The first major change due to COVID-19 to the 2020 West Virginia men’s basketball schedule has come. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported that The Battle 4 Atlantis will relocate from Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas, to Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this Thanksgiving.
Sources: The 2020 Battle 4 Atlantis will be played at the Sanford Pentagon in South Dakota. Dates are TBD.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 14, 2020
Field includes Duke, West Virginia, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, Creighton, and Wichita State.
The eight teams scheduled to play have not dropped out.
What is obviously a disappointment for all involved was pretty much inevitable. The coronavirus pandemic halted college basketball last March, ceasing most conference tournaments and the NCAA championship tournament. Though nearly 10 months will have passed by the time the Battle 4 Atlantis commences, the organizers and stakeholders clearly feel international travel is unwise for the eight programs involved.
That said, WVU is probably very glad the tournament is still on, even if Bob Huggins has to trade in a tiki bar on Paradise Island for the Blue Rock Bar & Grill in Sioux Falls. This tournament will be a showcase for what fans hope to be a rejuvenated and retooled WVU squad.
It is an unmitigated bummer that players will likely be restricted to stay in hotel rooms at the Fairfield Inn right next the airport in Sioux Falls and not roaming the grounds of an all-inclusive resort, but this the Sanford Pentagon offers a grand setting for basketball.
The Pentagon, which opened in 2013, boasts three levels of premier basketball courts and training facilities. It’s main showcase court on the main level is where the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the G League play. So, though the Mountaineers won’t be discovering Atlantis, they will play on courts built for basketball.
Early reports from Rothstein indicated fans will be allowed into the arena.
This was supposed to be the second year in a row that the Mountaineers took an international trip for Thanksgiving. In 2019, WVU won the Cancun Challenge beating Northern Iowa and Wichita State.