Ohio State alumni squad Scarlet & Gray earned a No. 1 seed in this year's The Basketball Tournament and they begin their quest for the $2 million payout later this afternoon at Capital University against the No. 16 seed West Virginia Wildcats.
Having reached the semifinals last year, the group is gunning for more this season and bolstered the roster a bit to do so. Returning players Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, David Lighty, and Evan Ravenel will also welcome Penn State alum Talor Battle to the fold along with former Buckeyes
Leg Greg Oden and Byron Mullens.
Step one begins at 4:00 p.m. against a West Virginia squad that handled No. 17 seed Charlotte Chess Center with ease, 114-87, in a play-in game.
Shooting guard Stevie Browning, a former star at Marshall who now plays professionally overseas, paced the Wildcats with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting while point guard Santino Ditrapano added 20 points.
Fellow Marshall alum Ryan Taylor added 16 points and 10 boards for a Wildcats squad that shot 63% from the floor thanks in large part to a host of dunks.
An added twist to this year's TBT is the deployment of the Elam Ending, orchestrated by Mensa member Dr. Nick Elam in an effort to avoid foul fests down the stretch.
Under the rule, at the first dead ball after the four minute mark in the fourth quarter, the game clock shuts off. A Target Score is set by adding seven to the leading team’s score. The first team to reach the Target Score wins.
The rule ensures every contest ends via a game-winning shot instead of a free throw contest that rarely enables the trailing team to come from behind. For a tournament most of us can only get sorta excited about, sign me up. Some of the players however aren't as bullish, including Ravenel.
"We have never done it. You play with it in open gym, but never in an actual game setting. Personally, I don't like it. Looking at it from a fan perspective, it's exciting. Every game is going to end on a game-winner. You give everyone a chance to win the game, no matter how much you are up. It's all about how much will and determination you have as a player and as a team to fight and win the game."
Turns out Dan Dakich and Paul Keels will be on the television call:
.@thetournament continues today and all wknd on ESPN nets w/ the Northeast and Midwest regionals. Commentators incl @ericduick @Timscar20 @DavePopkin @RobbieHummel @BrianBedo @CJVosters @dandakich @CoachZZ @JenHale504 and more. pic.twitter.com/YrWs4mROIX
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) July 20, 2018
Here's your tournament bracket:
The #TBT2018 bracket is here!
— TBT (@thetournament) June 6, 2018