Each offseason brings a great deal of exciting events for the Big Ten and its fans. One event that looks to be a lot of fun for fans around the conference is The Basketball Tournament (TBT). The event is a single-elimination, take-all, open-application tournament launched in 2014 that will feature several former Big Ten players.
Adding to the excitement is a $1 million prize and a chance to play on ESPN. Jonathan Mugar, the found of TBT talked about interest in the event recently.
"The interest in the event has surpassed our expectations since we announced the prize money and our ESPN partnership, and we think people will be both amazed and impressed with the teams that will be enrolling in the coming weeks," said Jonathan Mugar, Founder of The Basketball Tournament. "The competitiveness, quality and depth of play in year one was impressive, and we already know that this year's entrants will take the event to an even higher level."
Among interest to Big Ten fans will be a large number of former Big Ten players participating. Just take a look at some of the high profile former Big Ten players taking part.
High Profile Big Ten Participants:
- Michael Bruesewitz (Wisconsin)
- Jordan Hulls (Indiana)
- Frank Kaminsky, Team Booster (Wisconsin)
- Will Sheehey (Indiana)
- Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin)
- Christian Watford (Indiana)
Entry into TBT is free, with an application period that runs from April 1st through June 1st. The only way for teams to qualify is to organize themselves and recruit votes via TheTournament.com. To be considered for entry, teams must consist of a General Manager (GM), at least seven players, and have 100+ votes. GMs will create team profiles on TheTournament.com in hopes of garnering enough votes to get an automatic bid to the tournament by the June 1st application deadline. Applicants must be 18 or older. Fans who have registered on TheTournament.com will vote for their favorite teams, and 18 teams per region will be selected solely based on how many fan votes they are able to recruit online. TBT will invite six additional teams to play in each region based on creativity and talent. Additionally, for the first time anywhere, the winning team's fan group will share 5% ($50,000) of the overall prize.
Opening rounds for the 96 team field begin July 10-12 at regional sites in Los Angeles and Atlanta and continue July 17-19 in Chicago and Philadelphia. Play continues on Thursday, July23, when defending champion Notre Dame Fighting Alumni meet the lower seeded Chicago entrant in the opening game of the Super 17 live from Chicago and televised on ESPNU. Play continues the following day on Friday, July 24, from Chicago, with the Round of 16, which TBT will live stream. ESPNU will then carry all four Quarterfinal games on Saturday July 25, marathon coverage, live from Chicago. Whoever makes it out of Chicago will then travel to New York City for the semifinals on Saturday, August 1, carried live on ESPN. The next day, Sunday, August 2, the two finalists will play in the winner-take-all, $1 Million Championship Game, at 3pm ET on ESPN. In 2015, up to 96 teams plus defending champion Notre Dame Fighting Alumni will play for a grand prize of $1 Million, doubling last year's prize of $500,000. Venues in each city will be announced shortly.
This is definitely an event worth checking out for Big Ten fans and a chance to see some of the top Big Ten players in action over the summer. You can check out their website here: The Basketball Tournament.