TBT Prepares to Kick Off July 4
Basketball is expected to return to the hardwood next month and it can’t come soon enough for fans of the sport. After losing March Madness and having the NBA season paused for the past three months, fans are ready and chomping at the bit to get to see some action. The NBA is scheduled to begin their restart on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Meanwhile, the WNBA will get their season started on July 24, a truncated 22-game regular season followed by a full-blown playoff slate. If you’re angling to get your hoops fix sooner than that, well, you’re in luck.
The Basketball Tournament, of TBT as it is better known, makes its return to the floor from July 4-14. This one comes to you from Columbus, Ohio with all the players being quarantined in one location to try and avoid any further issues with the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a 24-team field with $1 million up for grabs to the winning team. Similar to March Madness, it’s a single elimination tournament so it’s win or go home from the start. A team will have to win four games (if seeded 1 through 8) to win the tournament while a team seeded 9 through 24 will have to win an additional game in order to pull off a Cinderella run.
There are a few differences between the NBA rules and the way things take place in the TBT. Instead of 12-minute quarters like the NBA or 20-minute halves like one sees in college, the TBT plays four nine-minute quarters. Once there is a stoppage under four minutes, the teams play until a particular score is reached, which is eight points beyond the score of the team in front at the stoppage. For example, if Team A is ahead 87-81 at the stoppage, the teams would play until one team reaches at least 95 points. Other rules, such as six personal fouls to constitute a foul out, and two free throws being awarded after five team fouls in a quarter, are similar to what the NBA has in place.
For those of you that are fans of the sport, there are some well-known names sprinkled around the tournament on various teams. The best-known player from the NBA ledger has to be 18-year veteran Joe Johnson, who was named an All-Star on seven occasions. He is a key member of the Overseas Elite team, whose team holds the second seed in the tournament. Beyond Johnson, there are former first-round picks in the NBA Draft like Chris McCullough and Tyler Lydon, while Darren Collison will be on the sidelines for Challenge ALS, the team seeded sixth in the 24-team field.
There is no shortage of known commodities from the college level as well: Kennedy Meeks and P.J. Hairston from North Carolina are on Team CP3, the 13th seed, while Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ is part of the 11th-seeded Team Hines, which also features Kyle Hines, the only American player to win four EuroLeague titles. Nick Ward, Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson are all part of the ninth-seeded Big X while bringing in Matt Mooney and Mike Daum should really bolster 16th-seeded House of ‘Paign to make them an underdog threat. War Tampa, the #17 seed, could be a threat with Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer from Auburn’s Final Four team in 2019 teaming up with Fletcher Magee, who starred at Furman and is the NCAA’s career leader in made three-pointers.
The bracket for the tournament can be found here. Tournament odds are due to be posted soon and at that point, we’ll start putting together a more extensive preview of the field. Stay tuned for more information about the return of hoops in all its forms.