Like all other sports leagues and events, The Basketball Tournament has had to take some extreme and unique measures in order to be able to play this summer. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the seventh edition of the high-stakes, winner-take-all tournament will features just 24 teams, and will take place entirely at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Unfortunately, as everyone in the sports world is finding out, even with enhanced health and safety measures in place, the virus cannot be fully contained. As a result of positive COVID-19 tests, four teams have now been forced to drop out of the event. In fact, the latest squad to be forced out of the event -- Playing For Jimmy V -- was already a replacement for another team that had a positive test. Via ESPN:
Playing for Jimmy V, led by former Gonzaga star Josh Perkins, was initially on standby as a replacement team because of concerns about COVID-19 and only entered the field last month in place of Best Virginia, after the team of former West Virginia stars withdrew following a player's positive test.
Peoria All-Stars, the last of the tournament's four replacement teams, will replace Playing for Jimmy V. Earlier this week, Mid-American Unity and Jackson TN Underdawgs were also eliminated and replaced following positive tests.
Despite the rash of teams having to leave the event, TBT director Jon Mugar said he's confident the event will be able to crown a champion.
"There is no predicting this situation," Mugar said. "But I'm very optimistic that we will crown a TBT champion."
The single-elimination event begins on Saturday, July 4 with four first-round games, and will conclude with the championship game on July 14. Because of the circumstances, the cash prize has been lowered to $1 million, but will still be winner-take-all.
There will be a number of big names participating, including Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul, who is acting as GM for Team CP3. Joe Johnson and Jarrett Jack will both be suiting up for Overseas Elite, who hold the record with four titles. Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, was on Playing For Jimmy V's roster, but will not be playing now as they've been one of the teams removed from the event.