The Basketball Tournament is officially in the books, and your 2020 champions are the Golden Eagles, a team comprised of mainly Marquette alumni that finished the 2019 tournament as the runner up. In this year’s championship game, they met No. 22 seed Sideline Cancer, who was fresh off of a stunning upset of Joe Johnson and his heavily favored Overseas Elite team. But after battling the Golden Eagles evenly for most of the game, the clock finally struck midnight on Cinderella when the Elam ending arrived. The score was tied at 70-70 when the target score of 78 was set, and ultimately, the Marquette alums got there first and won 78-73.
The Basketball Tournament is in its sixth year in existence, but with the NBA still on hiatus and fans desperate for any form of live sports, this was its first moment in the spotlight. It did not disappoint, as upsets were the dominant story of the 10-day run. No. 1 seed and defending champion Carmen’s Crew—built around Ohio State alumni—lost in the second round to No. 16 House of ‘Paign. In addition to taking down Overseas Elite, Sideline Cancer knocked off Boeheim’s Army, the No. 3 seed built around former Syracuse players.
The tournament bills itself around two gimmicks. The first is a major cash prize (which has grown as high as $2 million) to be split among the winning team. The second is the Elam Ending, which was used to great effect in the NBA All-Star Game. Combined, those two features add a layer of tension to every game that is missing in practically every other form of basketball. Losers get nothing. Every matchup ends on a game-winning shot.
This year, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, some changed were made to the tournament. The field was reduced to 24 teams, and the cash prize was lowered to $1 million. In addition, instead of a cross-country event, the entire tournament took place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, with players and staff members quarantined in one location. Four teams — Best Virginia, Mid-American Unity, Jackson TN Underdawgs, and Playing for Jimmy V — were replaced before the tournament started due to positive coronavirus tests. A fifth team, Eberlein Drive, was removed after the tournament was already underway.
“Although it’s difficult to release the teams that we have, we’re following our plan to control the spread of the virus within our bubble here in Columbus, [Ohio],” TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar said in a statement, via ESPN. “We have administered nearly 1,400 tests with just 31 positive cases, only five of which were in Columbus. We continue to have confidence in our health and safety plan to reduce the risk for everyone involved with TBT 2020.”
Dozens of former college and NBA players took part in this year’s iteration of the tournament, including Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson, who suited up for Overseas Elite. Carmen’s Crew, was led by Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft. Both teams in the championship game also have a bit of NBA experience. Sideline Cancer’s Jamel Artis played with the Orlando Magic during the 2017-18 season, while Darius Johnson-Odom of the Golden Eagles had stints with both the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.
Here are the results of every game:
No. 9 Big X 79, No. 24 D2 74No. 12 Brotherly Love 87, No. 21 Stillwater Stars 71No. 16 House of ‘Paign 76, No. 17 War Tampa, 53No. 13 Team CP3 76, No. 20 PrimeTime Players 74
No. 23 Herd That 80, No. 10 Peoria All-Stars 65No. 22 Sideline Cancer 93, No. 11 Team Hines 91No. 19 Men of Mackey 83, No. 14 Heartfire 79No. 15 Armored Athlete 98, No. 18 Power of the Paw 91Round 2 (Sweet Sixteen)
No. 5 Eberlein Drive (Disqualified due to positive COVID-19 test) vs. No. 12 Brotherly Love (Will automatically advance) No. 4 Golden Eagles 76, No. 13 Team CP3 67
No. 22 Sideline Cancer 76, No. 6 Team Challenge ALS 66No. 3 Boeheim’s Army 76, No. 19 Men of Mackey 69
No. 8 Red Scare 77, No. 9 Big X 68 No. 16 House of Paign 76, No. 1 Carmen’s Crew 68
No. 23 Herd That 102, No. 7 The Money Team 99No. 2 Overseas Elite 76, No. 15 Armored Athlete 70Round 3 (Elite Eight)
Quarterfinal 1: No. 4 Golden Eagles 83, No. 12 Team Brotherly Love 76Quarterfinal 2: No. 8 Red Scare 83, No. 16 House of Paign 76
Quarterfinal 3: No. 2 Overseas Elite 93, No. 23 Herd That 76Quarterfinal 4: No. 22 Sideline Cancer 65, No. 3 Boeheim’s Army 48Round 4 (Final Four)
Semifinal No. 1: No. 4 Golden Eagles 79, No. 8 Red Scare 70Semifinal No. 2: No. 22 Sideline Cancer 67, No. 2 Overseas Elite 65Round 5 (Championship)
All times Eastern
Final: No. 4 Golden Eagles 78, No. 22 Sideline Cancer 73