Organizers for The Basketball Tournament announced on Wednesday afternoon that Ohio State’s Covelli Center will serve as one of the regional sites for the 2021 tournament. As a result, Carmen’s Crew, a team primary comprised of former Buckeyes, will be the “featured team.”
The Covelli Center was supposed to host the same event last year until the entire tournament was moved to Columbus’ Nationwide Arena and played inside a “bubble” due to the coronavirus pandemic. Carmen’s Crew was considered the favorite to take home the $1 million prize as the defending tournament champions but fell in the first round.
“Columbus has been home to TBT for four consecutive years and we're excited to partner with Ohio State and the Columbus Sports Commission to bring it back for a fifth this summer,” TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar said in a statement. “We love the fans there and watching them support Carmen's Crew. They have also been awesome supporters of TBT generally, and I wouldn't be surprised if Columbus has more Elam Ending fans per capita than any city in the world.”
This will be the fifth tournament appearance for Carmen’s Crew, which was known as Scarlet & Gray for the first two years of play but changed names in 2019 to comply with the university’s trademark and licensing department. The team won the championship and then-$2 million prize that year.
“Since 2017, TBT has been a summer staple for myself and my Ohio State teammates,” former Ohio State guard Jon Diebler said. “We look forward to getting back together and playing in this great event each year, and we’ve really enjoyed being able to do it in Columbus the past four years. Playing on Ohio State’s campus in front of fans for the first time since we graduated will make this year’s TBT particularly special, and we can’t wait to compete in front of a hometown crowd once again.”
Diebler is one of four confirmed Ohio State alumni set to take part in this year’s event, with guards William Buford and David Lighty and forward Evan Ravenel on the roster. Former forward Jared Sullinger and guard Evan Turner will continue to serve as general manager/head coach and assistant coach, respectively.
It’s unclear at this time if former participants, such as guard Aaron Craft and forward Dallas Lauderdale, will play again this year.
The Columbus Regional will take place July 23-27, with other regionals at Wichita, Kan., on July 16-20; Charleston, W.V., on July 17-21; and Peoria, Ill., on July 24-28. The top two teams from each regional site will advance to tournament play at the University of Dayton Arena on July 31-Aug. 3 with all games televised by ESPN.
The 64-team, single-elimination bracket will be released on June 28.
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