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The Basketball Tournament 2021 Preview: #1 Golden Eagles vs #5 Autism Army

Can the Marquette alumni reach the quarterfinals for the sixth straight summer?

St. John’s v Providence
Can Golden Eagles contain former St. John’s star D’Angelo Harrison?
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT 2021

#1 Golden Eagles vs #5 Autism Army

Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Time: 6pm Central
Location: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Television: ESPN2
Streaming: WatchESPN.com
Live Stats: Probably on TheTournament.com

Hello and welcome back to our discussion and coverage of all things Golden Eagles aka the Marquette alumni team in The Basketball Tournament.

The top seeded MU alums are into the Round of 16 for the sixth straight time that they’ve competed in TBT, which, for the record, means that they have gotten at least this far in every single TBT that they have been in. In fact, they’ve actually gotten one round farther than this, all the way to the quarterfinals/round of 8 in every single tournament.

They got here with a first round relatively easy win over #16 seed B1 Ballers, and then played it close with #9 seed Playing for Jimmy V in the second round before running away with it in the fourth quarter to advance. Considering that Golden Eagles was playing on back-to-back days and on less than 24 hours rest, it’s not terribly surprising that they got pushed a little by PJV. They’ve had a day to rest and recover since then, more than that since that was an afternoon start, so we’ll see how much that helps put a little extra bounce in their legs.

You know who doesn’t need much extra bounce? Elgin Cook. He’s not actually a Marquette alum, but he’s been a crucial component of this TBT squad the past few years, and now he’s actually leading the team in scoring through two games at 15.5 per outing. Shooting 14-for-17 from the field through two games will help with that. Jamil Wilson is not that far behind at 14.5 per contest.

Golden Eagles has been getting it done through passing, or at least they’re more prolific at it than their opponents on Wednesday night are. Dwight Buycks (5.5/game) and Travis Diener (4.5 per game) are the top two assist guys in the game, while Maurice Acker (2.5/game) is fifth on the list.

Autism Army is a first year outfit in TBT this season. They’re playing with the goal of raising awareness and hopefully some money for Life’s WORC, a non-profit providing care and support services for people with developmental disabilities and autism according to their TBT bio page. They are also sponsored by Kulture City, s the world’s leading non profit on sensory inclusion and accessibility. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because they work with a majority of NBA teams — including the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Form — to ensure that they’re assisting those with sensory related needs.

These guys got to the round of 16 by rolling past SCD Hoops, 76-48, in the first round and then knocking off the highly touted #4 seed, Always Us, in the second round. That game was a bit closer as AA only won by five, 76-71. In fact, they trailed by 14 points at one point before firing up to get past the Ducks and into today’s matchup.

The top scorer on Autism Army is a familiar name to Marquette fans. D’Angelo Harrison, formerly of St. John’s, is topping the charts at 19.0 points per game in this year’s event, and his 5.5 rebounds just on the defensive end of the court have been pretty helpful, too. The Texas native averaged 17.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the Johnnies while shooting over 35% from beyond the three-point line.

Delroy James, Darryl Monroe, and J’Covan Brown round out the list of notable guys for AA. James is #2 on the team in scoring at 15.5 per game, while Monroe has been chipping in 14 per night. Monroe and Brown are 1A and 1B in assists at 3.0 per game each, and Monroe, a 6’7” guy listed as a center on the roster, is hauling in a team high 7.0 rebounds per game.

Elsewhere In The Illinois Regional

8pm Central: #3 Boeheim’s Army vs #7 Always A Brave