This 4th of July weekend, we were blessed with some basketball. The Basketball Tournament (aka TBT) provided some exciting games and even more exciting finishes as they’re famous for their very popular Elam Ending. To celebrate the 4th of July, I watched some TBT while drinking some quality craft Texan beers and it was wildly entertaining.
I’ll tell you right now that I’m scared of what House of ‘Paign can do with gun for hire Mike Daum on his A game. Multiple times on the broadcast they referred to his long term and very obvious “Dauminator” nickname, which is still an all-time great nickname. The South Dakota State product led the Illinois alumni team to a blowout victory in their Round 1 matchup against War Tampa by a score of 76-53. He finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and a block. Daum cashed four of his five long range attempts, which is really just business as usual for him. It should be said that this was the #16 vs #17 matchup in terms of seeding, so theoretically it should have been a bit closer. I love Daum’s game and I’d put the defending champs, Carmen’s Crew, on serious upset watch in their Super 16 round tangle with House of Paign.
But you’re here for a preview of the Marquette alumni squad’s first game this evening. #13 seed Team CP3 is the Golden Eagles’ Super 16 opponent after they came back from an 18-point first half deficit on Saturday night to stun the Primetime Players, 76-74. Sure CP3 did a hell of a job to fight their way back in the game but Primetime Players also fell apart down the stretch forgetting how to play cohesive defense and committing sloppy turnovers. CP3 gained their first lead of the game during the Elam Ending and finished it off with a transition dunk after forcing a turnover.
If Golden Eagles gets up big in this game, they just need to continue to move the ball and work their set plays on offense. The key is going to be keeping a very close eye on guard Nate Mason. CP3’s offense runs through him. He led the game in scoring with 26 points and is by far CP3’s most dangerous player. Mason played college basketball at Minnesota and made it on the First Team All-Big 10 in 2017. He averaged just under 14 points for his career and was a great passer with an average of four assists per game with the Gophers. He played professionally in the G-League for the Texas Legends and he’s also played overseas for Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli Premier League and most recently signed with BC Avtodor of the VTB United League. Other notable names on CP3 are guards Codi Miller-Mcintyre and CJ Harris as well as center David Weaver, all of whom played at Wake Forest.
B.J. Gladden joined Harris and Miller-Mcintyre in double-digits as the other CP3 players aside from Mason as significant scoring contributors in their first round game. Gladden and Harris had 12 each and Miller-Mcintyre tacked on 10 points and six rebounds for CP3. So in terms of who you should definitely not leave open, those are the guys that showed up in the first round contest and should be guarded closely. The majority of CP3’s points against Primetime Players came through their guards. Thankfully, the Golden Eagles have lengthy guards that are great on-ball defenders. The priority numero uno will be to make sure that Mason does not get comfortable in this one.
Marquette legend and noted beer aficionado Travis Diener joined the broadcast last night via Zoom during the CP3 vs Primetime Players game. He listed damn near every player on the roster when Dan Dakich asked him which players were vital to the team’s success. Is that Travis just being a team first guy or is it Travis knowing he should try and take as many minutes of audio away from Dakich as possible? YOU DECIDE.
Diener’s confident in every one of his teammates to hit the Elam Ender if given the chance. Honestly, why wouldn’t he be? Aside from Diener himself who’s as clutch as they come, the Golden Eagles have Jamil Wilson (once scored all of Golden Eagles’ Elam Ending points in a game), Dwight Buycks (one of the best scorers in TBT history), Darius Johnson-Odom, and Andrew Rowsey who are all walking buckets. Think about this: The master of “The Thing” is arguably the least lethal guy in that group, and he’s the one who held the MU single season scoring record at one point. The “supporting cast” includes Maurice Acker, Luke Fischer, and Derrick Wilson who all had illustrative careers at Marquette. Diener said that this is the best team they’ve probably ever had at TBT and I have to agree.
Shooting wasn’t the issue last year, it was size. So this year they brought in Luke Fischer to provide that inside presence and brought back two hired guns from last year in former Oregon forward Elgin Cook and Mo Charlo. In theory, the Golden Eagles should be strong inside and out defensively. If they bring back their sharpshooting that they displayed in last year’s run to the finals, then they should have no problem offensively either.
Thankfully, we have avoided drawing Dan Dakich for the matchup against CP3. Thus will not hear him blabber on about his bromance with Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl or have trouble saying the word quarantine on national television—both which happened Saturday night. We will be spared of his cringeworthy Dakich-isms. It will be Bob Rathbun and Fran Fraschilla on the call when the Golden Eagles take on Team CP3 for a chance to advance to their fourth straight quarterfinals appearance. Tipoff is set for 6pm Central.
The Marquette game will be the only one of the day for TBT. Eberlein Drive had a team member test positive for COVID-19 while in the TBT quarantine bubble, and so the entire team has been removed from the tournament. #5 seed Eberlein Drive, a long time TBT mainstay, was set to face #12 seed Brotherly Love in the other Super 16 game of the day, and so Brotherly Love gets a bye into the quarterfinals to face the Golden Eagles/CP3 winner on Friday, July 10th.