The first live basketball played in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic wasn't the NBA or WNBA. Instead, it was The Basketball Tournament. Since 2014, TBT has brought some of the best ballers from around the globe together to compete in a high-stakes tournament where the winning team wins $1 million.
After a number of games, including several upsets along the way, since the tournament began July 4, TBT's Final Four will take place on Sunday. The Golden Eagles will take on the Red Scare while Overseas Elite will do battle against Sideline Cancer. The tournament, as a whole, will conclude with the championship game on Tuesday, July 14.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some changes were made so the event could still take place, but for the most part the game play has remained the same. Four teams -- Best Virginia, Mid-American Unity, Jackson TN Underdawgs, and Playing for Jimmy V -- were replaced before the tournament started due to positive coronavirus tests. A fifth team, Eberlein Drive, was removed after the tournament was already underway. Eberlein Drive was supposed to play in the Sweet 16, but instead their scheduled opponent, Brotherly Love, automatically advanced to the next round.
"Although it's difficult to release the teams that we have, we're following our plan to control the spread of the virus within our bubble here in Columbus, [Ohio]," TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar said in a statement, via ESPN. "We have administered nearly 1,400 tests with just 31 positive cases, only five of which were in Columbus. We continue to have confidence in our health and safety plan to reduce the risk for everyone involved with TBT 2020. It's unfortunate Playing for Jimmy V won't be able to continue in TBT 2020. We are hopeful the team member has a quick recovery."
Also, instead of the tournament taking place across nine different cities in the United States, the entirety of the tournament will take place in one location -- at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio over the course of 10 days. All players and staffers helping with the event will be quarantined in a central location, with frequent testing to try as best as possible to limit the exposure of the virus. Fans won't be in attendance, but the entire tournament will be televised in the U.S., and will also be available to watch via live stream in over 135 countries.
TBT popularized the Elam Ending, where the game clock is shut off halfway through the fourth quarter, and a target score is set to determine a winner. This tactic makes the ending of the game far more entertaining, as both teams have an incentive to remain competitive until the target score is reached. The Elam Ending has been so successful for TBT, that even NBA used it during the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which created one of the most memorable events in NBA All-Star Weekend history.
The tournament includes 24 teams, and features some well known former college standouts, as well as some former NBA players, none more notable than seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson. The former NBA player will be playing for Overseas Elite, which has won four of the six titles in TBT history. Johnson will be joined by NBA veteran Jarrett Jack, as Overseas Elite looks to exact some revenge for losing in the championship in 2019 against Carmen's Crew.
Here's all the information you need to know about the 2020 edition of The Basketball Tournament.
Dates: July 4 - July 14 | Schedule: Times, dates, TV info
TV: ESPN/ESPN2 | Live stream: ESPN app
- Boeheim's Army (Syracuse alumni)
- Golden Eagles (Marquette Alumni)
- Team Brotherly Love
- Peoria All-Stars
- Armored Athlete
- Sideline Cancer
- War Tampa
- Team Hines
- Stillwater Stars (Oklahoma State alumni)
- Power of the Paw (Clemson alumni)
- Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni)
- Overseas Elite
- House of 'Paign (Illinois alumni)
- Men of Mackey (Purdue alumni)
- Red Scare (Dayton alumni)
- The Money Team
- PrimeTime Players
- Big X
- Team CP3
- Herd That (Marshall alumni)
- Peoria All-Stars
- Eberlein Drive
- Team Challenge ALS