The Basketball Tournament is a single-elimination, winner-take-all open tournament now in its second year in existence. Last year, in the inaugural edition, 32 teams competed for the top prize. This year, the field has increased to 97 and the payout has doubled to $1 million. The games will be televised on ESPN.
Three former Huskies will be taking part in the action: Josh Boone, Ater Majok, and Jerome Dyson. Other notable names who are involved include Nate Robinson, Jason Williams, Brian Scalabrine, Hakim Warrick and Michael Sweetney. Overall there will be 125 players with NBA or NBA D-League experience and over 500 with some professional experience.
The make-up of teams ranges from regional, like the "DMV" (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) team or alumni of a specific school. A group of University of Mississippi alumni will be led by Marshall Henderson. Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virginia, Temple, Syracuse and Notre Dame will have teams as well. There will even be a team representing the legendary New Jersey high school St. Anthony's, who were coached by Hall of Famer Bob Hurley.
There's even a team called "Bracket Busters" featuring players from the Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast teams who upset Duke and Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament, respectively. Although they do not have their own team, there will be solid representation from the University of Florida, Georgetown, Villanova and UConn. There is also a team honoring the late Rick Majerus, who was most recently head coach at St. Louis.
Former UConn walk-on Kyle Bailey was trying to put together a UConn alumni team, but the numbers came up short. Hopefully they can make it happen next year. UConn players tend to perform well in single-elimination tournaments.
Besides giving former Notre Dame basketball players a place to feel good about themselves, The Basketball Tournament allows teams to promote and support a number of charitable causes. The field of 97 will be whittled down to 17 who will play in Chicago for the opportunity to advance to the final in New York City to claim the $1 million prize. Regional rounds will be held in LA and Atlanta (July 10-12) and another in Philadelphia and Chicago (July 17-19).
Ater Majok is playing on Team Mill Rats, along with alumni from UMass, URI, Robert Morris and Chattanooga. They will be competing in the Midwest Region in Chicago.
Boonie is playing on Team Slam with former Florida star Matt Walsh and players from Providence, St. Johns, Fordham and Penn State. They will be playing in the Midwest regional as well. They will be playing in support of a non-profit called Pencils of Promise, a group which helps build schools and train teachers to improve the quality of education in the developing world.
Dyson will be playing on The Citi Team, along with dudes from Iowa, UMass, Loyola Marymount, and UNH. They are playing in the Northeast Regional in Philadelphia.
The action will be televised on ESPN starting July 10th.
GO (former) HUSKIES!