On Friday night, Golden Eagles, the MU alumni team, took to Twitter to announce that the squad will officially be a part of the 2019 edition of TBT. The Basketball Tournament’s own social media team doubled up on the announcement shortly thereafter.
BREAKING NEWS : After reaching the semifinals last summer, @GoldenEaglesTBT has announced that they are BACK for #TBT2019.— TBT (@thetournament) May 4, 2019
Now that he has some free time, will we see @DwyaneWade back in Blue and Gold this summer?!? #YourTeamsYourTournament pic.twitter.com/o87p9kmGSU
After consecutive trips to TBT’s quarterfinals in 2016 and 2017, Golden Eagles busted through to the semifinals last season. However, they ran into the buzzsaw known as Overseas Elite in the semis, rallying from down 22 in the first quarter to down just eight at the start of the fourth before taking an 85-60 loss. OE would go on to win their fourth straight TBT title, winning the $2 million winner-take-all prize and running their winning streak to 25 straight in the annual summer event.
There’s not officially a Golden Eagles team page on TBT’s website, so I can only presume that this means that the MU team has bypassed any of this year’s voting or campaigning or whatever have you that will lead to the formation of the 64 team field. As you might expect for this event, they’ve changed up the format evvvvver so slightly for 2019. There are eight regional hosts this year, with all eight getting automatic entry to the field.
Those eight are, going east to west: Ram Nation (VCU alumni), Team CP3, Boheim’s Army (Syracuse alumni), Ohio State Alumni, Bluegrass Boys (Kentucky alumni), Memphis Alumni, AfterShocks (Wichita State alumni), and Team Fredette. Sorry/not sorry, West Coast ballers. If you want into the field, you gotta travel east to at least as far as Salt Lake City.
Each of the eight regions will host seven games on one of two weekends in mid-July, whittling a group of eight teams down to a regional champion. All eight regional champions advance to what they’re calling “Championship Weekend” in Chicago, but it’s actually six straight days of games from August 1st through August 6th. That really makes it Championship Week, but it is from Friday through Wednesday, so whatever they want to call it is fine, I guess.
In addition to the regional hosts, there are buy-in slots available for each of the regions. The Greensboro spot is already occupied by Florida TNT, and Team DRC snapped up the Columbus spot just this week. Six of those spots are still available with a month left to go. Tampa 20/20 has already gained what we’ll call “at-large” entry to the tournament, along with Purple & Black, a Kansas State alumni team, and Red Scare, a Dayton alumni team.
The Elam Ending will return for TBT in 2019, albeit with a couple of changes. First, the Target Score will be eight points higher than the score of the team in the lead when the Ending is triggered, as opposed to seven points like it was last year. Second, if a foul that would incur free throws is the triggering moment for the Ending, the free throws will be shot before the Target Score is set. Here’s Elam Ending creator Nick Elam talking about the changes.
Have you heard?! The @ElamEnding is BACK for #TBT2019 with a couple of small changes.— TBT (@thetournament) April 15, 2019
▪️The target score will be set by adding +8 (instead of +7).
▪️If free throws trigger the Elam Ending, they will be taken BEFORE we set the target score.
Nick Elam breaks it down ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/gBEsQrxttW
There’s a lot of questions yet to be answered for Golden Eagles. What region will they be in? When will that region be played? Who will be on the roster? Do we, as fans, actually need to do anything to make sure that the team is in the field? Keep your eyes pointed at the Twitter machine, specifically @GoldenEaglesTBT and @TheTournament, for updates as we get closer and closer to June.