College basketball fans in the state of Iowa needing a summer hoops fix are in luck this year. Iowa United is set to begin play in The Basketball Tournament on Thursday night on ESPN.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is The Basketball Tournament?
Created in 2014 by Jonathan Mugar, The Basketball Tournament is a 64-team, single-elimination tournament with a grand prize of $2 million to be split among the winning team.
It features eight eight-team regional brackets, with those winners advancing to the championship weekend in Chicago from Aug. 1-6.
Many teams are created as alumni teams of Division-I programs, with a mix of retired and current professional players.
What is Iowa United?
This is Iowa United’s first year in TBT. General manager Matthew Crawford wanted to bring together alumni of Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake as well as former Iowa high school stars. There are former Hawkeyes, Cyclones and Bulldogs on this year’s team.
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— Iowa United TBT (@IowaTbt) July 25, 2019
Here’s Iowa United’s roster, which ESPN ranks No. 50 in the tournament.
5 Marcus Fizer, Iowa State
12 Reed Timmer, Drake
14 Peter Jok, Iowa
20 Josh Young, Drake
21 Melsahn Basabe, Iowa
23 Matt Gatens, Iowa
25 Tyrus McGee, Iowa State
31 Matt Tiby, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Urbandale HS)
35 Nick McGlynn, Drake
40 Nicholas Baer, Iowa
44 Cyrus Tate, Iowa
55 Austin McBeth, Iowa State
What about Megan Gustafson?
Gustafson, the regining national women’s college basketball player of the year from Iowa, had agreed to play for Iowa United earlier this summer after she was waived by the WNBA’s Dallas Wings.
But Dallas ended up signing Gustafson a few weeks later, so she won’t be taking the court in TBT. She’s averaging 2.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game for the Wings.
Who’s the coach?
Former Hawkeye Jeff Horner will lead Iowa United on the sideline. The Mason City native is currently the head men’s basketball coach at Truman State.
— Iowa United TBT (@IowaTbt) July 23, 2019
Where is Iowa United playing?
The team is the No. 7-seed in the Wichita Regional. The games will be played at Wichita State’s Charles Koch Arena. The quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, with the semifinals Saturday and the final on Sunday. Here are the pairings.
(1) Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni) vs. (8) Fort Hood Wounded Warriors
(4) Team Colorado (Colorado alumni) vs. (5) Purple & Black (Kansas State alumni)
(3) Self Made (Kansas alumni) vs. (6) Sideline Cancer
(2) Aftershocks (Wichita State alumni) vs. (7) Iowa United
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How can I watch Iowa United’s games?
The team’s first-round game is Thursday at 8 p.m. central and will be broadcast live on ESPN, following the quarterfinal game between Self Made and Sideline Cancer at 6 p.m.
If Iowa wins, it will play in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
The regional final is at 3 p.m. Sunday, also on ESPN.
Anything else to know about TBT?
One significant difference between The Basketball Tournament games and your standard college or pro basketball game is the Elam Ending.
Here’s how TBT explains it:
At the first stoppage at or under 4:00 of the 4th quarter, the game clock stops and timed play ends. At this juncture, a target score shall be set, equal to the leading team’s score plus eight (8). After returning from the media timeout, play shall resume without a game clock but with the shot clock, until one team matches or exceeds the target score.
Example: Team A leads Team B 70-63 at the first stoppage under 4:00. The game clock is turned off while the shot clock remains on. The target score is set to 78. The first team that reaches 78 wins the game.
That means every game has a buzzer-beater.
TBT games are played with four nine-minute quarters.