Two teams with former Ohio State players will officially take part in this summer’s The Basketball Tournament.
Carmen’s Crew, which captured last year’s title, earned the top overall seed and a first-round bye. The unofficial Ohio State alumni team will bypass the round of 24 and face the winner of a game between No. 16 seed House of ‘Paign, which features Illinois alumni, and War Tampa. That will take place July 8.
"All the guys on the team for us, it’s been (about) competing since day one," Carmen’s Crew member David Lighty said during the broadcast. "Even if this (TBT) wasn’t going on we’d be playing in a gym somewhere competing and talking trash. Why not win and try to do something special with your brothers?
"This is something that when we’re 50 years old talking to our kids telling them stories about what we’ve done, we’re all coming together as one. We didn’t win a championship in college but got this TBT. This is something we can hang our hats on."
These 24 teams will compete for $1 MILLION in Columbus July 4-14! pic.twitter.com/ihcG7y9wkY— TBT (@thetournament) June 16, 2020
They will be on the same side of the bracket as Big X, a team created by former Ohio State guard Andrew Dakich that also features former Buckeyes Kaleb Wesson, Andre Wesson, C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods in addition to Michigan State product and Gahanna native Nick Ward.
The two Ohio State teams could face each other in the quarterfinals should No. 9 seed Big X beat No. 24 seed Jackson TN Underdawgs and then knock off No. 8 seed Red Scare, a team of Dayton alumni that played Carmen’s Crew last year in Columbus.
Roughly 120 teams applied for entry in this year’s event.
This year’s fully quarantined TBT will take place entirely at Nationwide Arena and be held from July 4-14. The winner of the 24-team event will take home a $1 million prize.
It’s just one of many ways this year’s event has been altered due to COVID-19. Last year’s event featured 64 teams playing for a $2 million prize and was held at eight different regional sites before contesting the championship in Chicago. Columbus had been selected to be a host site again this year, with the championship set to be played in Dayton, but TBT altered its plans due to the global pandemic.
No fans will be in attendance for the games at Nationwide, and any team that has a player test positive for the virus will be removed from the competition.
Last year, Carmen’s Crew defeated the Golden Eagles, a team primarily comprised of Marquette alumni, to become the third team to win the title. It also ended a four-year winning streak for Overseas Elite with its semifinal win.
Carmen’s Crew will again be coached by Jared Sullinger and primarily feature former Buckeyes with a roster that will include William Buford, last year’s tournament MVP, alongside David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, Lenzelle Smith Jr., Jon Diebler, Evan Ravenel and others. Aaron Craft, too, will be playing before retiring from the sport to attend medical school at Ohio State.
Rosters are not finalized yet, and the commentators on the broadcast hinted at Big X and Carmen’s Crew both potentially adding at least one impact player while questioning whether the Wesson brothers will eventually suit up for Dakich’s team.