And so, after one day off, The Basketball Tournament returns to action. One half of the quarterfinals is set with the Wichita and West Virginia Regionals having completed play, and today we move on to the Columbus Regional. They’ll play one half of the first round today, with the other half tomorrow to go along with the Illinois Regional getting underway.
Just as was the case last week, there’s four games to watch today. The first two are streaming only via WatchESPN, while the night games will both be on ESPN proper.
All times Central, of course.
1pm: #5 The Money Team vs #12 The Region, ESPN3
The Money Team is the team in TBT that is sponsored by Floyd Mayweather. On one hand, I think it’s neat that a big time star like Mayweather is backing a team like this. On the other hand, easily Google searchable facts about Mayweather prove that he’s not exactly a super great person and thus makes this a very easy team to cheer against. TMT lost their first round game in their only previous TBT appearance, and at a glance, I’m not exactly sure how they justify their #5 seed here. Even their own team page on TBT’s website doesn’t list a single player to watch. With that said, Jonathon Simmons (6’6”) does have 259 career games in the NBA, and averaging 8 points, two rebounds, and two assists per game in the league is no joke.
This is the fifth appearance in TBT for The Region, a squad that prides itself on representing Gary, Indiana, and the nearby area. They haven’t won a game in TBT yet, but that’s not stopping them from taking another crack at it this year. I don’t see anyone that jumps off the page as a major name here, but Tyler Wideman (6’8”) played at Butler and averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a senior in 2018.
3pm: #4 Team Hines vs #13 Brown & White, ESPN3
After missing out on last year’s event, Kyle Hines (6’6”) and his team are back in TBT this summer. They’re 4-2 as a program in two previous entries, so we can almost nearly count on them for at least one win again here. Justin Burrell (6’8”) is probably the name that Marquette fans know the best, as he averaged 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 123 career appearances for St. John’s between 2007 and 2011.
Brown & White is a St. Bonaventure alumni squad. Ostensibly, Dion Wright (6’7) is the biggest part of the team, at least from a TBT experience perspective. He was on the Sideline Cancer team that made it to the title game against Golden Eagles last summer. He averaged nearly a double-double (19.7 points, 9.1 rebounds) as a senior for the Bonnies in 2016, so he can clearly do a thing or two on the court. Demitrius Conger averaged 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists over his 118 game career in the A-10 between 2009 and 2013.
6pm: #8 Men of Mackey vs #9 Ballinteers, ESPN
This game has two alumni squads facing off. Men of Mackey is a Purdue alumni squad, taking their name from the name of their on-campus arena in West Lafayette. They went 1-1 in last summer’s tournament and are back to take another swing. With both Isaac Haas (7’2”) and Robbie Hummel (6’9”) on the roster, I’m actually a little bit surprised that the Purdue guys are only a #8 seed, especially since they have experience in TBT. Our friends over at Hammer & Rails did a preview for this game already, so I’ll send you over there for more info.
When I typed up the matchups just off the schedule page on TBT’s website, I thought to myself: “Is Ballinteers a Tennessee alumni team?” Got it in one, as it turns out. Chris Lofton (6’2”) and Wayne Chism (6’9”) make up a nice starting core for the Vols, and they have bolstered their ranks with former Kansas guard Josh Selby, who was a second round NBA Draft pick in 2011.
8pm: #1 Carmen’s Crew vs #16 Mid American Unity, ESPN
The 2019 champs get the top seed in the region they are hosting. The Ohio State alumni team takes its name from an official school song, although since the Carmen in the name there is Latin for “song,” I’m not 100% sure that the naming convention is proper here. With a 12-3 record all-time in TBT overall, you can see why they’re the top seed beyond having an arena partner. They’re stacked up with names you know: Aaron Craft, David Lighty, Evan Ravenel, Jon Diebler, Kosta Koufos, Lenzelle Smith, Jr., and William Buford. Even the coach is a famous name, as Jared Sullinger returns to lead the former Buckeyes.
The #16 seed in the region is in their third TBT appearance. In theory, their name is taken from the idea that everyone on the team is an alum of a team in the Mid-American Conference. However, I count five guys who do not have a tie to a MAC school on the roster at the moment. It’s not like that’s a big deal, as the other eight guys do have said tie.... although two of those guys might actually just be the same guy listed twice on accident. I suspect that Dev Manley and Devereaux Manley might be the same guy and not twins. I’m not well versed in my MAC history, but I know that Malcolm Bernard (6’5”) threw up 7/4/2 as a senior at Xavier after transferring from Florida A&M.