With The Basketball Tournament 2020 Bracket loaded with countless professional basketball players and former NBA and college stars, which teams have the best shot to take home the championship prize of 1 million dollars?
Ever since Jonathon Mugar created the “The Basketball Tournament” back in 2014, it has evolved from a relatively unknown event to arguably the best basketball tournament of the summer. More commonly known for its abbreviation, the “TBT,” it is an extremely competitive basketball tournament that resembles the structure of March Madness.
Just like the NCAA tournament, the TBT is an intense single-elimination tournament that is played in front of thousands of fans attending or the entire country watching on television. Typically a 64 team field as well, the 120 teams that applied just this year will have to be narrowed into a field of 24 (with obviously no fans in attendance as well due to COVID-19). With only 24 teams in the field, there are certainly no easy outs in the journey to this year’s championship.
In 2014, former Duke star and 2016 NBA Champion Dahntay Jones led Team Barstool (with of course “Big Cat” and Dave Portnoy providing unmatched spirit from the bench) to a championship appearance coming up short against the Notre Dame alumni team led by Ryan Ayers. Team Barstool did not return, but one of their key players and St. John’s alumni Justin Burell joined forces with a new TBT team called Overseas Elite. One of various players coming from St. John’s, D.J Kennedy, and a team built of international basketball stars went on to win four straight TBT championships, despite the level of competition rapidly getting more difficult every year.
While there were definitely some teams that came super close to defeating the undefeated, it wasn’t until William Buford and Aaron Craft’s Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alumni) took down Overseas Elite one game before winning the 2019 TBT championship. With so many former college superstars who have played in the TBT such as Isaiah Austin, Marshall Henderson, Jerome Randle, Thomas Walkup, DeAndre Kane, Perry Ellis, Jimmer Fredette, Pierre Jackson and so many more. With some of those guys listed still playing in TBT this year, there are a ton of former college basketball studs who will return/enter the field this year, especially 1st round draft picks Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon who sparked a Syracuse 2016 NCAA Final Four Run and hope to return that magic with the 2020 Syracuse alumni team.
Unlike the NCAA who decides to not pay the players whatsoever, every team in the TBT is competing for a lofty championship prize of 2 million dollars (due to COVID-19, the prize will be reduced to 1 million this year, still something that certainly won’t be taken for granted). While ESPN has sponsored the “TBT” since year one, many other sponsors have come into the picture, most notably including Puma, Zelle, Kumho Tire, and the Air Force Reserve.
ESPN has gained more trust into the TBT brand as both sides agreed to a multi-year extension this year in addition to ESPN broadcasting the entire 2020 tournament, not just the later rounds. Furthermore from a financial standpoint, the TBT has been able to increase its championship prize from 500,000 dollars to a lofty 2 million. In the eight regions last year, the winners of each region were paid a percentage of the ticket sales, providing another financial incentive.