Usually the Prime Time League is the only Iowa hoops-flavored action we get in the summer, but this year might be a little different, thanks to TBT. TBT, or The Basketball Tournament, is an annual summer tournament featuring teams around the country competing for a $2 million prize. TBT has been around for three years and it's been steadily growing since its inception -- the initial winning prize was $500,000 and last year's was $1 million.
So how's it all work? I'll let them explain:
- TBT is open to anyone. From professionals to former college stars to YMCA heroes
- TBT is free to enter. Anyone who can get the votes can play
- A 64 team field will play in 4 regions of 16 (Northeast, South, Midwest, West)
- To qualify, a team must have a minimum of 200 votes and 7 players on its roster by June 1
- Teams gain entry by being one of the top vote getters in each region (who will receive "automatic" bids), getting an at-large bid, by being a regional champion the previous year, or by winning our charity fundraiser.
- After qualification ends, TBT will seed teams 1-16 and the resulting 64 teams will compete in a single-elimination, 5 on 5, March Madness style tournament
- If the four semifinalists from 2015 qualify by June 1, they're in
- TBT's application period runs from April 1 to June 1 on TheTournament.com
- Teams can qualify for TBT 2016 only by getting votes on TheTournament.com from fans who register on the site
- Registered fans vote for the teams they like and support; up to 4 votes per fan
- Fans accrue points by getting their friends and family to join them in voting
The regional rounds will be held in Los Angeles (West), Charlotte (South), Chicago (Midwest), and Philadelphia (Northeast) the weekends of July 9-10 and July 16-17. The Super 16 and Quarterfinal rounds will be held in Philadelphia the weekend of July 21-23, the semifinals will be held in New York on July 30, and the $2 Million Championship Game will take place in New York on August 2. ESPN will broadcast the semifinals and championship game.
So why do we care? Because this year's edition of TBT is set to have some Iowa flavor to it. Anthony Clemmons and Jarryd Cole are both representing the Hawkeyes on Team Sideline Cancer. Clemmons and Cole's careers at Iowa never overlapped -- Cole's final year was the first year of Fran's Iowa tenure, a struggle-filled season that did provide Cole with at least one shining moment when he helped lead Iowa to an upset of a top-ten ranked Purdue team on Senior Day, while Clemmons started at Iowa two years later, but once a Hawkeye always a Hawkeye. Another Hawkeye -- Cyrus "The Virus" Tate -- is also participating on Team Midwest Dream Squad. Tate played for the Hawkeyes many moons ago, during a time period most Iowa fans would (understandably) like to forget, but he still did fun stuff like this:
It wasn't really his fault that Iowa just wasn't very good back then.
So check out the pages for Team Sideline Cancer and Team Midwest Dream Squad, register at TBT, vote for them, and root for the former Iowa guys to advance in the event when it takes place later this summer.