The first round for the Midwest and West regional brackets of The Basketball Tournament will tip-off Saturday, with some of Buckeye Nation’s favorite former players suiting for Team Scarlet & Gray at 3:15 p.m. EDT.
Despite a roller coaster of a year for Ohio State men’s basketball, things are starting to turn around as new head coach Chris Holtmann gets settled in and begins to bring in highly regarded recruits and staff. One of Holtmann’s most recent hires will be getting some early front office experience; alumnus Scoonie Penn is Ohio State’s newest Director of Player Development, but is also the General Manager for Team Scarlet & Gray.
“We think we’re a team that can win it. We look at the talent we've had here in the last 10 years or so, and we can match up with anybody. We want the state of Ohio supporting us. We're called Scarlet and Gray, but this team is a representation of the whole state."—Scoonie Penn
Penn will be joined by some of Thad Matta’s most notable alumni from 2011 to 2014, including Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, David Lighty and Jared Sullinger. The team came together at the last minute, after Matta was relieved of his duties as head coach at Ohio State. Craft and co. were able to come up with the required numbers of votes to squeak into the tourney as a popular bid to honor their former coach.
What is The Basketball Tournament?
TBT is 5-on-5, single elimination annual basketball tournament, comprised of 64 teams — anyone 18 years or older can create a team -- competing for a winner-take-all prize of $2 million.
Teams are selected by region, with each of the four regions being comprised of 9 teams selected on popularity (number of online votes), 6 “at-large” selections (with at least 100 fans online), and one team that earns its place with a win in the TBT Jamboree (a set of games among 16 teams vying for 4 regional spots).
Game rules include: halves are 18 minutes, each team gets 4 timeouts per game, each player gets 6 fouls, the ball advances to half court on a dead ball timeout with less than one minute to play in the game, and international rules on basket interference (except on foul shots).
“To be able to play together again in something that honestly has a lot on the line I think is going to be a lot of fun,” Aaron Craft told Sports Illustrated. “It has an NCAA tournament feel, and that was always the best time of year when you have a good team.”
We're talking about practice
This group of Buckeyes didn’t find the success they did during and after their time at Ohio State by resting on their laurels. Despite being one of the most anticipated alumni teams to take the court for TBT, Thad Matta’s players visited Value City Arena several times in the week leading up to their Round 1 match-up to get in a little practice.
And some news that should make Buckeye Nation happy, the former standouts even took some time at the end of one of their practices to get some facetime with the young Bucks -- a group that could definitely use the wisdom from these legendary Ohio State names.
Who is Team Scarlet & Gray playing?
Should Scarlet & Gray come away with the — much anticipated — win, they will face-off in a second game Sunday.
Should they win that round, the Midwestern regional semi-final and final games will be played in Brooklyn, NY on July 22nd and 23rd; followed by the overall semi-finals in Baltimore, MD on August 1st, and the Championship Game August 3rd.
How to watch
Time: 2:15 p.m. CDT (3:15 p.m. EDT)
Location: Bradley University, Illinois
Online: WatchESPN or on the App