Los Angeles, CA — 72 Teams. One Winner. $2 Million.
The Basketball Tournament (yes, that’s the actual name or TBT) is nothing like you have ever experienced. Now in its fifth summer, the tournament is streamed on ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN 3 all over the world, from Europe to the Middle East to Africa to the United States.
This single-elimination, winner-takes-all event hosts 72 teams, with 18 teams in each of the four regions (Midwest, Northeast, West and South). Any team can enter, but there are specific ways in which a team can enter to win the 5-on-5 tournament.
The nine teams with the most supporters in each region are welcomed to play in the tournament. If a team did not receive enough support to enter, they can either buy themselves in with $5,000 or be chosen at-large. Last but not least, the final spot is held for the previous regional champions.
Many teams have active pros that play, but do not fret, many do not as well. You know, in case you were thinking of joining in on the fun.
“Last year, 16 players went on from TBT to sign contracts with NBA teams,” explained a TBT spokesman. This comes to show how high profile and competitive this tournament is.
The application process begins in April, with the tournament itself starting in July. 10% of the proceeds go to the top 201 fans of the winning team, while the remaining 90% goes to the GM, players, boosters, and coaches, so everyone gets a nice slice of the money cake.
Speaking of July games, on July 14 Kimchi Express and DuBois Dream went head-to-head in a West Regional matchup at California State University, in Los Angeles. Both teams lost in the 1st round in 2016 and 2017 and each team came into the competition based off of popularity, so it was fitting they went against each other this year.
Kimchi Express has zero active pros on their team, meanwhile DuBois has two; however, that did not seem to stop Kimchi from taking over the game.
Kimchi Express led for the first 17 minutes of the game; to put this in perspective, unlike the NBA’s 12-minute quarters, TBT only has nine minutes, so they led for nearly the entire first half. Kimchi’s Marqueze Coleman and Will Davis II turned up on the court and scored the highest points in the first quarter, creating a nice six-point gap to enter in the second. Both teams played with passion, but Kimchi had the fan base to back them up, as the crowd fueled their engine.
The second quarter told a similar tale, with Coleman shooting an eye-opening three to fire up Kimchi’s momentum, but their team’s momentum was not the only one affected. DuBois appeared as if they had it with losing and decided to turn up the heat. Kimchi’s defense started to slip, which created many opportunities for DuBois to shoot their shot. The team switched up the scoreboard and took over the lead in the third with a score of 85-83. DuBois general manager/small forward Albert Varacallo had the last shot in with a quick three.
As if this tournament was not interesting enough, in the last four minutes of every fourth quarter, seven points get added to the highest score, and that becomes the new “Target Score.” The first team to reach the “Target Score” wins the game and the clock stops.
Kimchi was at 97 in the last four minutes, so the “Target Score” read 104. It was an intense last four minutes since DuBois was only behind by three, but with Coleman’s 31 points and counting, Kimchi pulled through and took home a 104-96 win.
“It was a long road to get here, a lot of fan voting, but players here like Marqueze, man. We got it done, we got it done. It feels great,” said Kimichi Express GM/center Daniel Chun about teammate Marqueze Coleman who had a great game.
With the win, Kimchi Express advanced to the next round and is that much closer to winning the grand prize of $2 million. The semifinals will begin August 2, with the $2 million championship game being held at The Fieldhouse at Morgan State University on August 3.
Which team will you be supporting?