The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is back for its eighth run. As is typical, the rosters are loaded this year, more so than ever before. Interestingly enough, one of the stalwarts, Overseas Elite, who won four consecutive titles will not be playing. Since it is a 64 team tournament and many teams only have one or two players that people would know, I am going to analyze the top eight teams in TBT.
The Basketball Tournament (TBT) Overview
Let’s start with the defending champions, Golden Eagles. The Marquette alumni squad is loaded again. It all starts with Jamil Wilson who dominates as a stretch forward. Next, you have to talk about the physical guards like Dwight Buycks, Vander Blue, and Sacar Anim. The big question will be, does Travis Diener come back to play again? His incredible basketball IQ and shooting ability takes Marquette to the next level. He was not nearly himself last tournament but still cut down the nets. They have to be in the conversation to do so again.
The two seed in this region is House of ‘Paign. This team is mostly Illinois alumni with some other great additions. No doubt, the best player on the team is Mike Daum. The Dauminator really showed out last year at TBT and that should continue. He is a monster with a great inside-out game who puts a lot of pressure on defenses. With him, Brandon Paul and Andres Feliz will bring a big punch in the backcourt. There is plenty of talent here and they should have the homecourt advantage.
The most underseeded team in the history of mankind is Boeheim’s Army. As the three seed, they are the clear-cut best team in this tournament. As I mentioned, Overseas Elite dissolved and the best pieces of that team ended up on Boeheim’s Army who has always been a competitive squad here. Let’s start with the Syracuse alumni. Tyler Lydon, Malachi Richardson, CJ Fair, Eric Devendorf, and Chris McCullough provide so much scoring and versatility. With those guys alone, this team could compete. Then you add DJ Kennedy (St. John’s) who has been TBT MVP before and Deandre Kane (Iowa State), a dominant playmaker. We can’t forget Keifer Sykes who averaged nearly 20 points per game in college. If this team does not win TBT it will be a colossal collapse.
The number one seed in Wichita is Eberlein Drive. They have played in every TBT but are only 8-5 overall. However, this roster is completely changed. They will be led by former Kentucky Wildcats, Archie Goodwin and Marquis Teague. They also signed high-flying Devin Robinson from Florida. I still think they lack the true punch of some of the bigger named teams in this tournament, but they should make the final eight.
The two seed in Wichita is Aftershock, a group of Wichita State alumni. First, it is a huge advantage for them to basically play in front of a home crowd. Second, I think they have the best roster in this region. They will be led by Conner Frankamp, Zach Brown, and Markis McDuffie. All three starred for the Shockers in college and can bring a good scoring punch. As always, we know any Wichita State team will bring a ton of defense and make life difficult for other teams. This is not the greatest region in this bracket, but Aftershock seems to be the class of the group.
Carmen’s Crew is the number one seed in Columbus and that goes a long way as former Buckeyes. This team is loaded with scorers, including William Buford, 2019 TBT MVP. With him will be shooters David Lighty and Jon Diebler. Aaron Craft is back again as well. Craft is the perfect guard for this tournament who sets everyone else up and plays defense like no other. He hasn’t changed a bit since college. The biggest issue for Carmen’s Crew is a second-round matchup with Men of Mackey (Purdue alumni) who have ridiculous length and are led by Robbie Hummel.
The two seed is Red Scare. They are several Dayton alums, led by Darrell Davis, Devin Oliver, and Trey Landers. This team is really tough and plays like all Dayton teams always have. Unfortunately, they fall into a loaded region. The biggest thing going in Red Scare’s favor is they have the same roster from last year and that consistency is huge.
The three seed here is Zip ‘Em Up (Xavier alumni). I am really intrigued by this team. It might be their first year, but I think they are loaded. It all starts with Trevon Bluiett and JP Macura who helped lead Xavier deep in March Madness. Additionally, they have Semaj Christon and Kaiser Gates who also starred for Xavier.
The four seed is Team Hines. They are led by Kyle Hines who is the greatest American international player ever. He has tons of titles, awards, and records across the globe and at UNC Greensboro. He brings a solid group with him including Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure), Nick Calathes (Florida), and John Jenkins (Vanderbilt). Justin Burrell is also a very strong presence in the lane and can dominate with Hines.
For me, the winner of the Team Hines and Carmen’s Crew game will get to the final four and possibly title game. I will go with Carmen’s Crew but it won’t be easy.
West Virginia Region
The one seed is Sideline Cancer. They played in each of the eight iterations of TBT and are 10-7 overall. This squad is led by Jamel Artis (Pittsburgh) and Maurice Creek (Indiana/George Washington). While they did reach the title game last year, it would surprise me to see that happen again. They may be up against it, but they are in a weaker region.
Best Virginia is the two seed and incorporates plenty of West Virginia Mountaineers. People will remember Sagaba Konate and Nathan Adrian the most. Additionally, John Flowers and Kevin Jones helped lead WVU to the Final Four in 2010. The biggest question will be Tarik Phillip who needs to add a big-time scoring punch for them to succeed.
The three seed is Herd That (Marshall alumni). This squad was the Cinderella team of last year. They are led by Jon Elmore who can score with anyone in the world. The rest of the team is a bit weak besides JaCorey Williams but they are just as good as others in this region.
Reluctantly, I will pick Sideline Cancer here because they have the most experience but their second-round matchup with the Fort Wayne Champs who could easily advance out of this region as well.
My picks to advance to the final four are Aftershock, Boeheim’s Army, Carmen’s Crew, and Sideline Cancer. My finals matchup would be Boeheim’s Army against Carmen’s Crew. Boeheim’s Army is the clear-cut favorite to me and will finally win their first TBT. They have the most NBA talent and have a ton of playing experience in big games. Regardless, tune into the always entertaining TBT starting July 17th. Pay close attention to the Elam ending that may make its way to pro sports soon!
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