I presume it was an easy decision for the braintrust at The Basketball Tournament.
Back on Monday, TBT announced the bracket for the 2021 edition of the summer hoops event. After winning a bubble version of TBT in 2020, Golden Eagles aka the Marquette alumni team is the #1 seed in the Illinois Regional of this year’s tournament.
If you’re so inclined, you can watch the Bracket Reveal Show, as it’s archived on TBT’s YouTube page.
As you can see from the bracket, Golden Eagles will be taking on #16 seed B1 Ballers in the first round. This is a team making their TBT debut this season and eight of their nine players listed on the team page have NCAA Division 1 experience. That game is currently scheduled for Sunday, July 25th at 5pm Central at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois. If the former MU guys win, they would play again the very next day against either #8 seed Brotherly Love or #9 seed Jimmy V.
While noting that this is The Basketball Tournament and anything can happen because we’ve seen it go that way over and over again, Golden Eagles’ biggest challenges will come from the next few seeds below them in the Illinois Region. The #2 squad is House of ‘Paign, which is ostensibly an Illinois alumni team. This is their second year taking part in TBT after debuting last year and making a run to the quarterfinals, including knocking off defending champs Carmen’s Crew. I said “ostensibly” a moment ago because the big performer last year for HoP was Mike Daum who is absolutely not a former Illini player. You know who is, though? New addition Brandon Paul, who was one of just two Illinois players to ever record 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists, and 100 steals.
The #3 seed in the Illinois Region went to Boeheim’s Army, which is the Syracuse alumni team. This is their seventh TBT appearance and they have gone 15-6 in their previous six go-rounds. Eric Devendorf and C.J. Fair are the notable former Orange players on the roster, but the big addition for them this year is the recently announced DeAndre Kane. The former Iowa State standout has won three TBT titles, all during the Overseas Elite dynasty. He knows what it takes to win and take home the only prize in this tourney, but will that be enough for the Syracuse gang?
The Midwest gets some West Coast flavor with the #4 seed, which goes to Always Us. This is an Oregon alumni team making their TBT debut this year. Jon Mugar and the TBT guys like what they see from this squad, which is how they ended up with the #4 seed. But it’s also their first ever TBT playing together, and if you’re expecting to just show up and be successful..... well, that doesn’t work out so well for some teams.
Also not working out well for some teams? Letting Travis Diener shoot threes in The Basketball Tournament.
Travis Diener's TBT Elam Enders...— TBT (@thetournament) June 22, 2021
▪️ 2018 Quarters vs Boeheim's Army
▪️ 2019 Semis vs Team Hines
▪️ 2020 Champ vs Sideline Cancer
The three biggest shots in @GoldenEaglesTBT HISTORY pic.twitter.com/z2rsqVXif0
After some social media snafus, the MU alumni team has officially announced the addition of Diener to this year’s TBT roster. Given how all of this has gone, I’m going to guess that TBT asked Golden Eagles to pretend Travis wasn’t going to be playing just so they could make a big deal about it when he was “added” to the roster.
The first three rounds of TBT will be played at the regional sites before everything moves to Dayton for the quarterfinals onwards. If you’re interested in going to Peoria to see the MU guys in action, tickets are available. The entire event will get started on July 16th when the Wichita Region gets underway.