THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT 2019
#1 Golden Eagles vs #8 Fort Hood Wounded Warriors
Your favorite Marquette Golden Eagles alumni team tips off their run at the $2 million prize at the end of the rainbow tonight in the 2019 iteration of The Basketball Tournament. Over the past few years, Golden Eagles has proved to be one of the more reliable quantities in TBT. They’ve reached the quarterfinals in every single tournament that they’ve entered, and advanced to the semifinals a year ago.
Now, with an eight region system, the MU alumni are the #1 seed in their eight team field in Wichita, Kansas. They’ll have to advance through a field that includes three potent alumni teams that will be happy to fill the building with fans if they want to advance to Wintrust Arena in Chicago for the quarterfinals this year.
Here’s what the Golden Eagles roster looks like this year:
Or, rather, that’s the roster that’s listed. The Marquette men’s basketball Twitter account posted a picture of the team after their final practice at the McGuire Center on Wednesday, and it appears that Anderson was not present. However, Jerel McNeal and Duane Wilson were in attendance for the picture, and Wesley Matthews and Jajuan Johnson were featured in pictures published as well. I’ll go ahead and guarantee you that Matthews will not be playing in TBT, not with his new contract with the Bucks, but as for the other three, I guess we’ll wait and see who head coach Joe Chapman has available to him at tipoff in Kansas.
As the #1 seed, Golden Eagles will be facing the #8 seed in the Wichita region, Fort Hood Wounded Warriors. According to their team page, it’s a group of childhood friends who all have one attachment or another to the United States military. As such, they’re playing to give back to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Here’s the names on their roster:
Ricardo Artis II
Acosta, Odomes, and Smallwood appear to be the only three Division 1 players on the roster. Smallwood averaged 11.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in four years at Northern Illinois. Acosta played one year at Florida A&M and two at Lamar, finishing with career averages of 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 79 games played. Odomes made 113 appearances for Oklahoma, wrapping up his college career this past season. He averaged 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists for the Sooners.
On paper, this appears to be a game that the Marquette alumni (and friends) should win. However, this is TBT. Weirdness happens. If you’re not ready to play from tip to Elam Ending, you can lose to anyone. It happens over and over and over again in this tournament.
The winner of this game will advance to Saturday’s regional final against either Team Colorado or Purple & Black. TC is, of course, primarily a group of Buffaloes alumni, while P&B is made up of Kansas State alums. That’s the 4/5 matchup in the region, so it really feels like a toss-up as to who advances to Saturday afternoon.