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How The Basketball Tournament works

Here’s a look at how The Tournament will work in 2023.

Syndication: The Hutchinson News Sandra J. Milburn/The Hutchinson News / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Basketball Tournament is back for its 10th straight year as 64 teams will take part in the annual summer tournament for the next few weeks. For those unfamiliar with TBT, we have all of the information for you below.

What is The Tournament?

The Tournament is a summer basketball tournament that is open application, meaning anyone can sign up and participate. This year’s tourney will begin on Wednesday, July 19 and conclude with the championship game on Thursday, August 3 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia.

What are the rules?

Each game features three nine-minute quarters with the fourth quarter operating under Elam Ending rules. Under the Elam Ending, the clock is shot off in the fourth quarter and a target score is set by adding eight points to the leading team’s score. The first team to reach the target score wins. For example, if a team is leading 75-70 heading into the fourth quarter, then the target score for both teams to win is 83.

This concept was developed by basketball fan and Ball State professor Nick Elam, who was frustrated with how the end of NCAA Tournament games devolved into a non-stop barrage of fouls and free throw attempts that killed the pace of the game. The TBT adopted the concept for its own tournament in 2018 and it was so innovative that the NBA began using the Elam Ending for its All-Star game in 2020.

How many teams participate?

64 teams participate in the tournament and are split into eight regionals. The Regionals for this year’s tournament are Wichita 1, Wichita 2, Louisville, West Virginia, Syracuse, Dayton, Lubbock, and Xavier (Cincinnati).

Are there notable teams and players?

Several teams in TBT are comprised of alumni of different college basketball programs, allowing for viewers to get another glimpse of some of their favorite CBB players of year’s past. You’ll see players from schools like Arkansas, Cincinnati, Ohio State, West Virginia, and several others participate. Last year’s tournament was won by Blue Collar U, which featured former players from the University of Buffalo.

Can NBA players participate in The Tournament?

TBT is open to any active NBA players, but you typically will not see any of them participate. Players like Chris Paul and DeMarcus Cousins have both served as the general managers of their own teams while Andre Drummond and Bobby Portis have both coached their respective clubs.

Plenty of former NBA players have played in the tourney, including Mike Bibby, Jimmer Fredette, and Brian Scalabrine.

Which team has won the most titles?

Overseas Elite won the most TBT titles, taking four straight championships from 2015 to 2018. The team was comprised of several players who played in various international leagues and last played in 2020.

Is there prize money?

The winner of the tournament receives $1 million to split amongst the members of the team.

Who is expected to win The Tournament this year?

Boeheim’s Army enters this year’s tournament as the favorite with +1000 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook. The team won the tournament championship in 2021 and primarily features former Syracuse players.