There's nothing wrong with the College of Charleston men's basketball team looking forward to the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament that will take place today through Saturday in the Bahamas.
The danger for the Cougars lies in looking ahead.
Defending national champion Connecticut is in the same bracket as Charleston in the eight-team tournament, and there's no question the Cougars would love to have a shot at the No. 4-ranked team in the country. But so would Central Florida, the Cougars' opening-round opponent today.
A young Charleston team has been impressive in getting off to a 3-0 start, the most recent win a three-point victory at Clemson. Central Florida is 2-1, with its only loss at No. 20 Florida State, which is in the opposite bracket of the tournament.
"If we look ahead we're dead. It's that simple," Cougars coach Bobby Cremins said of the potential second-round matchup. "We were fortunate down the stretch at Clemson. We still have to work on turnovers. They're hurting us. But we're very pleased with the way we're playing. It's nice to be 3-0 going into this tournament. To me, it's just about Central Florida."
The Knights have five players scoring in double figures, led by 6-9 junior forward Keith Clanton with 16.3 ppg and 8.7 rpg. Two sons of basketball legend Michael Jordan are on the roster, with 6-3 junior guard Marcus Jordan averaging 16.0 points. Senior guard Jeff Jordan is a backup who's averaging 20 minutes and 3.0 points.
Cremins said the early season tournaments are an opportunity for coaches to learn about their teams, especially this one which features three games in three days. Two years ago the Cougars went 1-2 while playing in Hawaii, and after returning home the coaching staff made some changes he said helped lead to Charleston's 82-79 upset of nationally ranked North Carolina.
"They are tough tournaments to play in. Somebody has to go 0-3," Cremins said.
Other schools in the Battle 4 Atlantis include Connecticut's first-round opponent, UNC Asheville, as well as Massachusetts, Harvard and Utah.
The event is being played at the Atlantis resort, where a ballroom that was used as the site of the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant has been converted into a 4,000-seat arena.