Last summer, some basketball-mad entrepreneurs launched a tournament that vowed to answer the question: "what would happen if March Madness were open to anyone?" The initial edition of The Basketball Tournament (TBT for short)was won by a team of Notre Dame alumni who will return this summer to defend their title. The Wildcats last summer, were represented by Team ROBY, named after 2009 graduate Dwayne Anderson's brand, "Rock Out, Be You."
That team featured Scottie Reynolds, Reggie Redding, Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson, Antonio Pena, Corey Fisher and Mouph Yarou. This summer's tournament will not see them return to action. Instead, a team named after fellow SB Nation blog, Liberty Ballers, will make a run at the summer hoops title with Antonio Pena and Reggie Redding on-board.
The two Villanova alums are planning to team up with Kenny Hasbrouck, Ronald Moore, and Ryan Rossiter from Siena, Ryan Brooks from Temple, Garrett Williamson from St. Joe's and a few other players.
The expanded tournament -- which now features 96 teams -- will play out in four regions, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles and the winners will receive a $1,000,000.00 grand prize (double what the winners got last season. The regional rounds will play out from July 10-19th, with 17 teams advancing to the "Super 17" round in Chicago, before the semifinals and finals are played in New York on August 1st and 2nd.
They even have a broadcast contract with ESPN this year, putting the quarterfinals on ESPN U and the semifinals and finals on the ESPN mothership.
Teams need to be voted into the field, however, so like last year, the teams with the most registered fans in each region will be entered into the field, with the tournament organizers giving the last six spots in each of the regions to teams they have selected "at large." In order to help push a team into the field, head over to TheTournament.com and sign-up, then select the team you want to be a fan of.
The tournament will feature alumni teams from Wisconsin, Syracuse, UConn, Indiana, UVA, Colorado, Oklahoma, SDSU, La Salle, Temple, Xavier, Drexel, Cornell, and Providence among others. More could register still, however, and the deadline to sign up will be June 1. Georgetown alumni are playing on the "DMV's Finest" squad, including Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Jason Clark, while the Syracuse alumni include Hakim Warrick, Donte Greene and Eric Devendorf.