After a smaller 2020 event that featured a 24-team bracket and a bubble because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Basketball Tournament is officially back in 2021 with a full 64-team field competing for the $1 million winner-take-all prize.
While four-time title winner Overseas Elite won’t be participating, Marquette’s alumni team, the Golden Eagles, will look to defend their title vs. a field that includes 28 other alumni rosters — including the 2019 champion, Carmen’s Crew — to usher in a new era of TBT.
The tournament will be spread across four separate regions for the early rounds and will conclude with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in Dayton, Ohio, starting on July 31. With the full bracket unveiled, we break down every squad before the single-elimination event starts on July 16 on ESPN Networks.
No. 1 seed: Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alumni)
Led by Jared Sullinger on the sideline and Evan Turner as general manager, the Ohio State alumni squad will be considered one of the favorites to cut down the nets. On the court, the team will be led by 2019 MVP William Buford, the leading scorer of the 2019 championship game, David Lighty, and Aaron Craft, who opted into one final run before he pursues a medical career.
No. 2 seed: Red Scare (Dayton alumni)
While Carmen’s Crew will be the odds-on favorite to win this region, don’t count out Dayton’s alumni team. With a roster that features four players from the Flyers’ magical 2013 Elite Eight season — including the two leading scorers, Jordan Sibert and Devin Oliver — coach Joey Gruden’s squad is ready for a title push based on chemistry.
No. 3 seed: Zip ‘Em Up (Xavier alumni)
A first-time entry, the Xavier alumni team will be guided by 2018 second-team All-American Trevon Bluiett and fan favorite J.P. Macura. Add in the dynamic Semaj Christon and Seton Hall’s Sterling Gibbs, and coach Rick Carter could have a title contender on his hands.
No. 4 seed: Team Hines
If there’s one team that could spoil the party for the top three seeds in this region, it’s Team Hines, a team led by one of the most decorated American players in international basketball history, Kyle Hines. Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins will combine with the four-time EuroLeague champion to form arguably their deepest TBT roster to date.
No. 5 seed: The Money Team
Backed by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, The Money Team is made up of former NBA veterans like Amir Johnson and Jonathon Simmons, who are looking to improve on the squad’s surprising first-round exit in 2020.
No. 6 seed: Blue Collar U (Buffalo alumni)
Buffalo was a popular NCAA tournament Cinderella selection for years, even upsetting Arizona as a 13-seed in 2018. Now, the alumni squad will look to make the same noise with experienced players like Jeremy Harris, Nick Perkins and C.J. Massinburg.
No. 7 seed: Wolf Blood (NC State alumni)
Looking for another potential sleeper? North Carolina State’s alumni team might be a popular selection based on their dynamic guard play. While ex-NBA player C.J. Williams and the speedy Cat Barber will likely be the go-to players, Trevor Lacey and sharpshooter Scott Wood help provide balance.
No. 8 seed: Men of Mackey (Purdue alumni)
The Purdue alumni team will likely give their first-round opponent, the Ballinteers, fits with their size, as they sport former NBA talent Robbie Hummel and two 7-footers, Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons. Beyond the Boilermaker big three, Purdue Fort Wayne alum Frank Gaines will provide valuable offensive punch after leading Italy in scoring this past season.
No. 9 Seed: Ballinteers (Tennessee alumni)
The Tennessee alumni team brings several players from different eras together to form a dangerous No. 9 seed. One of the better shooters in Tennessee history, Chris Lofton, will combine with Wayne Chism and two more recent Volunteer stars in versatile defender Jordan Bowden and bucket-getter Lamonte Turner.
No. 10 seed: Category 5 (Miami alumni)
In its first year in TBT, Miami’s alumni team will rely on the flexibility of Davon Reed, who was a third-team all-ACC performer in 2017. While Reed will have the keys to the car, don’t forget about the floor stretching ability of Dejan Vasiljevic and Anthony Lawrence.
No. 11 seed: TNT
“The Nerd Team” includes “players from some of the top academic institutions who value academic rigor while excelling on the court and in the community.” Former Ivy League Rookie of the Year Kyle Casey (Harvard) will join forces with decorated European veteran John DiBartolomeo.
No. 12 seed: The Region
Despite not advancing out of the first round in four years, The Region’s uptempo style always poses a difficult matchup for any first-round opponent. Now with former NBA point guard Donald Sloan at the helm, these Gary, Indiana legends have their best chance to pull off an upset.
