The Basketball Tournament narrowed its field from 32 teams to a final two over the weekend, with Team Barstool and the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni rising to the top of the crop in Philadelphia.
Before continuing, watch this...
That was Rep Your City's Aquille Carr throwing a lob to college slam dunk contest champion Marcus Lewis, who put it on the head of some poor soul in one of the highlights of the tournament.
With that out of the way, let's check in on some of the tournament's storylines:
- Wearing purple, star-spangled uniforms, top seeded Team Barstool made its way to the finals, led by former NBA player and Duke star Dahntay Jones. Barstool narrowly came out on top in a close overtime matchup against Smush Parker's Big Apple Basketball, in which Barstool's Matt Walsh fouled Luke Bonner (Matt Bonner's brother!) on a three-point attempt in the closing seconds that led to free throws, and OT. Bonner told SI's Luke Winn, "I'm a little insulted that my parents chose to go to San Antonio rather than this."
- Barstool nearly ignited a brawl earlier in the tournament against DMV's Finest. A large scuffle commenced at the end of the game, when Jones showboated with a dunk as time expired and the other bench took exception. So there was intrigue.
- On the other side of the bracket, Notre Dame's tenth-seeded Fighting Alumni made a run to the title game led by Russell Carter, Rob Kurz and Tyrone Nash. They gave PeacePlayers International a 30-piece in the Final Four and generally controlled the flow of all their games. They'll face Team Barstool for the $500,000 on June 28 and will donate a portion of their winnings to Coaches vs. Cancer.
- Much was made of the Villanova Final Four reunion—and it was much ado about very little, as Team ROBY dropped out with a second-round loss. Playing with no bench, fielding a five-man rotation that included Scottie Reynolds and a reportedly chunky-looking Corey Fisher, and given the absence of Dante Cunningham, no magic was recaptured. We'll always have Boston, Scottie.
- If you were wondering about Marshall Henderson, his team also left in the second round with a loss to the tough Chicago-based Illinois Hoopville Warriors, an established competitive pro-am presence that also bounced the 2010 Cornell Sweet 16 team. Henderson apparently still can't find a professional team to play for anywhere on the planet. He left SI with this:
- More from Henderson:
- Sadly, a Final Four finish for Big Apple Basketball probably won't be enough for Smush Parker to ever gain Kobe's respect. Neither will shooting free throws from near the three-point line. But former Kansas star Russell Robinson managed to hit this game-winner to bury the Hoopville Warriors in the Elite Eight. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSXbop7drQE&feature=youtu.be[/embed] He's still not as good as Mario Chalmers.
- Several teams were afflicted by players unable to make the tournament, which notably affected several outcomes. The Notre Dame team had the advantage of four subs, which contributed to the deep run. Team FOE, which featured Josh Selby and was coached by Marcus and Markieff Morris, lost by just 7 points despite playing with only four guys the entire game. For what it's worth, Selby dropped 44 and hit nine threes.
- Irony reared its ugly head as the "PeacePlayers" amassed four technicals in their semifinal loss to the Fighting Alumni.
It's anyone's guess who will come out on top in the finals. Each team will submit a home site for the game this week, and fans will vote online on who gets to host the $500,000 game between Barstool and the Fighting Alumni.
One might assume the Notre Dame boys will pick South Bend, which might actually affect the outcome, but the considerable amount of talent on Barstool still makes them the team to beat. It all wraps up June 28.
“We know them,” Fighting Alumni point guard Chris Thomas said of Team Barstool in a press release. “They’ve been on TV. They’ve had big contracts. Their players are good as any players in this tournament. So we just have to put five guys on the court that are going to play together and play hard on defense. We expect to win. We’re here now and we didn’t come this far to lose.”