The first weekend of the 2019 iteration of The Basketball Tournament comes to an end today with the first four regional final games. The winners of today’s games will advance to the quarterfinals in Chicago on August 1st and 2nd. On top of that, as regional winners, they’ll take home 25% of the ticket sales for their region. For the Columbus region, for example, that means somewhere north of $11,000, as that’s where it was sitting for pre-sale tickets back on July 17th. I am sure today’s broadcasts will be more than happy to tell you how much the winners will take with them, as TBT has a payment sponsorship with Zelle.
As far as basketball goes, only the Greensboro regional is turning out the way the seeding expected. That’s not a terrible surprise, to be honest. This is TBT, and you have to be ready to go 100% of the time. The $2 million winner take all prize isn’t on the line until the title game, but you can’t get to the title game unless you win your first five games. To a certain extent, there’s $2 million on the line in every game.
In Greensboro, it was Mike James with 25 points, seven rebounds, and two assists leading #1 seed Team Hines into the finals matchup against #2 seed and host Team CP3. The alumni of Chris Paul’s grassroots team got 16 points from PJ Hairston and a 14 point, 15 rebound double-double from Kennedy Meeks to scoot past Power of the Paw, the Clemson alumni team, 73-68.
The Elam Ending was a major factor in Columbus, as Red Scare fended off SEVEN possessions by Mid-American Unity with a chance to win before ending up with the 80-78 victory. Even better? The winning bucket came on a tip dunk.
The Memphis region continued to make absolutely no sense. #8 seed Jackson TN wrecked #5 seed Southern Gentlemen, 103-78, in the semis, while #6 Louisiana United knocked down #2 seed and host team Bluff City, which is the Memphis alumni team, by a score of 80-78. It was Tyren Johnson nailing a triple to jump past the former Tigers and put LU into the regional final.
We wrap up with the Lexington region, where Marquette alumnus Darius Johnson-Odom played a big role in top seed Loyalty Is Love getting to the title game. DJO had 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting along with two rebounds, two assists, and a steal as LIL beat KBC, 91-80. They’ll face #3 seed Fort Wayne Champs with the regional title on the line after FWC rallied from down 11 to beat #7 seed D2, 83-81.
All times Central
COLUMBUS REGIONAL FINAL
11am: #1 Carmen’s Crew vs #3 Red Scare, ESPN
LEXINGTON REGIONAL FINAL
1pm: #1 Loyalty Is Love vs #3 Fort Wayne Champs, ESPN
GREENSBORO REGIONAL FINAL
2pm: #1 Team Hines vs #2 Team CP3, ESPN3
MEMPHIS REGIONAL FINAL
2pm: #6 Louisiana United vs #8 Jackson TN, ESPN3