Several Michigan State Spartans alumni have already begun their journeys in The Basketball Tournament, the annual single-elimination, $1 million winner-take-all summer tournament that features former college stars, European and G-League players, and a number of fringe NBA players and NBA veterans. This year, four Spartans are on teams in the competition, with one of them already having begun tournament play.
Gavin Schilling (Kimchi Express)
Gavin Schilling, playing for the “Kimchi Express” team, lost in the opening round game to “Florida TNT” by a score of 83 to 59. Schilling scored four points and collected two rebounds. While Schilling’s TBT run ended after just a single game, he will continue his professional career playing for FC Bayern Munich in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague next season.
Matt Costello (The Money Team)
Matt Costello will play on “The Money Team,” which plays its first game on July 23. This squad has Floyd Mayweather as its general manager, along with NBA veterans Jonathan Simmons and Charles Jenkins as fellow players. Costello’s team will face the unheralded “The Region” team, and should advance to the next round. If they do, “The Money Team’s” opposition will likely be “Team Hines” with notable EuroLeague stud players, and NBA veterans, Nick Calathes and John Jenkins (Florida and Vanderbilt alums).
Branden Dawson & Brandon Wood (Team Heartfire)
Dawson and Wood, teaming up on “Heartfire” again as they did in the 2020 tournament, will join a pair of Baylor alums (Cory Jefferson and King McClure), and will rely on former Pittsburgh big man, Gary McGhee, to fortify the interior. “Heartfire” is coached by LaPhonso Ellis (who Spartans fans will recognize from various broadcasting and studio duties over the years with ESPN) and managed by Homer Drew. “Heartfire” plays its first game on July 24 against “Overlooked” (a team of former Murray State players, including Isaiah Canaan, along with old Spartan foe Rasheed Sulaimon, who played at Duke and Maryland). There is a strong chance that Dawson and Wood play at least one more game, which would likely see them face “Boeheim’s Army” of Syracuse alumni.
You can check out the full bracket here. Costello’s “The Money Team” appears to stand the best chance of advancing to the later stages of The Basketball Tournament, but, regardless, with only three Spartans left in the field, it will be fun to watch some of Tom Izzo’s standout players compete in a fun competition.