The Basketball Tournament (TBT) – the $2 million, winner-take-all summer basketball event broadcast live on ESPN networks – announced today its bracket for this year’s tournament, which will feature more than 60 players with NBA experience, 27 college alumni teams, and elite overseas professionals playing in top leagues all over the world. Multiple current NBA players will be participating in TBT this summer, either as players or coaches, while 21 TBT players competed in NCAA basketball this past season.
Richmond will serve as the site of the South Regional taking place July 13-15. Friday’s games will be played at Benedictine College Preparatory (Sheppard Street) with games on Saturday and Sunday at VCU’s Siegel Center.
Ram Nation, a VCU alumni squad made up of some of the biggest names of recent Rams teams, is one of the most popular and well-supported teams in TBT. Boasting the likes of Eric Maynor and Bradford Burgess, Ram Nation is the No. 2 seed in the South Regional – it will mark the second time in the five years of TBT that a NCAA Division I program has hosted its alumni team (Bradley was the first in 2017).
The No. 1 seed is Overseas Elite, the three-time defending champion of TBT led by two-time TBT MVP Kyle Fogg. Overseas Elite has won 19 straight games and $5 million in prize money.
Other teams coming to Richmond include:
- Making its first appearance in TBT, the Wake Forest alumni team Wake The Nation is the first Tobacco Road alumni team to play in TBT. The ACC stalwarts are led by former NBA All Star and Wake Forest alum Josh Howard, who will be joined by other Wake Forest greats, including Josh Gray and LD Williams.
- 2018 marks the return of the University of Memphis alumni team Memphis State, playing under a new name with many familiar faces. The excitement around the Memphis program since the hiring of Tiger legend Penny Hardaway as Head Coach continues this summer with a squad led by Adonis Thomas, Will Coleman and Willie Kemp.
- UMBC, the darling of the 2018 NCAA Tournament and the first program to pull off a 16-1 upset in NCAA college basketball history, will make its first appearance in TBT and are hoping for another Cinderella run that would see them return to Baltimore for TBT’s Semifinals and Championship Game on August 2 and 3. With a combination of players from the last UMBC team to make the NCAAs (2008) and seniors from last year’s team, there’s plenty for old and new Retriever fans to root for.
Most teams earn their way into the tournament by soliciting support from fans via social, digital and all other forms of media. The teams are then seeded within four regions: Northeast, Midwest, South and West. New to this year’s tournament are two, 4-team “pods” within the West and Northeast regions, hosted by Spokane Hoopfest and the Big East conference, respectively, where the winners will automatically advance to the Super 16. The Hoopfest TBT Pod will consist of alumni teams from Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Utah and Air Force. The Big East TBT Pod will consist of Big East alumni teams from Marquette, Georgetown, St. John’s and Seton Hall, and will be played at Marquette University.
The full tournament schedule is as follows:
- Hoopfest TBT Pod (West Regional): June 29-30 in Spokane, WA (Lewis and Clark High School)
- Big East TBT Pod (Northeast Regional): June 30-July 1 in Milwaukee, WI (Al McGuire Center at Marquette University)
- South Regional: July 13-15 in Richmond, VA (The Siegel Center at VCU / Benedictine College Preparatory – Friday only)
- West Regional: July 13-15 in Los Angeles, CA (The Eagle’s Nest at California State University)
- Northeast Regional: July 20-22 in Brooklyn, NY (Steinberg Wellness Center at LIU)
- Midwest Regional: July 20-22 in Columbus, OH (The Capital Center at Capital University)
- Super 16: July 26-29 in Atlanta, GA (The Georgia State University Sports Arena)
- Semifinals and $2 Million Championship: August 2-3 in Baltimore, MD (The Fieldhouse at Morgan State University)
TBT features college alumni teams, international basketball stars, ex-NBA players, future NBA players and more competing in a single-elimination, 5-on-5 tournament, with a winner-take-all prize of $2 million. Fans share in the winning, too, as the top 201 fans of the winning team will share $200,000 of the prize. During the 2017-18 season, 16 players who competed in TBT 2017 signed deals with NBA teams. In all, more than 60 players with NBA experience are set to be involved in this year’s tournament, including multiple former lottery picks and All-Stars with 11 NBA championships between them. In addition, 21 players competing in this year’s tournament competed in NCAA basketball this past season. Highlights of this year’s tournament include:
- Overseas Elite, the three-time defending TBT champions, will put its undefeated 19-0 record on the line in 2018, led by two-time TBT MVP Kyle Fogg and an all-star supporting cast.
- Team Challenge ALS, last year’s runners-up, return with a stronger squad. The team is playing to raise awareness for ALS research on behalf of GM and player Sean Marshall’s college roommate, Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball player who initiated the Ice Bucket Challenge.
- Indiana Pacers standout Darren Collision will return to coach Team ALS, the top seed in the West
- Former National Player of the Year and 10th overall pick Jimmer Fredette will play for Team Fredette in the Midwest after coaching last year
- 4x All-Star and 2008 NBA Champion Rajon Rondo will organize and coach Team Rondo in the Midwest
- NBA veteran and 2017 NBA Champion Matt Barnes will play for Sons of Westwood, the UCLA alumni team, in the West
- Former 4th overall pick Eddy Curry will play with Charlotte Chess Center in the Midwest
- Former 7th overall pick Tim Thomas will serve as coach and GM of The Tim Thomas Playaz in the Northeast
- Former NBA All-Star Josh Howard will play for Wake the Nation, the Wake Forest alumni team, in the South
- 10-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony will once again partner with TBT on its championship event in Baltimore
- Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore will serve as host/ambassador for the Super 16 round in Atlanta
- Jourdan Grant of the UMBC team that defeated top overall seed Virginia in the 2018 NCAA tournament will be playing for the Hilltop Dawgs, a UMBC alumni team
- Big X, a Big 10 All-Star squad, features 6 recent graduates from Ohio State and Michigan, as well as players from Wisconsin and Illinois