Basketball is officially back on July 4. No, it’s not college hoops or the NBA, but The Basketball Tournament will return with a fully quarantined, 24-team bracket that will be played over 10 days in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State’s alumni team, Carmen’s Crew, will look to defend its title as the No. 1 seed, and Overseas Elite reloads with a seven-time NBA All-Star after having its four-year championship run snapped last summer. Add nine other college basketball alumni squads, and the event is once again loaded with quality rosters and well-known names chasing the $1 million, winner-take-all prize.
With the full bracket unveiled on Tuesday, we break down every squad before the single-elimination tourney starts on ESPN.
No. 1 seed: Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alumni)
Carmen’s Crew will return most of its roster from last year’s title team, including reigning TBT MVP William Buford, Aaron Craft and David Lighty. In what might be their final appearance in the event before Craft heads to medical school, coach Jared Sullinger’s group has a beefed-up squad featuring the enormous addition of former Michigan point guard Trey Burke.
No. 2 seed: Overseas Elite
Seeking revenge for its only loss in TBT, Overseas Elite added former 18-year NBA veteran Joe Johnson and former Sacramento Kings guard Pooh Jeter to the most experienced core in the event’s history. With two-time TBT MVP D.J. Kennedy still on the roster and $7 million in winnings to its name, an argument could be made that Overseas Elite is the true favorite.
No. 3 seed: Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse alumni)
If there’s one team that could overtake the two heavyweights at the top of the bracket, Boeheim’s Army stands out as that contender. Eric Devendorf and Brandon Triche are back for another go-around, but what makes this alumni unit so dangerous is the younger legs of NBA first-round picks Chris McCullough and Tyler Lydon and 2016 NCAA tournament legend Malachi Richardson.
No. 4 seed: Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni)
Can the Golden Eagles finally get over the hump? After making the title game in 2019, the Marquette alumni team returns with a similar core, spotlighted by 2013 French Pro A Foreign MVP Dwight Buycks and former LA Clippers forward Jamil Wilson. The unit could be more well-rounded than ever, with the additions of Luke Fischer and Darius Johnson-Odom.
No. 5 seed: Eberlein Drive
The 2018 runner-up will be without its best player and star guard Jerome Randle because of injury but still possesses a deep, skilled roster that features five players with NBA experience. While LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant and Tim Quarterman are the top names to know, don’t forget about the always competitive and entertaining J.P. Macura.
No. 6 seed: Challenge ALS
With EuroLeague veterans plus Darren Collison roaming the sideline, Challenge ALS will be a dangerous threat. Former Long Beach State and Philadelphia 76ers guard Casper Ware leads a group that includes Boston College’s Tyrese Rice and MarQuez Haynes.
No. 7 seed: The Money Team
After linking up with Floyd Mayweather Jr., the squad formerly known as Team Fredette will be anchored by three players with NBA experience: Tony Wroten, Willie Reed and Austin Daye. But the big question and the ultimate decider of this unit’s fate will be if Jimmer Fredette opts to suit up after taking a year off.
No. 8 seed: Red Scare (Dayton alumni)
Although Obi Toppin won’t be walking through the door, the Flyers’ alumni squad will be fresh off a TBT Regional Final appearance in 2019. Red Scare combines a trio of talents from Dayton’s 2014 Elite 8 squad, including star Dyshawn Pierre, and two critical role players, Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers, from the top-10 team this past season.
No. 9 seed: Big X
A second Ohio State alumni unit? It sure has the makings of one, as Kaleb and Andre Wesson join Keyshawn Woods, C.J. Jackson and team organizer Andrew Dakich to form a potent bunch. Adding former Michigan State center Nick Ward will give Big X much-needed size and toughness as the team attempts to improve on consecutive second-round appearances.
No. 10 seed: Best Virginia (West Virginia alumni)
Two stars off West Virginia’s 2010 Final Four team return to TBT as Kevin Jones and Da’Sean Butler try to help the roster advance beyond the second round. Though Bob Huggins won’t be coaching his one-time charges, Best Virginia will have some recent familiar names in Daxter Miles Jr. and Jaysean Paige.
No. 11 seed: Team Hines
Led by Kyle Hines — the only American to win four EuroLeague titles — the No. 11 seed is made up of some of the top talents in Europe’s elite basketball league. Hines is joined by former Memphis Grizzlies playmaker Nick Calathes and the always consistent Ethan Happ, but they won’t have Mike James, who produced the second-most assists per game in TBT last summer.
