Iowa to play in Bahamas, not Alaska

IOWA CITY – The Iowa men’s basketball team has ditched Alaska in favor of the Bahamas.

The Hawkeyes announced Thursday that they’ve pulled out of the Great Alaska Shootout and will instead play in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Paradise Island in the Bahamas from Nov. 28-30.

The move should add strength to Iowa’s non-conference schedule. The field for the Bahamas also includes Kansas, Tennessee, Villanova, USC, Wake Forest, UTEP and Xavier. Four of them saw postseason action in the winter, including NCAA tournament qualifiers Kansas and Villanova.

The Great Alaska Shootout brackets are filled mostly with mid-major programs like Indiana State and Pepperdine.

The Hawkeyes hurt their NCAA tournament chances last season by playing a soft non-conference slate. But Iowa will play at Iowa State, host an undetermined ACC school and play in the more prestigious Bahamas tourney next year.

“Both the Great Alaska Shootout and Battle 4 Atlantis are phenomenal tournaments,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “The Great Alaska Shootout is a tournament rich in tradition, while the Battle 4 Atlantis is an exciting new tournament that began two years ago. We are excited about this new opportunity for our program and fans.”

Duke won the Battle 4 Atlantis in 2012 and Harvard won the premiere event in 2011.