Ohio State alumni squad Scarlet and Gray is set to return to the court Friday night in Atlanta as they try to advance to The Basketball Tournament's quarterfinals for the second straight summer.
In order to do so however, the Buckeye alums will have get by the No. 12 seed Primetime Players without a pair of their best players, Jared Sullinger and B.J. Mullens. Sullinger, who is set to be married on Saturday, is expected to miss the entire weekend, while Mullens has decided to skip the remaining games in the tournament following a dispute over his share of the $2 million winnings that goes to the team who sweeps the bracket.
Scarlet and Gray is set to add former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden to its roster this weekend, after playing without the former Buckeye big man during the first weekend of play. Oden has not played in an organized setting since 2016, when he played in China for the Jiangsu Dragons.
In addition to Oden, Scarlet and Gray will also likely rely on the likes of Dallas Lauderdale and Evan Ravenel (pictured above). Lauderdale started both of Scarlet and Gray's first- and second-round games, while Ravenel did not see action in the second round after playing 10 minutes and scoring six points in the tournament opener.
Oden's health and conditioning kept him from playing in last summer's tournament, but this year he hopes to make a contribution, even if it might be minimal.
"This year, I have been running up and down with the guys, doing cardio with the team and lifting," Oden, a student assistant on Chris Holtmann's staff, said July 9. "Just trying to get my baby weight off. My daughter is almost two now. I just wasn't ready. I tried, but I would have looked terrible. This year, hopefully I can do some things."
Oden has been working out with the team when in town, and was recently seen scoring the game-winning point in a team scrimmage on head coach Scoonie Penn's Instagram page.
While it remains to be seen how much Oden will play, his minutes become increasingly more important as Sullinger, Scarlet and Gray's best player over the last two summers, is likely to miss the entire weekend.
The good news for Scarlet and Gray is that the Primetime Players roster is small, compared to the size of the former Buckeyes. Curtis Withers and Jervon Presley both stand 6-foot-8 for the Primetime Players, but are also the tallest players on their roster. Scarlet & Gray will boast four players that are either 6-foot-7 or taller on Friday, including Lauderdale, Ravenel, Oden and Leon Rodgers, who is entering his second summer with the team.
The Primetime Players roster is made up largely of alumni from a variety of smaller schools. They advanced through to the Super 16 by upsetting both No. 5 seed Always a Brave and No. 4 seed Big X, the team that featured Andrew Dakich. Both games were close, as the Primetime Players won by a combined seven points in the two contests.
Should Scarlet and Gray defeat the Primetime Players on Friday at 9 p.m. on ESPN, they would advance to the quarterfinals to take on the winner of Team Fredette vs. Fort Wayne Champs. The quarterfinal game would be played on Sunday at 3 p.m.