With over 1,200 votes in hand, the team of Marquette Golden Eagles alumni are officially a part of the 2017 edition of The Basketball Tournament.
Golden Eagles (which is the official name now, not Golden Eagles Alumni like last year) finished second in the Midwest Region voting to Hilton Magic Legends, a team of Iowa State alumni. Here’s the full rundown on the nine teams that qualified for the Midwest Region by way of voting:
1 - Hilton Magic Legends (Iowa State alumni)
2 - Golden Eagles
3 - Jackson TN Underdawgs
4 - Mid American Unity
5 - Scarlet & Gray (Ohio State alumni)
6 - Fort Wayne Champs
7 - Banner Boys (UWM alumni)
8 - HBC
9 - The Region
Those nine squads will be joined by Always A Brave, the team of Bradley University alumni, who are the defending Midwest Region champions. You might remember AAB from last year’s regional championship game when they defeated the Golden Eagles. AAB and Bradley University are also the hosts for the first two rounds of this year’s Midwest Region games. Those games will be played on July 15th and 16th in Peoria, Illinois.
It’s worth noting that there’s going to be some teams in the Northeast, South, and West regions that are going to be slightly annoyed at how the voting went in the Midwest. Only the top three teams in the region picked up more than 1,000 votes, while each of the other three had at least 10 hitting that mark. The South Region had 12 teams get to at least 1,000 votes, which means that there are at least three teams over there that are not guaranteed spots in the field, but would have been in cleanly if they were Midwest teams. Them’s the breaks, I guess.
There are five more teams that will be added to the Midwest Region as at-large qualifiers. There are no hard and fast rules as to how you earn an at-large berth, as it’s entirely up to TBT staff to add them to the field. I would presume that Purple And Black, the Kansas State alums, would have a pretty good shot at a spot, as would Midwest Dream Squad, since they have Derrick Rose as a booster.
You’ll notice that only adds up to 15, and since it’s a 64 team tournament, the region needs 16 teams. The final squad will make it into the Midwest Region by winning the 2017 TBT Jamboree. Four teams will pay $5,000 in order to play a two day tournament on June 17-18 in Philadelphia with a spot in the Midwest Region on the line. The Jamboree will be streamed live on ESPN3, games will be decided using The Elam Ending (more on that in this week’s AE Mailbag), and the winner gets their $5K back. As of right now, no one has actually signed up for one of the four spots in the Midwest, but I imagine that will change once the at-large berths are decided.