championship. Frank Haith was named Associated Press National Coach of the Year, leading a Tiger roster that featured just seven scholarship players.
Northern Iowa Panthers
At 20-14 overall, Northern Iowa won 20 games for the fourth consecutive season and tied for third at 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers earned their fourth straight postseason berth, reaching the second round of the NIT. Ben Jacobson's club has won 93 games over the past four seasons, the most of any four-year stretch in school history.
After losing five key players from its 2011 Final Four run, VCU responded with a school-record 29 wins last year and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Shaka Smart's 84 victories ranks as the second-most by any Division I head coach over their first three seasons.
Stanford (26-11, 10-8 Pac-12) captured its third championship in school history, closing out the year as 2012 Postseason NIT champions. Winning a school-record seven games during the month of March, Stanford has now claimed three titles overall (1942 NCAA, 1991 Postseason NIT). Appearing in the postseason for the first time in three years, the Cardinal chalked up its best win total since a 28-8 campaign in 2007-08. Despite placing seventh in regular-season conference play, Stanford wrapped up the year as the Pac-12's winningest program and tallied a league-best four victories against the RPI's top-50.
About Atlantis, Paradise Island resort, The Bahamas
Atlantis, Paradise Island is the flagship resort of Kerzner International, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury hotels. This unique, ocean-themed destination is located on Paradise Island, The Bahamas, and features a variety of accommodations, all built around a 141-acre waterscape comprised of over 20 million gallons of fresh and saltwater lagoons, pools and habitats. Home to the largest open-air marine habitat in the world, there are over 50,000 marine animals in lagoons and displays, including The Dig, a maze of underwater corridors and passageways providing a journey through ancient Atlantis.
Atlantis is home to Aquaventure, a non-stop water experience consisting of thrilling water slides, a mile-long river ride with high intensity rapids and wave surges, and never-before-seen special effects. Dolphin Cay, the resort's interaction and education center, was created with the goal of enlightening visitors about the wonders of these remarkable ocean inhabitants. The Cove Atlantis, a 600-room resort, features oversized rooms with a step down living space, spectacular designs by acclaimed interior architects Jeffrey Beers and David Rockwell, unprecedented services and amenities, private all-adult and family pools, lavish cabanas and breathtaking views of the ocean. Atlantis is also known as THE culinary destination in The Caribbean with a collection of restaurants from world-renowned chefs including Nobu Matsuhisa, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Bobby Flay. The resort boasts an impressive collection of luxury boutiques and shops, and the largest casino, conference center and meeting and convention facilities in The Caribbean.
For further information about Atlantis, Paradise Island; call 866-863-6253 or visit www.Battle4Atlantis.com for more information and event updates.