No. 13 seed: Brown & White (St. Bonaventure alumni)
As a first-year participant, the St. Bonaventure alumni team poached Dion Wright from last year’s runner-up Sideline Cancer and snagged Marcus Posley to be their lead guard.
No. 14 seed: Ohio 1804 (Ohio alumni)
The Ohio Bobcats’ alumni squad will reunite several members of the program’s 2012 Sweet 16 squad, including Reggie Keely, Stevie Taylor, and Nick Kellogg. Can this trio make more noise with an upset over another first-time participant, Zip ‘Em Up?
No. 15 seed: Vahakni City BC
After leading Vahakni City BC — an Armenian A-League team — to a championship this past year, Darious Clark is bringing three teammates to TBT for a chance to expand their momentum on American soil.
No. 16 seed: Mid American Unity
The MAC alumni unit reached the second round in the Midwest Regional in 2019. They have their work cut out in 2021, though, as a duel with Carmen’s Crew won’t be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.
West Virginia Regional
No. 1 seed: Sideline Cancer
Besides being the only team to compete in all eight iterations of TBT, Sideline Cancer was a 2020 finalist and reached the Wichita Regional final in 2019 before losing to the Golden Eagles in both circumstances. With dynamic scorer and Central Michigan alum Marcus Keene back, Sideline Cancer is not only seeking revenge, but its first title.
No. 2 seed: Best Virginia (West Virginia alumni)
With a combination of 2010 Final Four staple, Kevin Jones, and recent Mountaineer talents, Tarik Phillip, Jaysean Paige and Sagaba Konate, West Virginia’s alumni team has another solid roster in its second year in TBT.
No. 3 seed: Herd That (Marshall alumni)
Marshall’s alumni squad is no longer the Cinderella of TBT. One year after reaching the quarterfinal round and upsetting The Money Team, Herd That has a loaded unit featuring Ot Elmore, his brother Jon and former Middle Tennessee big man JaCorey Williams.
No. 4 seed: Armored Athlete
In its seventh year in TBT, Armored Athlete will have plenty of NBA experience as it looks to improve upon their round of 16 finish in 2020. Malcolm Miller won an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors, while Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jemerrio Jones had short stints in The Association.
No. 5 seed: War Ready (Auburn alumni)
Formerly known as War Tampa, this rebranded Auburn alumni squad is made up of sharpshooter and key contributor on the Tigers’ 2019 Final Four squad, Bryce Brown, highly recruited Danjel Purifoy and the speedy Malik Dunbar.
No. 6 seed: Team 23
One of the more dangerous six seeds in the 64-team field, Team 23 features former LSU guard and elite scorer Tim Quarterman and other ex-NBA players Walt Lemon Jr. and Eric Griffin.
No. 7 seed: D2
While this squad gets consistently overlooked because of the lack of national names, D2 — which is made up of former Division II college players — reached the Regional Semifinals in the 2019 iteration of TBT.
No. 8 seed: PrimeTime Players
Competing for the seventh straight time, the PrimeTime Players feature the best semiprofessional players in the country. If former UNC guard Christian Keeling is knocking down his triples, they’ll have a strong chance of advancing to the second round.
No. 9 seed: Fort Wayne Champs
After taking 2020 off, the Fort Wayne Champs are back for its fourth campaign. With PrimeTime Players in the first round and a potential matchup vs. Sideline Cancer on the horizon, reaching its second overall regional final won’t be easy.
No. 10 seed: Bleed Virginia
Some of the best mid-major ballers from the state of Virginia join forces to create a first-year roster. JeQuan Lewis (VCU), ShawnDre’ Jones (Richmond) and Ed Polite (Radford) make up a solid “Big Three” that could turn out to be overwhelming for D2.
No. 11 seed: Georgia Kingz
Made up of the best talent from the Peach State, the Georgia Kingz earned an automatic entry into TBT after winning NFL linebacker Vic Beasley’s tournament in Atlanta.
No. 12 seed: Bucketneers (East Tennessee State alumni)
5-12 matchups are always a popular NCAA tournament upset selection. The Bucketneers matchup vs. War Ready could be similar in TBT as the East Tennessee State alumni team brings a deep roster to the table led by four members of 2017 SoCon tournament championship squad.
No. 13 seed: HBCUnited
The MEAC’s all-time leading scorer — Howard’s Charles Williams — is set to guide a unit that brings together players from several different historically Black colleges and universities.
