A fun update for you all: The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all, single-elimination basketball tournament played annually each summer, is happening in a couple of weeks and there are a number of Spartans playing in the tournament! This year’s edition will have 24 teams all of whom will be playing for a purse of $1 million. Teams were selected from March 15 through June 15, and there will be five rounds all-told (a play-in round of 16 teams, winners advance to play the top-eight ranked teams in the round of 16). The games will run from July 4 through July 12 in Columbus, Ohio.
Nick Ward, Branden Dawson, Brandon Wood, and Javon Bess are all competing on teams in the tournament. Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers were on Team Detroit that did not get enough traction to get selected for the tournament.
Nick Ward & Javon Bess:
These two Ohio natives are playing on team Big X (a team with a bunch of B1G alums). They are ranked No. 9 and will play the No. 24 ranked Jackson TN Underdawgs in the round of 24 (play-in round), the winner of that game will then play the No. 8 ranked Red Scare team (full of Dayton alums).
Big X does not have a ton of shooting, but I would expect them to get to the round of 16, where they will have a solid chance against the Dayton team that does not have a ton of size. Expect Nick Ward to put up numbers in both games.
Branden Dawson & Brandon Wood:
Dawson and Wood will play on team Heartfire (with Homer Drew as their head coach and a bunch of Baylor alums). They are ranked No. 14 and will play the No. 19 ranked Men of Mackey (Purdue alums) in the round of 24 (play-in round), the winner of that game will then play the No. 3 ranked Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse alums).
Heartfire has a lot of talent, but will have to contend with a cohesive Purdue team that has Isaac Haas and a number of good shooters before, potentially, taking on the Syracuse alums who will undoubtedly be playing a 2-3 zone. Heartfire has the talent to win both of its first two games, but it would require a heck of a performance particularly from Quincy Miller and Isaiah Austin the two sweet-shooting Baylor alums.
While neither team with Spartans on it is favored to get past the round of 16, both teams have a punchers chance to advance a few rounds. If I had to bet, I think Big X makes it to the quarter finals, before losing to Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alums). I see Heartfire making it to the semi-finals before losing to Overseas Elite.
Either way it will be great fun to see some Spartans on the basketball court.