Malcolm Grant and Isaiah Armwood are once again Wildcats come Saturday, when they lace up their sneakers with former teammates Scott "Scottie" Reynolds, Reggie Redding, Mouph Yarou, James Bell, Mo Sutton, Corey Fisher, and Antonio Pena to play in The Basketball Tournament -- a summer basketball tournament that goes by TBT. The field is comprised of 64 teams, many from Alumni groups, who will compete for a $2 million prize this month.
Summer Leagues are common -- players from colleges and pro leagues meet for moderately-organized games in small gyms or outdoors to keep their skills sharp against live competition. TBT is a little more structured than that; teams are required to form early in the summer with minimum roster sizes and are entered into the tournament after a round of fan voting.
TBT takes a number of cues from the NCAA Tournament -- with 64 teams it is similar in size, and it is also divided into four regions, to cover the United States. They've even seeded the teams; SuperNOVA was given a six-seed, while returning champions City of Gods is the one-seed.
SuperNOVA is one of 16 teams participating in the Northeast's regional on Saturday, July 16. They'll face off against a team of Bucknell Alumni (and no, Jay Wright is not on their roster) named the PA RoadWarriors. The RoadWarriors have a good amount of height, though it isn't clear if former Bison standouts like Mike Muscala (6'11" Center) are likely to suit up for the team. SuperNOVA should be the all-around better team in this match-up, but it's Summer basketball.
The winner of Saturday's meeting will take on the winner of "Untouchables" vs. "Sideline Cancer." The former is a team of mostly Pitt alumni with NY football Giants receiver Victor Cruz acting as a prominent "booster." They feature ex-Panthers Levance Fields, Jermaine Dixon, Brad Wanamaker and Gary McGhee. The latter team is playing for the Greg and Cathy Griffith Family Foundation to help defeat pancreatic cancer -- they're a mix of players from schools big and small who made a run through the regional rounds of TBT last summer.
SuperNOVA is not the favorite to come out of next weekend's regional rounds -- though the seedings are hardly gospel. Only one "expert" rounded up by TBT has picked the reigning champions to win the region, let alone repeat. Similarly, at least one of their experts (Jeff Goodman) did pick the Villanova alumni to advance past next weekend.
The Northeast games will be played at the Gallagher Center of Philadelphia University on the 16th and 17th. The "Super 16" round will continue in Philadelphia July 21-23.