What do the Maui Invitational, Preseason NIT and Great Alaska Shootout have in common? You've heard of them, unlike, say, the Battle 4 Atlantis, which is a start-up tournament in its first official year. Obviously, the Battle 4 Atlantis would like to change that and burn their deeply stupid name into the minds of basketball fans everywhere.
The first step in doing that is to attract marquee teams, like say, Connecticut, to play in your tournament. That's a problem that is easily solved when you put up a $2 million purse to be divided among the teams (and though I can't find a link at the moment, I believe the winning team gets a rather large slice of that purse).
The second step is to find a good TV partner (hint, hint) so you can show those marquee teams to the world, or at least to a sleepy Thanksgiving audience in a small Northeastern state like, say, Connecticut. That's where the organizers of the Battle 4 Atlantis have failed, because while they signed a deal with Versus (a perfectly acceptable network that most people get), they agreed to put their primetime games on HDNet, a network that is owned by Mark Cuban and watched by no one. That means UConn's 7 p.m. tipoff tonight is going to be watched only by people with incredibly expansive cable packages -- well, that or shady internet feeds (guess which one I'm planning on).
Luckily for UConn fans, as long as the Huskies keep winning, the rest of their games will be broadcast on Versus.
Some quick, if unrelated sidenotes: The Battle 4 Atlantis website tells you everything you need to know about this tournament: it's about selling vacation packages first and paying attention to basketball second. TV listings aren't even available on the site. Woohoo!
UPDATE: Comcast will be airing the game in Connecticut, but since I am not in Connecticut, everything I said above still applies to me.