It’s been a while since fans could get excited about a Scarlet & Gray men’s basketball team making a run in a tournament, but after the opening round of The Basketball Tournament, Ohio State fans might want to start paying attention. Headlined by former Buckeyes Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger, David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Evan Ravenel, William Buford, and Dallas Lauderdale, team Scarlet & Gray knocked off the Chicago-based The Region 78-63 on Saturday to advance to Round 2 in hopes of claiming a title and the $2 million prize.
The Midwest’s second-seeded team returns to action today at 1:45 p.m. EDT against the Banner Boys, a team primarily made up of former players from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Banner Boys squeaked by the Jackson TN Underdawgs 61-59 in the first round.
The OSU alums have dubbed their run in the tournament #ThisOnesForThad, in honor of their college head coach Thad Matta who’s tenure as Ohio State’s head coach ended earlier this year. Former Buckeye great Scoonie Penn, who was recently named Ohio State’s Director of Player Development under new head coach Chris Holtmann, serves as Team Scarlet & Gray’s general manager for TBT.
Round One Recap
Despite 13 turnovers for the OSU alums keeping the game fairly close until the final minutes, team Scarlet & Gray never trailed in their opening round victory over The Region. Sullinger led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Ravenel (13), Lighty (13), and Craft (10) all finished with double figures as well.
For a team with very little recent practice time together, Scarlet & Gray shot a respectable 47.8% from the field, but their 5 for 20 effort from behind the arc is something that will need to be improved as they continue their run.
In addition to the team’s former Buckeyes, Scarlet & Gray also saw contributions from Bowling Green’s Nate Miller and Northern Illinois’ Leon Rodgers. Each chipped in four points in the victory.
While it was obviously a much different environment than we are used to seeing the former Buckeyes playing in, watching some of Matta’s most memorable players on the floor together once again was exciting, and a little emotional.
Who is Team Scarlet & Gray playing?
The opening round victory for the Banner Boys was back-and-forth the entire game. Then, with the score tied at 59 and with time running out, Ronald Davis used a mid-air put-back of a Torye Pelham block to seal the thrilling victory.
Against the Underdawgs, The UW-Milwaukee alums used a balanced scoring attack to survive in a game that had six ties and 11 lead changes. Dylan Page led the Banner Boys with 16 points (to go along with 11 rebounds), Davis had 13, and Anthony Hill added 11.
As a whole, the team shot just 35.7% on 20-56 from the field, including 8-25 from downtown. With 12 turnovers forced and committed, like it was for team Scarlet & Gray, their opening round game was a little on the sloppy side, so who can maintain possession on Sunday should go a long way to determining who moves on in the quest for $2 million.
If team Scarlet & Gray knocks off the Banner Boys, they will advance to the Midwest region semifinals to be held next weekend in Brooklyn, NY. On Saturday, July 22nd, they would face the winner of the No. 6 Fort Wayne Champs and No. 3 Always a Brave Bradley University alumni team.
If the OSU alums are victorious next Saturday, they would advance to the regional finals where they would play the region’s top-seeded Marquette alumni team the Golden Eagles, No. 4 Purple and Black Attack (Kansas State alumni), No. 5 the Hilton Magic Legends from Iowa State, or No. 8 Majerus Slu Crew (St. Louis alumni). That game would take place on July 23rd, with a berth to the tournament semifinals on August 1st in Baltimore on the line.
All of TBT’s games next weekend will air on the ESPN family of networks.
How to watch
Time: 12:45 p.m. CDT (1:45 p.m. EDT)
Location: Bradley University, Illinois
Online: WatchESPN or on the App