Sports are about to come roaring back into our lives as July comes around. The return to sports on American soil started with golf, soccer (NWSL and MLS) will be back before the end of June, and on America’s Birthday, we get the return of basketball. No, we are not talking about the NBA, they are not back until the end of July, we are talking about TBT (The Basketball Tournament).
For those of you uninitiated into the ways of TBT, it is a single-elimination winner-take-all tournament. The prize for 2020 is one million dollars and the whole tournament will take place in Columbus, Ohio from July 4-14 featuring 24 teams. Teams representing different cities, colleges, ideas, and charities will come together to compete for the grand prize and ultimate bragging rights. They use the NCAA rulebook, but have four quarters and utilize the Elam Ending. They actually were the first to use it before the NBA All-Star Game this year.
Are you a fan of the NCAA teams advancing their team on the giant bracket? That started in TBT. Puma Basketball’s resurgence? That started in TBT. Really, if you have not already been watching TBT, congrats, my 90-year-old grandmother watches it religiously and looks forward to it every year. That’s how out of touch you are, a 90-year-old woman who can barely boot up her computer is more informed about sports than you.
Since 2014, TBT has been an ever-expanding portion of the summer doldrums for sports fans. The Notre Dame Alumni team won the inaugural TBT in 2014, Overseas Elite won the 2015-2018 iterations and seemed like a dynasty of unbeatable proportions before being toppled by Carmen’s Crew, the Ohio State Alums, in 2019.
Who will hoist the giant check this year and gain bragging rights and some cash for their fans? Rosters might change heading into July 4, but here is a primer with everything you might need to know.
Check out our updated spreadsheet with every team’s roster: https://sg.pn/TBT-Rosters
#2 Overseas Elite
The dominant force in TBT has reloaded and should be considered favorites to push for their fifth title and payday. Featuring two-time TBT MVP DJ Kennedy, formerly of St. John’s and multiple overseas leagues, and Joe Johnson, yes that Joe Johnson.
Overseas is stacked around the perimeter between Johnson’s scoring chops, Kennedy’s do-it-all game and their size in the post with Auburn center Asauhn Tatum and St. John’s product Justin Burrell. Factor in the late addition of Jordan Crawford and his scoring prowess and you have a potent offense. If Coach Marc Hughes can keep his short bench fresh and remind his scorers they need to share the ball, Overseas Elite will be a contender in Columbus for sure.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) August 3, 2016
#1 Carmen’s Crew
Head Coach Jared Sullinger and the Ohio State alumni are stoked to defend their 2019 title in their home city. There will not be any fans in the stands, but Carmen’s Crew has reloaded and will be hungry to defend their title. With everyone’s favorite (maybe least favorite) scrapper Aaron Craft and 2019 TBT MVP William Buford returning, the Crew is in a prime position to repeat.
— Buckeye Videos+ (@BuckeyeVideos) August 4, 2019
#3 Boeheim’s Army
Even in TBT, Cuse is gonna Cuse. One of the most well-supported teams in TBT year in and year out, Boeheim’s Army will have to succeed this year without the crowd behind them. Seriously, go watch their old games and tell me each one does not look like an Orange home game.
This year’s BA team is stacked with a who’s who of recent Cuse stars and first-round picks donning the orange again. Final Four heroes Tyler Lydon and Malachi Richardson lead a youth movement for the Army, while deadly scorer Eric Devendorf is back to score at will again. Oh and Donté Green still has limitless range for a 6-9 guy with arms longer than Niagara Falls.
#4 Golden Eagles
Last year’s runners up are back to represent the blue and gold pride of Marquette. They fell to a determined Carmen’s Crew team in the championship, but are no slouches and consistently make a solid run each year in TBT.
The Golden Eagles bring overseas experience and TBT battle-tested players to the table, while they may not have any stars they are deep, talented, and a force to be reckoned with. Oh, and post-game legend Travis Diener is BACK!
— GOLDEN EAGLES (@GoldenEaglesTBT) June 12, 2020
#5 Eberlein Drive
Unlike the many alumni teams in TBT, there are some teams that are a collection of dudes who grew up together or just like playing with each other.
Eberlein Drive is one of those teams. Named for a street in Fraser, Michigan where their co-GM grew up, Eberlein Drive is led by NBA and G-League journeymen Tim Quarterman and Johnny O’Bryant III. Former Memphis star Adonis Thomas also adds length and punch to this potent team.
