Date/Time: Saturday November 26, 2011- 4.30 p.m. EDT.
Location: Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort (Capacity: 4,500), Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Broadcast Info: The Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament Championship Game will be available on Versus nationally. Radio coverage of the game will be available through the Central Florida website courtesy of UCF-IMG Sports Network.
Last Time Out: Harvard survived one of the ugliest basketball games in recent history, to oulast #20/22 Florida State and earn a spot in the finals in the first ever Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. After a first half that saw the teams combine for 28 points (tied for the modern record low), the Crimson came away with a 46-41 victory behind 17 made free throws, all but four of which came in the second half. Central Florida rallied from a 17-point comeback with 16 minutes to remaining to complete the comeback and earn their third ever victory against a ranked opponent with a 68-63 victory over fourth ranked UConn. Keith Clanton and Micheal Jordan's son Marcus both finished with a game-high 20 points and the Knights hit their free throws down the stretch to end the nation's longest winning streak at 16.
Storylines: All of the people who were eager for a Saturday matchup between Florida State and UConn will have to show up a little earlier than they intended Saturday, after a wild afternoon in the Bahamas. Forgotten Central Florida and Harvard, pulled back-to-back upsets at the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort, stunning the experts with a victory (Central Florida) and the style of play in their victory (Harvard).
Both team's lock-down defenses bogged down their supposedly more talented and athletic opponents and their offenses had just enough juice from the free throw line to get them to the finish line and a victory. After such a strenuous Saturday and having to play for the third day in a row (first time all season), it will be interesting to see if either team can put together a complete performance Sunday. Harvard should have the advantage. The Crimson regularly have 10 players see significant minutes of action and were able to rest their starters in their blowout win Thursday.
Players to Watch: Senior guard Oliver McNally is the other guy serving as the face of the Crimson. Keith's Wright co-captain is quite the basketball player though, McNally scored the first five points of Friday's game and is the team's third-leading scorer. Add in the fact he's automatic at the free throw line, second on the team in assists and a deadly 3-point shooter and McNally is as likely as anyone to hit the winning basket. With Central Florida likely preoccupied trying to slow down Keith Wright inside, expect McNally to get plenty of open looks from the perimeter, his contributions could be the difference in the game.
Marcus Jordan is more than just the son of a legend, he's turned into quite the basketball player himself. Jordan added a team-high seven rebounds and seven assists and didn't record a turnover against the defending national champion Huskies. The junior guard leads the team in assists, is second in scoring and like his father has a propensity to play well in big games. Expect Jordan to be a handful again Saturday against a slightly less talented backcourt.
Prediction: Neither team was supposed to be in this situation but that doesn't mean it won't turn out to be quite the exciting final. Harvard's ability to slow down the game and beat a Florida State team that had looked good thus far gives them the edge, especially with the fresher legs.
Harvard 61, Central Florida 54