On Thursday, the Basketball Tournament released its bracket for the initial rounds taking place June 6-8 in Philadelphia. We broke down the format last month, but story short, it's 32 teams playing single elimination for a winner-take-all $500,000 prize.
Social media has been a driving factor behind the tournament, allowing teams to qualify for the field and receive perks for competition. In the case of the bracket, the teams with the four largest fan bases (as registered on the tournament's official site) were allowed to pick their first-round opponents. With those choices made, we give you the bracket.
If you can't contain your excitement, full matchup previews are available on TBT's official site, and tickets are also on sale.
We handicapped the field and analyzed the rosters last month. That said, here are some of the first round matchups we're looking forward to.
The Barstool showdown: With first choice of opponent, Barstool Sports GM Dave Portnoy threw the tournament for a loop by picking Barstool Philly, a team with the third biggest fan base and a talented core led by recent St. Joseph's alumni. Boston will pit a team of ex-NBAers against their rivals from their sister site in Philadelphia for bragging rights. Someone has to go home.
Princeton vs. St Anthony: Hall of Fame coaches Pete Carrill and Bob Hurley will be there to support their respective programs as two New Jersey-based teams with a lot of history square off. The talented St. Anthony alums will be motivated by the chance to raise money for their high school. The Princeton guys will undoubtedly make a lot of backdoor cuts.
Aquille Carr takes on an actual streetball team: Aquille Carr made his name with numerous YouTube mixtapes of his high school exploits, with ridiculous handles at just 5-foot-6. "The Crimestopper," a former Seton Hall commit who opted to play overseas instead, will put his playground-style game to the test against the Horsemen, a team from Queens that plays-and wins-tournaments around New York.
New York versus Chicago: NYC's Sean Bell All-Stars take on Chicago Solid Gold in a grudge match between the two cities that often lay claim to the title of basketball capital. This should be one of the more intense games of the tournament, with former D-I guys on both sides that will look to make statements on behalf of their cities. Will Marshall Henderson do something crazy: It might be a matter of when, not if Henderson will do something of note, be it with his play or his mouth as the hotheaded former Ole Miss star takes the court for TYGTAL against Olivet Nazarene in the first round. The sharpshooter and lover of online social experiments will be worth keeping an eye on either way.