A Tennessee basketball alumni team known as the Ballinteers has announced via Twitter that they will not be participating in the 2020 edition of The Basketball Tournament (TBT).
The Ballinteers cited provisions put in place due to COVID-19 as the reason for not competing. However, they did not rule out the possibility of making their debut in 2021.
Vols fans, we’ll see you next summer. Thank you for all the support! 🍊 pic.twitter.com/FDLJUDgCvI
— Ballinteers (@TBTBallinteers) June 11, 2020
The team consists of former Vols: Wayne Chism, Chris Lofton, Kevin Punter, Jarnell Stokes, Robert Hubbs, John Fields, Duke Crews, Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum, Kenny Hall, Jauan Smith, and Scotty Hopson. The coaching staff features Bobby Maze as GM, Ron Slay as head coach, and Tyler Smith as assistant coach.
The Ballinteers were a popular pick to win the $1 Million cash prize, with each player receiving $140,000. They were ranked as high as second at one point in the TBT power rankings.
Maze first announced the creation of the team on May 4, and released the full roster the next day. Seven of the Ballinteers were a part of Bruce Pearl’s 2010 Elite Eight team, the deepest run in the tournament of any Tennessee basketball squad.
The Basketball Tournament is scheduled to be held in Columbus, Ohio in Nationwide Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN networks from July 4-14. TBT’s bracket release is scheduled for June 16, consisting of 24 teams chosen from the pool of applicants. The games have nine-minute quarters, and use the “Elam Ending,” where in the fourth quarter, the teams play toward a target score, determined by adding a set amount of points to the leading team’s existing point total. The first team to reach the target score wins.
Even though the Ballinteers won’t be competing this year, look for them to enter The Basketball Tournament in the coming years. The former Vols were poised to give more experienced teams a run for their money and legitimately contend for the cash prize.
These guys aren’t just any pushovers, and I’d put my money on them in the future.