The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is back, and 64 teams are vying for the chance to win one million dollars. The action for the fans this year includes the official TBT Bracket Contest where the winner will pull down one bitcoin! Let’s break down some of the top seeds in each region and a few sleepers that could make some noise in the summer tournament. Here is the best breakdown of the best picks to make a run deep run in the TBT bracket.
#1 Eberlein Drive
One of the inaugural TBT teams is back and looking to finally get over the hump to a TBT championship. Eberlein Drive has always been a competitor in the tournament with a runner-up finish in 2018. Unfortunately, we have not seen this team compete since 2019 because they were forced to withdrew due to a positive COVID test in the 2020 tournament. However, I love their chances to continue to be a good team with a pair of star Kentucky guards in Archie Goodwin and Marquis Teague. They also bring back a former NBA Slam Dunk champion, Jeremy Evans who will definitely bring a lot of energy and power into that frontcourt.
As the home team in this region, the AfterShocks will have a significant advantage. Not to mention former Missouri Valley Conference tournament MVP, Conner Frankamp is a guy that the rim just seems to be a lot larger for. He can shoot the lights out as he finished their first TBT game with 23 points and five three-pointers. The Wichita State Alumni team is also welcoming in former team-leading scorer forward Markis McDuffie who averaged 18 points in his senior season. This mix of TBT vets from that first year, new dynamic playmakers, and the addition of fans can propel the Aftershocks into a nice run in the region.
#4 LA Cheaters
Casper Ware Sr.’s LA Cheaters is a team that I think could be seeded a little higher in the tournament. This team comprised of a lot of Drew League talent has a lot of NBA-level pedigree to be dangerous in the tournament. Casper Ware Jr. and the former No. 2 overall NBA draft pick Derrick Williams are staples for this L.A. team. They also have ELITE shooting coming from former ½ member of the Santa Cruz Splash Brothers, Mychel Thompson (Klay Thompson’s older brother). If this L.A. Cheaters team is going to do one thing, then they are going to put up a boatload of points. And they are going to be looking for revenge in a potential quarterfinal matchup against No.1 seed Eberlein Drive. I love this team’s chances to win this entire region and make a run deep into the tournament.
Sleeper Alert: #14 We are D3
We are D3’s 0-2 TBT record does not give enough credit to what this team has done in the tournament. In 2018, they gave a Sons of Westwood team everything they could handle in the first half before getting blown out in the second half. They then came back the next year and took a Boeheim’s Army team to the wire losing on a late free throw. As D3 players this team has so much to prove to themselves. They have a running green light with five guys that shoot over 40% from three. Devaughn Rucker brings explosiveness to the frontcourt of a particularly small unit. They are led by Eric Demers who is a former NCAA leading scoring with 32 points per game. There are not many teams that can match the offensive firepower this D3 team brings and I fully expect them to finally break out and make a nice run deep into the bracket at TBT this year.
West Virginia Region
#1 Sideline Cancer
Sideline Cancer was last year’s TBT runner up and they are going to have an uphill battle in the tournament this year. Their star player Marcus Keene will not be joining them for the tournament this year. A huge blow to this team, however, I am not quick to write them off yet. They still have Mo Creek who was huge to this team in the tournament last year. He will have to put up an otherworldly performance to pull them out of the region, but I know he is very much capable. I expect everyone to step up and make this team still a very tough out.
#2 Best Virginia
Best Virginia probably profiles as one of the best defensive teams in the tournament. Should not expect anything less from players that played for the great Bob Huggins. This team is full of talent starring veterans Kevin Jones and John Flowers. Former Big 12 Sixth man of the year Tarik Phillips and two-time All-Big 12 first team Juwan Staten look to elevate this squad with their ability to score the ball. With Sideline Cancer losing Marcus Keene, Best Virginia profiles as potentially the best team in the region. And with the home crowd on their side, I love the opportunity they have on their side of the bracket at TBT.
#3 Herd That
Herd That should have just as much as a competitive advantage playing in the West Virginia region as Best Virginia does. And they will be joined by JaCorey Williams, who was assumed to leave Herd That to play for the Arkansas alumni team. Instead, he is back and is an absolute pain to guard. Not to mention the pesky Elmore brothers would provide a huge boost to this team offensively. They have the ability to score from anywhere (and I mean anywhere) on the floor and they have to be determined to make a strong run in their home state. We could be in store for a Best Virginia and Herd That battle in West Virginia of epic proportion before we get the quarterfinals of the TBT bracket.
Sleeper Alert: #7 D2
This squad of D2 players has proven time and time again to be very dangerous in the tournament. They came into the TBT and make a huge statement by knocking off a very good team filled of Kentucky Alumni by 15 points. Then returned to almost knock off a very good Big X team. Now they come into the tournament with more notoriety as a very good team, but they still have a chip on their shoulders. Jonathan Dunn is a huge addition to this D2 squad. Not only did he average 25 points in his senior season, but he was incredibly efficient. That same season he shot 52% from the field and 46% from the three. His scoring will be an incredible asset to this D2 team that is full of stars and looking to make some noise.
