Former Buckeyes in Carmen's Crew to open TBT play as No. 1 seed

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Aaron Craft slices through the lane past the Matadors' John Roberson (21) during The Basketball Tournament second-round game at Capital University on July 22, 2018. Team Scarlet & Gray won 82-73.

Carmen’s Crew will open The Basketball Tournament as a No. 1 seed in the Columbus region.

The annual tournament, which features a $1 million prize for its champion, unveiled its full 64-team bracket Monday. One year after holding an abbreviated version of the tournament with only 24 teams entirely in a controlled environment at Nationwide Arena, TBT features four regions this year including one to be played at Ohio State’s Covelli Center.

That is where Carmen’s Crew will attempt to put last year’s opening-game exit in the rearview. As the top overall seed last year, the team comprised primarily of former Buckeyes was bounced by Illinois alumni team and No. 16 seed House of ‘Paign 76-68.

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Carmen’s Crew will face No. 16 seed Mid-American Unity on 9 p.m. July 23 in a game that will be televised on ESPN. The winner of that game will face the winner of No. 8 seed Men of Mackey (Purdue alumni) and No. 9 seed Ballinteers (Tennessee alumni). That game will take place at 4 p.m. July 25.

Former Buckeyes William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, Evan Ravenel, Shannon Scott, Lenzelle Smith Jr., Kaleb Wesson and Keyshawn Woods comprise this year’s team alongside Otterbein product Jeff Gibbs and Miami University product Julian Mavunga.

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Jared Sullinger will be the coach and Dallas Lauderdale an assistant coach. Dayton’s “Red Scare” alumni team will also be part of the region as a No. 2 seed.

The regional championship will be played July 27. The remainder of the tournament will be played at Dayton, with the quarterfinals set for July 31, the semifinals one day later and the title game August 3.

Carmen’s Crew captured the 2019 TBT championship as Buford was named most valuable player.