After improving each year from 2014-2018, Eberlein took a step back last year, falling in the Quarterfinals despite being a number one seed. Look for 2018 GM of the Year Matt Mitchell to have his rebuilt squad hungry and ready to make a run in Columbus.
#6 Challenge ALS
The last category of team in TBT are the charity teams. Team Challenge ALS has been a TBT fixture for several years and they come together to raise money to fight ALS. A feel-good story every year, these players band together and dedicate a portion of their winnings towards ALS related causes.
Challenge ALS has almost their entire team with overseas and TBT experience. GM Sean Marshall will be a key contributor for them, as he’s been since 2015. They are primed for another deep run like in 2017 when they lost in the championship game to Overseas Elite by three points.
Challenge ALS starting to pull away from Fort Hood. They've opened up a 58-39 lead with 4:00 left in the third quarter.
— TBT (@thetournament) July 14, 2018
The Solid Veterans
#15 Armored Athlete
Over their time in TBT, Armored Athlete has amassed the fourth-most wins. They have the size across their frontline to stifle opponents and dominate the glass this year.
Anchored at center with 6-10 Cady Lalanne (UMass) and 7-1 Michael Ojo (Florida State), Armored Athlete looks to win through rebounding. Throw in a bevy of experience from TBT and overseas all over the roster, Armored Athlete will be a tough out.
#24 Jackson TN UnderDawgs
Those scrappy ballers from Jackson, Tennessee embody the come-together-underdog-feel-good of this tournament. Last year, they went on a little run reaching the quarterfinals and pulling off a few upsets along the way, including a win over number-one seeded Gael Force.
Led by Jaylen Barford (Arkansas), Jackson scored 100+ points twice on their way to the quarterfinals. The UnderDawgs may not have a ton of size, but they have the heart and scoring ability to rip off some wins. Do not count them out just because they are the 24th seeded team.
#12 Brotherly Love
Philadelphia is represented by team Brotherly Love. With veteran Samme Givens leading the way, Brotherly Love will come ready to play each and every day. Novar Gadson brings length and scoring from the small forward position as well. With a little bit of inspiration from Rocky, Brotherly Love could make a nice run.
— TBT (@thetournament) July 27, 2019
#8 The Red Scare Team
Red Scare brings the scrappiness of Dayton to TBT. Every year in March Madness, it feels like Dayton is giving some major school a scare in the NCAA Tournament. Now all of those players have come to this tournament and are looking to scare the rest of the field as well.
With scorers like Kyle Davis and Dyshawn Pierre leading the way, these former Flyers will certainly have their opponents on edge. Red Scare also brought in reinforcements in recent Louisville grad Ryan McMahon and VCU star Justin Tillman to add even more scoring to their roster. Factor in that first-round bye and they get even more deadly in the tournament as a whole.
#11 Team Hines
This team is assembled and promoted by Euroleague star Kyle Hines and has size and experience across the board with Ricky Ledo, Ethan Happ, and Brandon Paul.
Presently Hines is not listed as a player, but he will most likely join the squad to provide depth and leadership. Factor in the size of Happ and Eric Griffin up front and they’re gonna be a tough out.
#9 Big X
Just in case you did not have enough Big Ten players in TBT, Andrew Dakich went and assembled a group of guys who did not have another alumni home. That includes several Ohio State alumni who did not make the cut for Carmen’s Crew. NBA G-Leaguer Vitto Brown brings high-level talent and experience to a talented group of former college players.
If Big X plays the Crew, it remains to be seen if former Buckeyes Andre Wesson, Kaleb Wesson, and Keyshawn Woods remain loyal to Big X or feel their hearts pulled towards the Crew.
Wild Card TBT Newcomers
#7 The Money Team
Floyd Mayweather is looking to expand his TMT brand into TBT. He did this by partnering with Team Fredette, yes that’s Fredette as in Jimmer now of the Phoenix Suns, and rebranding as The Money Team.
The question is how will the newly-minted TMT fair without their star in Jimmer. Tony Wroten brings NBA size and experience, but can Jordon Crawford (no not that one, the other one) do enough to spark a victory in their first year. UCLA guard Bryce Alford brings some strong experience to the table as well.
