Golden Eagles Begin TBT 2020 Title Chase
Update (7/6/20): TBT has removed Eberlein Drive from the competition after one of its players tested positive for COVID-19, as per TBT 2020 protocol.
Team Brotherly Love will automatically advance to the quarterfinals
Despite an international pandemic doing its best to keep TBT 2020 sidelined, it is here. Nothing can stop the Elam Ending from proving its worth on national television, not even the plague.
TBT 2020, like previous iterations, boasts a number of names you’re familiar with if you’ve watched enough college basketball in the last 15 years. It also has a ton of guys you never heard of but were killing it at Southwestern A&M Poly Tech in 2008 and have built solid overseas careers for themselves since. The point is: the level of play is legit, and the $1 million winner-take-all prize means these games are serious.
We’re on to the next round of this tournament, and that means an increased intensity and higher level of play. Think you can handle it? I heard you couldn’t.
TBT 2020 Day 3 Matchups
All times Eastern.
5 Eberlein Drive vs. 12 Team Brotherly Love (N/A)
Eberlein Drive is a grizzled TBT vet, having played in every iteration of the tournament and finishing second in 2018. In 2020, two LSU products and J.P. Macura have me the most excited about this roster.
Tim Quarterman and Emmitt Williams represent the Bayou, former LSU players from the last five years who were instrumental in any success their Tigers teams saw. Quarterman has gone from the G League to China, Israel, New Zealand and back since leaving school in 2016, and Williams, a five-star recruit in high school, averaged 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore in Baton Rouge.
Macura was a firework in college at Xavier, sometimes allowing his emotions to show in ways that made opposing student sections frustrated, to say the least. In all four of his collegiate seasons, he scored at least 16.2 points per game, and by the time he was a senior, he was adding almost four assists and six rebounds to that in each outing. In his two seasons in the G League, Macura hasn’t slowed down, putting up 14.2 points per contest last season for the Canton Charge. He’s still the same scorer he was a few years ago at Xavier, and his TBT opponents better be ready for him.
In Team Brotherly Love’s first game against Stillwater Stars, Khalif Wyatt showed that he’s still the scorer he was at Temple. His 27 points helped lift his team to a comfortable 84-71 victory, capping off by his attitude-filled triple to seal the deal in the Elam Ending. Stillwater Stars gave Team Brotherly Love a fight, holding a slim lead midway through the third quarter. But if there’s one thing that’s for certain: this team of Philadelphia tough guys ain’t going down easy.
Don’t take your eyes off D.J. Newbill, the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBL (Australia) last season. Wyatt was the game last game, but Newbill is very capable of being that in the second or any subsequent game. And if the award from the NBL doesn’t tip you off, keep your eyes on how well Newbill plays on the other side of the floor, too.
4 Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni) vs. 13 Team CP3 (7 p.m., ESPN)
Golden Eagles made it all the way to the final of TBT 2019 before falling to Carmen’s Crew, and this time around, the team has added even more deadly Marquette alumni to its roster. Darius Johnson-Odom, who has enjoyed an overseas career for almost a decade and has played in a few NBA games, and Luke Fischer, 2013 Mr. Wisconsin Basketball and double-digit scorer in each of his three seasons with Marquette, have joined an already star-studded lineup featuring Maurice Acker, Dwight Buycks, Elgin Cook and more.
This is one of the trust alumni teams in the tournament, so to speak, with almost every player claiming former Golden Eagles status. Last year, the chemistry and understanding among the players was evident and clearly played a role in the team’s success. There’s not much to indicate it will be any different in TBT 2020, especially considering the restraints the coronavirus have put on all teams and their abilities to practice and be together before the event.
Golden Eagles have to be considered one of the favorites to win the whole thing, but first, it will need to deal with Team CP3. Chris Paul’s team got through its first matchup with a game-winning dunk via CJ Harris to finish off the neck-and-neck Elam Ending with PrimeTime Players, 76-74.
Nate Mason (Minnesota) was the deadliest offensive weapon for Team CP3 against PrimeTime Players, going for 26 necessary points in the matchup. For the Golden Gophers in college, Mason played the role of crucial scorer, and Team CP3 seems to be asking him to do much of the same in TBT 2020. If he continues to be an offensive juggernaut, this squad will be a tough out no matter who the opponent is.