No. 14 seed: Team DRC
Former NFL All-Pro cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has his unit back after successful runs in 2018 — when they reached the Super 16 — and 2019 — when they advanced to the Regional Final before losing to Overseas Elite.
No. 15 seed: WoCo Showtime (Wofford alumni)
The Wofford alumni team returns for their seventh chance at TBT glory. They have yet to advance past the second round, but they possess the NCAA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, Fletcher Magee.
No. 16 seed: Founding Fathers (James Madison alumni)
In 2013, Ron Curry, Devon Moore and AJ Davis helped guide James Madison to its fifth NCAA tournament appearance. Now, the core of that team reunites, looking to pull one of the largest upsets in TBT history.
No. 1 seed: Eberlein Drive
There is only one word to describe Eberlein Drive: loaded. The team has been a consistent force in TBT, but this year’s roster — featuring two Kentucky gems in Archie Goodwin and Marquis Teague, the explosive Devin Robinson and former NBA talent Jeremy Evans — may be their best squad yet.
No. 2 seed: AfterShocks (Wichita State alumni)
With home court on its side and a roster filled with Shocker greats like Conner Frankamp, Toure’ Murray, Markis McDuffie and Tekele Cotton, it would be a surprise to no one if the Wichita State alumni win the entire bracket.
No. 3 seed: Challenge ALS
Eberlein Drive may have its best roster to date, but Challenge ALS could have the best backcourt in the region. With former Eberlein Drive guard Jerome Randle and 2012 NBA D-League MVP Justin Dentmon, it won’t be easy for opponents to match up with this unit.
No. 4 seed: LA Cheaters
Led by TBT veteran Casper Ware, 2011 No. 2 overall NBA draft pick Derrick Williams and Klay Thompson’s older brother, Mychel, the Cheaters combine an explosive dimension with knock-down perimeter shooting. This team is mainly composed of the best talent in the Drew League, but they feature NBA caliber size and length.
No. 5 seed: Florida TNT
The best from the Sunshine State is spotlighted by former LSU guard Antonio Blakeney and TBT scoring machine Chris Warren. However, don’t underestimate DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, who has developed into an elite player in Turkey.
No. 6 seed: Team Arkansas (Arkansas alumni)
Jaylen Barford single-handedly carried Jackson TN in TBT two years ago with his unbelievable scoring abilities. Now, Barford is back with the Arkansas alumni squad, but this time he has plenty of sidekicks, including lights-out shooter Dusty Hannahs and former Little Rock guard Josh Hagins.
No. 7 seed: Purple & Black (Kansas State alumni)
The Kansas State alumni team will run through Kamau Stokes on offense, but the roster also features a top-notch defender and athlete in Cartier Diarra and physical big man Thomas Gipson.
No. 8 seed: The Enchantment (New Mexico alumni)
In its first year in TBT, New Mexico’s alumni team consists of two-time third-team All-Mountain West member Anthony Mathis, veterans like J.R. Giddens and Drew Gordon and lockdown guard Antino Jackson.
No. 9 seed: Stillwater Stars (Oklahoma State alumni)
Looking to improve upon a first-round exit in 2020, the Oklahoma State alumni certainly aren’t lacking in the star department as former NBA talent Markel Brown combines with two-way player Jeffrey Carroll.
No. 10 seed: Omaha Blue Crew (Creighton alumni)
Creighton fans are expected to pack Koch Arena for the alumni team’s first-round matchup vs. Purple & Black. While Doug McDermott is not walking through the door, Jahenns Manigat and Martin Krampelj could lead the Blue Crew on a potential run.
No. 11 seed: Fort Worth Funk (TCU alumni)
With point guard Alex Robinson and big man Vladimir Brodziansky on the roster, the TCU alumni team will try to recreate the magic of their 2017 NIT Championship squad.
No. 12 seed: Kimchi Express
Florida TNT wants nothing to do with Kimchi Express in the first round of the bracket for one reason: Nijal Pearson. The former Texas State guard is a pure scorer as he averaged over 15 points per game in his final three years of college.
No. 13 seed: Mental Toughness
This first-year TBT applicant represents the JCK Foundation, a mental health advocacy organization. The roster includes Marques Townes, who helped lead Loyola-Chicago to the NCAA tournament Final Four in 2018.