#17 Team WarTampa
We will put this team with the newcomers, despite having some TBT experience. The hybrid of Tampa guys and Auburn alumni should be one hell of a team to watch. They bring size across the board and if that translates to rebounds, they could clean up in Columbus.
With a core of Auburn players gaining a slew of talented Tampa players, look for Bryce Brown, Justin Gray, Walter Hodge, and the rest of WarTampa to be a tough out.
#13 Team CP3
Can Chris Paul get his first win as a GM in Columbus? In addition to having a big name as their GM, Team CP3 has a stacked roster. With Minnesota scorer Nate Mason and former Tar Heels Kennedy Meeks and PJ Hairston, CP3 has experience and firepower across the board. Hairston is one of the most-experienced NBA players playing in TBT, but will it translate into a more successful campaign in 2020?
Another charitable team, HeartFire is playing to support HeartFire Missions, an overseas humanitarian relief organization. HeartFire has former Baylor standout Isaiah Austin anchoring an experienced team that is playing for a good cause and has the talent to make noise. Quincy Miller and Brandon Wood also bring strong collegiate experience to the HeartFire squad.
#16 House of ‘Paign
The Illinois Alumni called in some reinforcements to build a strong front court that will try to dominate the boards in Columbus. Former Texas Tech guard Matt Mooney provides G-League experience and the ability to stretch the floor. Kyle Vinales is one of the non-Illinois players on this team and brings overseas experience that could provide a spark in the backcourt.
#18 Power of the Paw
Power of the Paw is back for their second year. They are looking to not just win their first game, but also make noise beyond their #18 seeding.
Forward Elijah Thomas brings ACC scoring and physicality in the frontcourt. Tevin Mack was a force in the backcourt during his one year at Clemson and brings a scoring touch as well. Add in non-Clemson reinforcements Trey Phills (Yale) and sparkplug Lew Stallworth (Citadel), you have a young and energetic squad that could win some games early.
Best of the Rest
#10 Playing for Jimmy V
Playing for Jimmy V is another cause-driven team that got the call to play after Best Virginia backed out of TBT. If they go on a run like their namesake Jimmy V’s NC State team, they will be fun to watch. Josh Perkins has G-League experience and every player has some solid college experience as well.
#22 Sideline Cancer
Sideline Cancer is here to win some basketball games and kick cancer’s ass. With a majority of their winnings pledged to charity, you want to pull for these guys.
They have scoring and experience all over the floor with Jamel Artis (Pitt) and Remy Abell (Xavier) ready to pour it on from the wings. Add in veteran Kevin Murphy who has played in nearly a dozen leagues, including the NBA, and you have a team that can really score.
#20 Mid American Unity
MACtion is back in TBT! While there may not be big-name talent on this roster, they are all professionals playing overseas. Unity brings athleticism and despite their apparent lack of length, they still have the ability to be physical inside. With a pair of Akron bigs in Romeo Travis and Demetrius Treadwell, Unity has a chance to catch some teams by surprise.
#21 Stillwater Stars
The Cowboys have arrived with a roster of young athletes who are hungry to prove they belong. Markel Brown looks to be the leader of this young team with his NBA experience in Brooklyn and Houston. Add in the smooth shooting of Phil Forte and Stillwater could sneak out a win or two.
#23 Herd That
The Marshall alumni have called in reinforcements from all over to beef up their frontline size with Jacorey Williams (Middle Tennessee), Ryan Luther (Arizona), Chris Cokley (UAB). Add in high-flying dunker Zach Smith (Texas Tech) and you have a scrappy team that will be a tough out. They might not win a game this year, but who knows, with a Matthew McConaughey speech they might pull out a “We are Marshall” moment.
#19 Men of Mackey
With so many schools from the Big Ten putting together alumni teams, it’s really a shame there won’t be fans there to go crazy. MoM has a deep team featuring PJ Thompson and Jonathan Octeus. These former Boilermakers have the talent to be respected. Factor in the size of Isaac Haas at 7-3 and the Men of Mackey could be feisty.
D2, enough said. A team composed entirely of former Division II stars could be a sneaky sleeper-pick if they get the call to step into the limelight. With so many players who play overseas and a large and talented coaching staff, it could be interesting to see these guys get a chance to run with the stars of the bigger schools.