COLUMBUS, Ohio – Defending champion Carmen’s Crew of The Basketball Tournament (TBT) gets to stay close to home in an attempt to repeat, as the 2020 event will now officially be hosted at Nationwide Arena spanning July 4-14, announced Thursday morning by the TBT.
Carmen’s Crew, comprised mostly of Ohio State men’s basketball alumni, took home the $2 million prize last summer in the TBT’s sixth-annual event. Typically a 64-team, single-elimination tournament with applications open to all, the bracket is now being condensed to just 24 teams this time around due to ongoing concerns/precautions related to COVID-19.
“This is really exciting for the city of Columbus,” shooting guard Jon Diebler told BuckeyesNow. “All of us are looking forward to not only getting back out there and trying to defend this title, but also helping bring sports back in general.”
TBT's plan is to have no more than 50 people in the gym at one time. Teams will not interact before contests and will be asked to bring all belongings to the arena with them, as they will be required to go directly home after a loss.
"Being the first basketball event to play in the U.S. since March is a monumental task that is only possible with great partners," said TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar in a prepared statement. "We can't thank the State of Ohio, Columbus Sports Commission or The Ohio State University enough for their support, not to mention our longstanding partners ESPN, Puma and Zelle. Everyone is unified in wanting to see basketball on TV again, and our players can't wait to compete."
The 10-day, fully-quarantined tournament will house all participants at a hotel downtown, create specific team schedules (likely restricting them from leaving the hotel) and implement this core health and safety plan:
1. All participants will be tested for COVID-19 upon arriving at the location. A positive result will lead to the removal of both the individual and their team from the event.
2. Teams will be kept separate at all times in quarantine and screened regularly for symptoms.
3. All participants will be tested again after the quarantine period. A positive result on this second test will lead to the removal of both the individual and their team.
4. Teams that have tested negative will be cleared to participate in TBT. Once cleared for participation, TBT will continue to screen individuals for symptoms daily.
5. All players will undergo an exit screening by local health officials.
"Hosting TBT in Columbus is another step forward in our state's efforts to responsibly restart Ohio," added Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in TBT's release. "We're looking forward to having live sports back in a safe way we all can enjoy."
After coming up short in previous stints, Carmen’s Crew finally won the title with a 66-60 triumph over Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni team) last August at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Sources suggest Carmen’s Crew will likely receive a bye and not begin competing for a few days into the event. The full bracket will be released this coming Tuesday.
Check back soon for expanded preview on the full 10-man roster, which will once again feature the core of Diebler, William Buford, Aaron Craft and David Lighty alongside notable others.