The Basketball Tournament (or TBT), for those who are unfamiliar, is a single elimination and open application 5 on 5 tournament with a winner-take-all setup. As the tournament has grown in popularity, so too has the grand prize purse. In 2014, the winning team took home $500,000. Last year, that doubled to one million dollars. Sticking with the theme, this 2016 tournament features a winner take all two million dollar prize for the winning team.
The tournament requires players to forfeit their amateur status, so it's made up entirely of alumni. In some cases, these are very recognizable alumni names. Big name former Big Ten athletes are set to appear on teams in this upcoming tournament from schools such as the Northwestern Wildcats, the Purdue Boilermakers, Michigan State Spartans and the Indiana Hoosiers.
Northwestern Wildcats in TBT:
The "120 Sports" team is a team that features multiple former Wildcats, including some big name guys like Drew Crawford, Michael Thompson and probably the biggest name in Northwestern basketball in recent memory in John Shurna. Along with these former Northwestern stars is Craig Moore, who himself is certainly a noteworthy player. He still holds the all-time record for three point shots made in Northwestern basketball history.
The team also features Tim Doyle as a booster. Doyle of course was a member of the All Big-Ten team back in 2007 and is currently a television analyst for the Big Ten Network.
Purdue Boilermakers in TBT:
While having the four former Northwestern players playing for 120 Sports wasn't enough, they also throw out one of the best players to have come through the Big Ten conference in the past decade. Robbie Hummel, former star of the Purdue Boilermakers joins this squad that has a very legitimate chance to bring home the two million dollars. Hummel, after leaving Purdue, played for a short time bouncing between the NBA and European leagues before a shoulder injury led to a return to the USA for rehab.
He then found a spot on the Purdue Boilermakers sideline as a sort of 'special assistant' for Matt Painter, and also found a bit of work helping out with the studio broadcasts and on site analysis for the Big Ten Network near the end of this past season.
Michigan State Spartans in TBT:
The Michigan State Spartans feature an alumni team named "Spartans Heroes" that, of course, features a few recognizable names from recent teams. Guys like Korie Lucious, Derrick Nix, Delvon Roe and even Charlie Bell who has some winning experience representing Sparty, winning the National Championship in 2000, are expecting to be stepping on the court to represent their alma mater in the upcoming tournament.
Indiana Hoosiers in TBT:
On a team named Armored Athlete, a few Indiana Hoosiers are hoping to remake some of the noise that they made in their playing careers. Three Indiana Hoosiers will be playing for the team and one of the most recognizable Hoosiers is a part of the team as their booster. Christian Watford, who might still be feeling a little soreness from the mobbing that took place after his game winner against Kentucky all those years back, Will Sheehey and Jordan Hulls will be suiting up once again to help a team win some big time games. Former Hoosier and current Charlotte Hornet Cody Zeller is the team's booster.
As was mentioned, TBT has grown in popularity over the past few years and this year it has reached a high point of popularity. As a result, they've secured 11 games on ESPN Networks starting with the Super 16 round. There will be 3 games on ESPN, including the August 2nd Championship. 6 games will air on ESPN2, and 2 more will air on ESPNU, while 4 more games will be view-able online through ESPN3.
If all goes well for these teams, we could have a chance to watch some of the former stars of this conference once again competing at a high level against good quality competition in the spotlight.