They never got an NCAA Tournament title during their Ohio State playing days, but a team of Buckeye alums are on the verge of winning a different tournament – with a substantially larger cash prize.
Carmen's Crew – made up primarily of former Buckeye basketball players – will play for the TBT title on Tuesday night, taking on a team of Marquette alums called the Golden Eagles with a $2 million cash prize on the line.
After cruising through most of the tournament, Carmen's Crew notched the biggest win in the Ohio State alumni team's TBT history on Sunday afternoon when it topped four-time reigning champion Overseas Elite, handing them their first loss in TBT history.
Sweet victory. pic.twitter.com/6Y11gtlgq0— Eleven Warriors (@11W) August 4, 2019
Now Carmen's Crew faces a Golden Eagle team that features four players in ESPN's latest top-25 TBT players list – all of whom were in double figures heading into the final three games in Chicago.
The Golden Eagles are led by guard Dwight Buycks, who's averaging 22.6 points per game this Tournament including a 34-point performance in the round of 16. He's reached double figures in every one of the games this tournament.
The Golden Eagles have two more players averaging more than 15 points per game with Jamil Wilson and Elgin Cook averaging 18.7 and 15.4 respectively. Wilson has dominated the tournament with an inside-out presence, hitting 12 threes but averaging nearly nine rebounds a game, while Cook has been the team's second-leading rebounder.
But Carmen's Crew isn't without its own playmakers.
Led by William Buford's 18.6 points per game, Carmen's Crew has three other players in double figures – David Lighty (15), former Illinois guard Demetri McCamey (10.5) and former Otterbein guard Jeff Gibbs (10) – with Aaron Craft nearly joining them with 9.6 points per game.
We got a vintage Aaron Craft performance today. The rosy-cheeked finished with 7 (!!!) steals. pic.twitter.com/pKQC1EEkmw— Eleven Warriors (@11W) August 4, 2019
The scoring is there, but Carmen's Crew's strength this tournament has been its defense, with Craft leading the way in the backcourt, finishing with a TBT career-high seven steals against Overseas Elite.
These teams have met before in the 2017 TBT quarterfinals – with two different rosters and a different team name (Scarlet & Gray) for the Ohio State alums – and Scarlet and Gray trounced the Golden Eagles 81-56.
This matchup figures to be much closer, but ESPN's experts are nearly unanimously picking a Carmen's Crew victory.
#TBT2019 Championship Game Predictions:— TBT (@thetournament) August 6, 2019
@JayBilas: CC 78, GE 72
@SethOnHoops: CC 72, GE 70
@dandakich: CC 78, GE 74
@PaulBiancardi: CC 75, GE 69
@MedcalfByESPN: CC 80, GE 77
@jeffborzello: GE 74, CC 69
@chinstrapcc: CC 79, GE 74
The battle for the $2 million cash prize and the TBT title tips off at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.