The Basketball Tournament has established itself as a summer mainstay over the past four years, with 64 teams comprising former NBA and NCAA players competing for a $2 million grand prize. And while the tournament itself is pretty straightforward — it’s a single-elimination, winner-take-all affair — the postgame celebration is somewhat novel: At the end of each game, the winning players get to move a card featuring the team’s name ahead in an oversize replica of the tournament bracket, which is posted on a wall of the gym.
Here’s what it looked like after Overseas Elite won its third straight TBT title this year:
The NCAA has taken notice, apparently, because it’s totally stealing this bit for its own 64-team (well, 68-team) basketball tournament.
“Yes, we’re doing it,” David Worlock, the NCAA’s director of media coordination, told the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Mike Waters on Wednesday night. “I noticed in the The Basketball Tournament and liked the idea. Then a few weeks ago there was some chatter on Twitter from some members of the media, saying they wished we would do it during our tournament. So I obviously wasn’t the only person who thought it was a cool idea.”
The big bracket, which Worlock says likely will be located outside the postgame news conference area (in other words, out of sight from the fans in the stadium), already has been approved by the NCAA men’s basketball committee.
“If they want a senior walk-on, the star player or the star of the game, it doesn’t matter to us,” Worlock said. “We think it will be fun for the teams, fans and the media.”
Jon Mugar, founder and CEO of The Basketball Tournament, is flattered by the imitation.
“It’s exciting. In our 3 1/2 year history, we’ve fought hard to be viewed as a real, genuine sporting event and this is an awesome instance of our having arrived as a property,” he told The Post via email. “When we first started doing it in 2014, we’d walk the winning teams over to the bracket, hand them the placard, told them what to do, and they’d look at us like, ‘Huh?’ But teams took to it very quickly, and it become a defining visual of TBT. It also shows a lot about the character of a team in terms of how they place their placard onto the next round, who they select to do it, etc.”
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