The UNI basketball team is spending their Thanksgiving weekend in the Bahamas, but the Panthers aren’t there for a vacation. UNI is playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, which features some of the top teams in the country, including the second-ranked Louisville Cardinals, UNI’s opening round opponent.

Panther coach Ben Jacobson says that Louisville is a very tough team to prepare for as they do a number of different things, starting with the defense where they press a majority of the game and switch defenses throughout.

The Panthers only see a full-court press once or twice a year, so Jacobson says they’ve had to revisit last year’s game against VCU to remind the players how to play against Louisville’s press. “What Louisville does and what VCU does is different, at the same time, it’s the constant pressure, the constant press,” Jacobson says.

Senior guard Anthony James will return to the Panther lineup for the Louisville game. UNI’s leading scorer a year ago, James sat out the first three games of the season after being suspended for violating team rules.

 The tournament also features teams among the likes of Duke, Memphis, Missouri, and Stanford. Jacobson says that he’s excited for the Panthers to line up against that kind of competition three times in the span of just three days. He says he is looking forward to how competitive it will be and playing 40 minutes against some top teams.

UNI’s game against Louisville tips off at 8:30 Thursday night. The game is being televised by the NBC Sports Network.

By Jesse Gavin KCNZ Cedar Falls