#1 Carmen’s Crew
Jared Sullinger leads his coveted Carmen’s Crew into another season as head coach. The former champs are a consistent favorite to win the tournament and this year is no different. David Lightly and William Buford will be heavy hitters that will give opposing defenses the runs. They also added a very good big man in Julian Mavunga who averaged 20 points playing overseas. This team has always been talented and will control their own destiny throughout the region. This team has the championship pedigree to make a run to Dayton and even the championship game.
#2 Red Scare
Red Scare is right. This Dayton Alumni team is very scary. They are a good blend of the best recent years of Dayton basketball and had teams on edge last year in the TBT bubble. Veteran Devin Oliver is one of the team’s leading scorers and looks to usher this team into another nice run in this region. They have a huge amount of motivation as the TBT championship series at the end of the bracket will be located in Dayton, OH. That extra motivation is going to come in handy if they find themselves running into Carmen’s Crew. But best believe that this Dayton team is not afraid of any team in the field.
#4 Team Hines
There is no debating that Kyle Hines is one of the most decorated international pro basketball players ever. And he has assembled a deep, talented roster this year to hopefully make a strong case to win this region. He has recruited the likes of former first-round pick John Jenkins, who was one of the top shooters in the nation at Vanderbilt. He is deadly from the three-point line and will certainly command a lot of attention from their opponents. This team is extremely loaded and referring to them as a four seed might be sleeping on them. Team Hines has a good chance as any of the top teams to walk away with a million dollars in Dayton.
Sleeper Alert: #7 Wolf Blood
Wolf Blood has everything it takes to be a serious threat to this region. Ex-NBA player C.J. Williams will look to lead this team a studded NC State Alumni team into their first TBT tournament experience. They have sharpshooter Scott Wood and former All-ACC Trevor Lacey will surely bring some dynamic playmaking to this squad. They are a deeper sleeper for me to actually make it out of this region because of how top-heavy it is, however, I expect them to impress us all during their run through the TBT bracket.
#1 Boeheim’s Army
Boeheim’s Elite or Overseas Army? This team might have made the biggest splash this tournament by adding former champions with Overseas Elite DeAndre Kane and D.J. Kennedy, the G.O.A.T. of TBT. In an absolute stunner move, the Syracuse Alumni team has pushed all of their chips into the center. The public’s odds-on favorite to win the tournament has to be the most dangerous three seed. From CJ Fair to Tyrese Rice to Chris McCullough to Tyler Lydon, this team is completely loaded. They are going to be an incredibly tough out in the tournament. But even though they have had great teams in the past, they have been unable to take home the big prize.
#2 Golden Eagles
Amazing how the defending champions are now being overlooked in the region. However, adding DJ Kennedy to your team will steal headlines. This team will be looking to remind everyone exactly why they are the reigning champions. They return a large part of that 2020 TBT bubble team, including Travis Diener who hit the Elam ending championship game-winner. Dwight Buycks and Jamil Wilson also are returning which adds to the danger that this Golden Eagles team can impose on even a team like Boeheim’s Army. This team is not going to lie down, and they have full expectations to defend their title and become the only other team besides Overseas Elite to become back-to-back champs.
#3 House of ‘Paign
Fresh off their first year in the TBT, House of ‘Paign looks to build upon that exciting entrance. They dominated a good War Tampa team and dethroned the defending champions in Carmen’s Crew. Andres Feliz, Brandon Paul, and Demetri McCamey have the makings to be one of the top backcourts in all of TBT. And the legendary Mike Daum is possibly one of the top five best players in the entire tournament. Then add on top of that that they are the home team for this region and I am getting jitters about this team’s ability to put another great run together through the TBT bracket.
Final Four Picks
#4 LA Cheaters
Although this 64-team field is loaded with talent only four can make it to the final four. LA Cheaters have the talent on their team to win the entire tournament. They have an uphill battle with possible clashes with an extremely good Florida TNT squad and Eberlein’s Drive before the quarterfinal game but I like the Cheaters as a team to shock most into a final four run.
#3 Herd That
West Virginia is not only the home region of Best Virginia. I fully expect Marshall fans to be in full attendance as this team makes a run to win this region. They can hit from anywhere on the floor and I always love the little brother in a potential third-round intrastate matchup. I also believe that the absence of Marcus Keene could affect Sideline Cancer more than we think.
#1 Carmen’s Crew
No surprise here. The former TBT champs are really good. #Analysis. Red Scare and Team Hines pose serious threats in this region. However, I think Carmen’s Crew is looking to bounce back from their upset to House of ‘Paign in the TBT bubble and cut down the nets.
#1 Boeheim’s Army
Again no surprise here. This team has the biggest hype coming into the tournament for good reason. They have the talent to back it up. Adding a couple of tournament champions to your roster will definitely boost your chances. They also have a tall order with the Golden Eagles and House of ‘Paign. I do believe, however, that they live up to the hype and make it out of their bracket to the TBT final four.