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TBT 2020 Recap

TBT 2020 lived up to the hype and served as an oasis in the middle of the sports desert during a tumultuous year. The tournament showed us that with a strict quarantine bubble and vigorous testing, sports can still take place even during a pandemic.

It was a pleasure to be granted media access to The TBT, and I am forever grateful for being able to get a close look at how sports media works. (Mostly via Zoom)

This post is a quick shoutout to the two teams who made the deep run to the title match, and a short video of some of the action that took place late in the tournament.

The Champs

The tournament delivered high-quality play and compelling storylines that captivated the attention of the basketball world for a “March Madness” like atmosphere in the middle of July.

Rising out of the madness were the Marquette Golden Eagles Alumni, who, behind Tournament MVP Darius Johnson-Odom, downed Sideline Cancer 78-73 in the title game and won the $1,000,000 prize.

The Golden Eagles Alumni (pic by Ben Solomon)

The Golden Eagles boasted four players with NBA experience. (Darius Johnson-Odom, Dwight Buycks, Travis Diener, and Jamil Wilson)

Experience at the highest level of basketball is what proved to be the difference as they remained cool, calm, and collective down the stretch.

The Golden Eagles also did a phenomenal job of holding Sideline Cancer’s leading scorer Marcus Keene to only 6 points on the night, a reward that validates the aggressive defensive scheme that was stressed the whole game.

We witnessed a great run from the Golden Eagles, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they will defend their title in TBT 2021.

Sideline Cancer

The TBT 2020 runner-up is first in the hearts of many.

Sideline Cancer represents the Greg and Kathy Griffith Family Foundation, a foundation dedicated to eradicating pancreatic cancer.

This incredibly talented team played for a great cause, and for their late teammate Jermaine Marshall.

You could notice their extra motivation, the backstory of the team struck an emotional cord as they delivered a magical run to the title game.

Marcus Keene, Mo Creek, and Remy Abell hit huge shots the whole tournament, and the team looked resilient after losing former Maryland big man Diamond Stone in the first game.

Through all the ups and downs, this team clawed and fought every single time they stepped on the floor.

I look to see them making noise yet again deep into TBT 2021.

TBT Highlight Mix

The Tournament: An Introduction

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BASKETBALL IS BACK ON ESPN JULY 4th.

The Basketball Tournament, also known as the TBT, tips off this weekend on ESPN, so I wanted to quickly catch you all up to speed before the teams hit the floor in Columbus.

The TBT is an open 24-team tournament, with a winner-take-all prize of $1,000,000. The TBT has grown substantially in interest and talent over its 7 years of existence, all while giving fans the intensity of the NCAA March Madness single-elimination style.

My favorite thing about the TBT is the talent pool the players come from. The talent in the tournament ranges from players who have “Elite” overseas and NBA experience to even a team full of D2 legends.

The range of talent displayed is amazing because it highlights how great a player must be to succeed at higher levels of the sport, which is something I feel most fans don’t understand when they decide to flip on a game.

The TBT TV schedule as found on the TBT website

To qualify for tournament selection, teams have to fill out an application, and based on multiple criteria (including fanbase support), they are chosen to participate. Once selected and entered into the pool, the bracket is made, and the fun begins.

TBT 2020 will look a little different with only 24 teams. (The TBT had 72 teams in 2018 and 64 teams in 2019)

The Elam Ending

The Elam Ending is what truly separates The Tournament from any other basketball competition on the planet.

The Elam Ending was implemented for TBT 2017.

The Elam Ending was created by Nick Elam, a professor who dedicated his time to figure out how end-of-game situations could move away from late-game fouling. (Fun Fact: Intentionally fouling as the trailing team in a basketball game works roughly 1.5 percent of the time)

The ending starts at the 4-minute mark of the 4th quarter.

First, the game clock is shut off. Next, a target score of 8 points more than the current score of the leading team is set. (Ex. if a game is 60-50, a target score of 68 ends the game)

The first team to reach the target score wins, and the game has to end on a made basket.

The NBA adopted a variation of this rule in the 2020 All-Star Game.

District of Buckets and the TBT

For TBT 2020 District of Buckets has received online media day access to 4 teams.

Herd That- Marshall University Alumni

Men of Mackey- Purdue University Alumni

Stillwater Stars- Oklahoma State University Alumni

War Tampa- Players from the state of Florida and Auburn Alumni

Throughout the tournament (July 4th-July 14th), I am going to focus on these 4 teams. My goal is to highlight the best performances each team has on the court and focus on the playing careers of the players hunting for the glory of the $1,000,000 prize.

Basketball can’t get here soon enough.

More updates this weekend.