Once considered rivals, former players on the Ohio State and Michigan men’s basketball squads will team up this summer in The Basketball Tournament, a 72-team, single-elimination, winner-take-all event.
Former Buckeyes Andrew Dakich, who transferred from Michigan to Ohio State last summer, Jae’Sean Tate and Kam Williams will join former Wolverines Mark Donnal, Stu Douglass, Jon Horford and Duncan Robinson on a team called “Big X” in this year’s TBT, which is now in its fifth year.
Dakich, Tate and Williams all finished up their collegiate careers last season. Dakich, who walked on at Michigan in 2013, dished out 72 assists in his one year at Ohio State and turned out to be a significant cog in the Buckeyes’ run to the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Tate, the heart and soul of the team during his four seasons as a Buckeye, averaged 12.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists while starting all 34 games in 2017-18. Williams contributed 9.0 points per contest as a fifth-year senior but upped that average to 20.5 points in OSU’s two NCAA Tournament games against South Dakota State and Gonzaga.
In order to earn an automatic bid into TBT, teams need fan votes within their respective region. Fans can vote for Big X on their TBT page here.
Should Big X be accepted to play in TBT, it will be the second straight year in which a team featuring former Buckeyes will compete for the grand prize of $2 million. Coached by former Ohio State point guard Scoonie Penn, who is currently OSU’s director of player development, Scarlet & Gray included former Buckeyes William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, Evan Ravenel and Jared Sullinger. That Ohio State alumni squad was eliminated in TBT national semifinals by Team Challenge ALS in double overtime, 88-83.
What’s more, Columbus will be one of the four regional sites for this year’s tournament. The games will be played at Capital University’s Capital Center from July 20-22. The other three regional sites are Brooklyn, N.Y., Los Angeles and Richmond, Va.
Teams that advance through the first two rounds will then play in the Super 16 in Atlanta from July 26-29. The finals will take place in Baltimore on Aug. 2 and 3.