No. 14 seed: We Are D3
Despite being made up of Division III players, We Are D3 played Sons of Westwood (UCLA alumni) and Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse alumni) competitively on the road in back-to-back years.
No. 15 seed: Ex-Pats (Patriot League Alumni)
Former Bucknell guard and Patriot League Player of the Year Zach Thomas combines with the conference’s all-time assist leader Kahron Ross with a goal of pulling a shocking upset over the AfterShocks.
No. 16 seed: NG Saints
With players like former Syracuse talents Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson and ex-Miami guard Ja’Quan Newton, the NG Saints — a team representing powerhouse Philadelphia basketball program Neumann Goretti High School — is not your usual 16-seed.
No. 1 seed: Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni)
The defending champs are back with a similar roster that consists of Dwight Buycks, Jamil Wilson and Elgin Cook (Oregon). Add in a new face for Marquette’s alumni team, Vander Blue, and the Golden Eagles could become the first team to go back-to-back in TBT history.
No. 2 seed: House of ‘Paign (Illinois alumni)
Former Summit League legend Mike Daum didn’t attend Illinois, but “The Dauminator” will likely be one of the best players on the floor in TBT. The three-time Player of the Year will combine with elite scorer and distributor Demetri McCamey and do-it-all guard Brandon Paul to form the Illinois alumni squad.
No. 3 seed: Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse alumni)
The Syracuse alumni team has surprisingly only reached the semifinals once in six years competing in TBT, but with Chris McCullough and Tyler Lydon finally slated for their debuts, Boeheim’s Army may be the most dangerous 3-seed in the event.
No. 4 seed: Always Us (Oregon alumni)
If you’re looking for a star scorer who can lead his team to glory, Joe Young should be on your radar. The former Houston and Oregon guard averaged 18 or more points per game in his final three collegiate seasons and will now take the reins of the Ducks’ alumni team.
No. 5 seed: Autism Army
This first-year TBT participant is competing on behalf of the Life’s WORC organization, a non-profit providing care and support services for people with developmental disabilities and autism. Former Rhode Island forward Delroy James and ex-St. John’s legend D’Angelo Harrison will be the stars of the roster.
No. 6 seed: The Overlooked (Murray State alumni)
Two-time OVC Player of the Year and NBA veteran Isaiah Canaan will form a dangerous duo with 2019 OVC Defensive Player of the Year Shaq Buchanan as the Murray State alumni team looks to live up to their team name.
No. 7 seed: Brotherly Love
Despite reaching the quarterfinals in back-to-back TBT seasons, the pride of Philadelphia is still only a 7-seed. Will the underdogs that feature former Drexel guard Frantz Massenat use this as motivation?
No. 8 seed: Always A Brave (Bradley alumni)
The No. 9 overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft, Patrick O’Bryant, joins forces with recent graduates Darrell Brown and Nate Kennell as the Bradley alumni team returns to TBT for the first time since 2018.
No. 9 seed: Playing for Jimmy V
After COVID-19 forced them out of the 2020 bracket, Playing for Jimmy V has former Rutgers star guard Corey Sanders and Gonzaga’s all-time assist leader Josh Perkins on its roster.
No. 10 seed: Tubby Time
Former Minnesota guard Nate Mason will lead a team that will honor coach Tubby Smith by bringing together his former players.
No. 11 seed: HEARTFIRE
While they’re not classified as a Baylor alumni team, HEARTFIRE’s success will start and end with powerful big man Cory Jefferson and ex-Bears guard King McClure.
No. 12 seed: SCD Hoops
Led by former DePaul guard Billy Garrett Jr. and ex-Texas A&M star D.J. Hogg, SCD Hoops is a Chicago-based roster looking to spread awareness for sickle cell disease.
No. 13 seed: Peoria All-Stars
The Peoria All-Stars have never advanced out of the first round in four seasons in TBT. With former G League high-flyer Zach Andrews on the roster, will this finally be the year for an upset?
No. 14 seed: Forces of Seoul
Led by former Florida big man Vernon Macklin and ex-Indiana guard Josh Newkirk. Forces of Seoul is a group of American talents with international experience playing in South Korea.
No. 15 seed: Jackson TN Underdawgs
Without Barford running the show, Jackson TN will be without a lethal scorer who can take over a game in a heartbeat.
No. 16 seed: B1 Ballers
The B1 Ballers are a team of overseas pros — including ex-New Mexico forward Corey Manigault — who secured their spot in the field of 64 via buy-in.