Now it’s starting to get serious for the band of former Ohio State basketball players coming together to compete in the fourth annual The Basketball Tournament. This 64-team bracket features squads consisting of former college and NBA players, as well as players currently continuing their professional careers overseas. The winner-take-all tourney has a grand prize of $2 million dollars, and the former Buckeyes are just four wins away from taking it home.
While the team is not made up exclusively of Ohio State alums, they have branded their run in TBT with the hashtag #ThisOnesForThad, in honor of recently fired OSU head coach Thad Matta.
Ohio State’s new Director of Player Development Scoonie Penn is serving as the team’s GM, and his squad includes former Ohio State standouts, Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger, David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Evan Ravenel, William Buford, and Dallas Lauderdale.
First Weekend Recap
During the first weekend of this unique tournament, the former Buckeyes eliminated The Region, a team based in Chicago, by a score of 78-63. Then in Round 2, they knocked off former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee players the Banner Boys 72-58.
In the first game, the squad was led by Sullinger, who turned in an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double. Also contributing were Ravenel and Lighty with 13, and Craft with 10.
The two biggest weak spots for the Scarlet & Gray in the opening round were a disappointing 5-20 showing behind the arc and their inability to hold onto the ball, committing 13 turnovers. Fortunately for the former Buckeyes, one of those concerns was remedied the following day.
Against the Banner Boys, Diebler, one of OSU’s all-time great deep threats, took over, connecting on five of his eight attempts from distance. His 21 points were a game high. Buford also had a nice game turning in 14 points in just 16 minutes of action.
Craft also turned in a very Craftian performance, especially considering that all games are played with two 18-minute halves, going for seven points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Despite the improvement from three-point land, the Scarlet & Gray still committed 12 turnovers in Round 2. As they get deeper in the tournament, and face more formidable opponents, the ability of this team, who has still enjoyed minimal playing and practice time together, to maintain possession will be important.
Who is Team Scarlet & Gray playing?
As the former Buckeyes move into the regional semifinals, they will face off against No. 6 Always a Brave, a team primarily comprised of former Bradley University players. In their first two games, the Braves were led by guard Jerome Randle, who put up 21 points in the team’s 92-81 victory over the Fort Wayne Champs.
While Craft will need to lock down Randle, Jared Sullinger and the rest of the Scarlet & Gray front-court will have their hands full with former Celtic and Raptor Patrick O’Bryant and 35-year-old Bradley alum Marcellus Sommerville.
Sommerville averaged 19 points per game in TBT’s opening two rounds, while O’Bryant turned in 7.5. Both big men accounted for 4.5 rebounds per game.
If Team Scarlet & Gray is able to overcome the sixth-seeded Always a Brave team, they would next take to the court against either the top-seeded Golden Eagles (a team of Marquette alums) or the No. 4 Purple and Black Attack (Kansas State alumni).
The regional finals will take place Sunday on the ESPN family of networks with the winner advancing to the tournament’s semifinal round in Baltimore next weekend, with a top $2 million prize just two victories away.
How to watch
Time: 12:00 p.m. EDT
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Online: WatchESPN or on the App