No. 12 seed: Team Brotherly Love
Despite a roster short on big names, Team Brotherly Love cruised to a surprise appearance in the quarterfinals of last year’s event. With Rider’s Novar Gadson and Drexel’s Samme Givens back after they both averaged nearly 18 points per game in 2019, this Philadelphia-based squad is ready to squash its rather low seed.
No. 13 seed: Team CP3
After reaching the Greensboro Regional Final in 2019, Chris Paul‘s squad returns, with the majority of his roster consisting of former members of the point guard’s AAU program. UNC’s Kennedy Meeks and P.J. Hairston join Maryland’s Dez Wells as Team CP3 tries to exceed expectations in its second year in TBT.
No. 14 seed: Team Heartfire
Looking for a potential Cinderella story in your bracket? Team Heartfire could be one to watch, as it features former Baylor gems Isaiah Austin and Quincy Miller. With NBA second-round pick Branden Dawson also a member of the roster, legendary Valparaiso head coach and Hall of Fame inductee Homer Drew has a lot of length, rim protection and athleticism at his disposal.
No. 15 seed: Armored Athlete
Armored Athlete reached at least the Super 16 for four straight years before falling in the second round last year. Former NBA guards Dominique Jones and Courtney Fortson spotlight a roster that features former Florida State big man Michael Ojo and 2015 NBA second-round pick Cady Lalanne.
No. 16 seed: House of ‘Paign (Illinois alumni)
House of ‘Paign is another sleeper to look out for, as it possesses two-time All-Big Ten second-teamer Malcolm Hill and recent graduates Andres Feliz and Leron Black. The non-Illinois alumni put this team over the top, though. Mike Daum, the seventh-leading scorer in NCAA history, and Texas Tech’s Matt Mooney are two players who could give this unit an extra boost in its first year.
No. 17 seed: War Tampa
Experience matters, and this squad has plenty of it. Rebranding from Tampa 20/20, War Tampa has combined stars from Auburn’s 2019 Final Four team, Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer, with the NCAA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, Fletcher Magee, and two-time college hoops champion Walter Hodge.
No. 18 seed: Power of the Paw (Clemson alumni)
It’s no secret that as the top two scorers on Clemson in 2018, Marcquise Reed and Gabe DeVoe were a huge reason that the Tigers advanced to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. This summer, the two alumni rejoin Power of the Paw as they try to bring their college success to TBT alongside role players Elijah Thomas and Donte Grantham.
No. 19 seed: Men of Mackey (Purdue alumni)
They won’t have the power of Mackey Arena behind them, but Purdue’s alumni team features several recent graduates, including Isaac Haas and sharpshooter Ryan Cline. How much noise can it make in its TBT debut? Well, that might depend on if the team can land two big fish: Dakota Mathias and Vince Edwards.
No. 20 seed: Mid-American Unity
The MAC representatives are back after being eliminated in the second round in 2019. Mid-American Unity will be led by Romeo Travis, an Akron graduate and former teammate of LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
No. 21 seed: Stillwater Stars (Oklahoma State alumni)
Spotlighted by former Brooklyn Nets guard Markel Brown, 3-point sniper Phil Forte and the versatile Le’Bryan Nash, the Stillwater Stars have more talent than their seed would indicate. As another first-year entrant, Oklahoma State’s alumni will attempt to make waves as the second Big 12 squad in the bracket.
No. 22 seed: Sideline Cancer
Despite stunning both Kansas and Wichita State alumni squads in 2019, Sideline Cancer checks in as the No. 23 seed. Will the magic strike again for this unit? That will be up to whether Indiana’s Maurice Creek — the sixth-leading scorer last summer — and Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene can star for the second straight campaign. Add former Magic forward Jamel Artis, and this team will be no slouch in the Round of 24.
No. 23 seed: Herd That (Marshall alumni)
If you’re looking for scoring, Herd That is the group to watch. The Marshall alumni team might not be blessed with an easy draw, but it won’t be lacking entertainment value, thanks to the presence of 2018 NCAA tournament hero Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks.
No. 24 seed: Jackson TN Underdawgs
Made up of State Farm agents and long-haul truckers, Jackson TN Underdawgs rely heavily on scoring machine Jaylen Barford. The Arkansas talent averaged 24 points per game in 2019 while helping lead his roster to an unexpected berth in the quarterfinals. If the Underdawgs are to make the semifinals for the first time in their TBT history, some consistent sidekicks will be necessary for Barford.