On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, Boeheim’s Army will kick off their run in TBT. And before you ask, no it doesn’t stand for “Throwback Thursday” or the band Trampled by Turtles. It’s The Basketball Tournament, a nationwide event with a winner-take-all grand prize of $2 million.
If you’re in Syracuse, there’s both good news and bad news. The good news is, for the first time ever, games for TBT will be played right in your backyard up at Onondaga Community College. The bad news is, if you don’t already have tickets, you’re probably out of luck: it was projected to sell out as of Tuesday.
Friday in Syracuse about to sell out. Over/under: 12p tomorrow— Jon Mugar (@JonMugar) July 23, 2019
If you’re like me, TBT is a fantastic event that comes during the offseason of football and basketball, giving all of us sports diehards our “fix” while we wait for the collegiate games to get going again. But there’s a lot you need to know about the tournament, the teams, and the rules before you watch us play on Friday.
Let’s go over a quick rundown of the basics:
TBT is in its sixth year. It started in 2014 with a $500,000 grand prize and 32 teams. Since then, it has quickly progressed into a nationwide phenomenon, culminating in this year’s tournament, which offers quadruple the initial prize money and doubled the number of initial teams.
The tournament has some rules that you may not be familiar with if you only watch college basketball. Here are a few key differences:
- Each game has four nine-minute quarters (until the Elam Ending… more on that in a bit).
- Goaltending works the same as it does internationally. Basically, once a ball touches the rim, it is fair game. It can be swatted off the rim or dunked home without basket interference.
- Each player gets 6 fouls, not five, before fouling out. Similar to the NBA, the fifth foul and beyond in any quarter results in two free throws.
- The Elam Ending. Here’s where things get interesting… far too interesting for a simple bullet.
The Elam Ending, which was custom created by Nick Elam and adopted for this tournament, kicks in once the game goes below the four-minute mark at the next stoppage of play. At this point, whichever team is in the lead has eight points added to their current score as the new final goal. Whichever team reaches that number first, wins.
Boom. Talk about adding some parity!
I personally love this addition, as it at least gives the underdog a chance to go on a run and make a comeback. It also means that every single game is going to end on a “buzzer beater” in some capacity.
To me, it adds just the right amount of drama and intrigue. It also removes the ability of a team in the lead to simply run out the clock, something that always makes me want to pull my hair out when watching basketball.
Now that the basic are out of the way, let’s talk about tomorrow’s game. Boeheim’s Army goes up again We Are D3, a team comprised of – you guessed it – only D3 players.
The team features the Delpeche brothers, affectionately referred to as “Delpeche Mode”. Okay, I made that up, but come on… you knew it was coming!
Malcolm and Marcus Delpeche both played for Bates College and graduated in 2017. Malcolm was a former NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 who holds the records for game, season, and career blocked shots at Bates, while his brother Marcus was First Team All-NESCAC the same year.
Also on the team is Brandon Fedirici, a former NABC Second Team All-American, who averaged over 19 points per game in his senior season at Franklin & Marshall College. He was also a solid outside shooter, hitting over 37% of his 3-pointers for his career. Let’s not forget Lucas Hausman, either. He’s a 6’3” guard from Bowdoin College who averaged a whopping 25.3 points per game as a senior, while also hitting over 38% of his threes. And we shouldn’t think lightly of Bradley Jomard, a 6’6” guard from MIT who was NEWMAC First Team All-Conference this past year, averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6 assists per game last year.
Basically, what I’m saying is that D3 or not, this team is pretty loaded. It certainly won’t be a walk in the park for Boeheim’s Army. Although they are the clear favorites to advance in their region, the competition is fierce, and with the Elam Ending, anything is possible.
Boeheim’s Army cannot overlook We Are D3. They need to focus on their strengths of incredible athleticism, a plethora of 3-point shooters, and the ability to slash to the rim.
I love the makeup of Boeheim’s Army this year, as we have a bit of everything. We’ve got shooters in Andrew White III, John Gillon, and Michael Gbinije.
We’ve got slashers in Eric Devendorf and Jordan Crawford. There’s do-it-all guys like BJ Johnson.
Then there’s the rim protectors of Arinze Onuaku and Darryl Watkins. There is a lot to like about this team. Even with a challenging opponent right off the bat, I see the good guys pulling out a victory by about 10 points in the end.
The game tips at 7 p.m. ET and you can watch on ESPN2 or the WatchESPN app.
And as always, let’s go Orange!
FUN FACTS ABOUT TBT:
- Antonio Pena scored 51 points in the 2014 tournament, still the most by any single player.
- Overseas Elite has won four consecutive TBT’s and is looking to five-peat this year.
- In 2015, there were 97 teams that competed in TBT.
- Former-WNBA player Nikki Teasley was the first women’s player in TBT in 2014.
- Chris Paul and Demarcus Cousins have both entered their own teams into TBT 2019.