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Marquette Will Host A Big East Pod Of 2018’s The Basketball Tournament

Well, that explains why there hasn’t been a push to vote with just days left to go.

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Marquette men’s basketball
Jerel McNeal returns to TBT action in 2018.

Have you been wondering what’s up with Marquette‘s entry into the 2018 iteration of The Basketball Tournament? The deadline to vote for teams in the $2 million winner-take-all event is coming up fast on June 1st, and there’s been no push from the team’s social media to vote for them. In fact, as of Thursday morning, there were only four players listed on the team page, and you need seven to be an eligible squad.

Well, all questions have been answered.

Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the scoop as Marquette will be hosting a four-team TBT pod at the Al McGuire Center on June 30th and July 1. That pod will be made up of four Big East alumni teams, including Georgetown, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and, of course, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles. All four teams have been granted automatic/at-large bids into the Northeast Region of TBT, and the winner of the four-team pod will earn a spot in the Northeast’s Super 16 round.

Here’s the quotes from TBT founder Jon Mugar, explaining how this came together:

“The Big East Conference approached us in our off-season,” TBT founder Jon Mugar said Thursday. “Just sort of kicking the tires. They’ve noticed how well the Marquette alumni team has done over the past couple of years in TBT and they’ve seen some other Big East teams participate.

”They viewed TBT as a property that’s still young but definitely growing at a rapid pace in the summer basketball landscape. We started talking about different ways in which we could potentially partner on a more formal Big East alumni arrangement.”

As of this writing, it appears that the Georgetown, Seton Hall, and St. John’s teams have not even set up a page on TBT’s website, so we can’t tell you right now which players will be coming to Milwaukee. They do have names and logos if you go check out TBT’s press release on the news. What we can do, though, is pass along which seven Marquette alumni are committed to playing right now.

  • Jerel McNeal
  • Travis Diener
  • Jamil Wilson
  • Matt Carlino
  • Dwight Burke
  • Maurice Acker
  • Trend Blackledge

It will be the first TBT for both Diener and Carlino, while the remaining guys have been on the roster for Marquette in the past. The team will be coached by Joe Chapman, which is a change from the past two years, when Wesley Matthews was on the sidelines for the Golden Eagles. Dwight Buycks is the most notable name missing from the roster after the past two seasons, but his participation has been in doubt since the Pistons elevated his two-way contract to a full NBA contract in January.

The first nine roster spots are free until June 1st, so the MU squad still has space to add guys over the next week. Past that, it costs $1,000 to add someone to the roster.

The games at the McGuire Center are scheduled for 2pm and 4pm on June 30th and 1pm on July 1st. Tickets go on sale to Marquette season ticket holders at 10am on Friday, which is less than 20 hours away by the time you’re reading this. Single day tickets will be $15 for adults and $5 for children and college students, while a three-game full session pass is $25 for adults and $7 for children and college students.

The Marquette alumni team was the #1 seed in the Midwest region in 2017, but lost in the regional finals to Scarlet & Gray, the Ohio State alumni team. The Golden Eagles Alumni were the #6 seed in 2016 and advanced to the regional finals that year as well before falling to Always A Brave, the team of Bradley alumni.