Xavier basketball is still almost 5 months out, but we’re just around the corner from basketball at Cintas. Xavier is hosting a region of The Basketball Tournament, which means that Muskie fans will be able to watch their old favorites - plus a handful of new faces - take on all comers in the friendly confines this summer.
First up is Sweet Home Alabama, so named because their roster is comprised largely of players that come from that state. If you’re my age, you’ll recognize a lot of the names on the squad; you’ll also be peers with most of them. Veterans David Godbold (36) and CJ Carter (34) might be just the other side of their primes, but they both played high-level D1 ball and have been getting paid to hoop both at home and abroad over the past decade. Justin Tubbs (34) dropped 11 and 4 as a senior at ETSU in 2010, leading them to a conference championship.
Neatly splitting the difference between good and old is Mikhail Torrence (33). He was second-team All-SEC in 2010, putting up 15.6/5.1/3.7. He has since in leagues from Mexico to Finland, with his basketball skill afford him a chance to pay his bills and travel the world. I suspect he’s the danger man for this team. Drexel grad Trevor John - a mere child on the roster at 26 - also brings a threat; he was a career 40% three-point shooter in college.
Should Zip ‘Em Up be so blessed as to slide by Sweet Home Alabama, they’ll take on the winner of Sideline Cancer and Defeat Diabetes. Sideline Cancer is the longest standing TBT team, having competed in every tournament since the inaugural event in 2014. Led by overseas legends like Mo Creek and Mike Daum and boasting the clutch stylings of former Musketeer Remy Abell, they’re a formidable challenge for any opponent. Defeat Diabetes is a TBT newcomer; they’ll have their work cut out for them if they want to play multiple games in their first TBT trip.
Of course, the matchup everyone is hoping for is between Zip ‘Em Up and UC alumni team Nasty Nati. Nasty Nati is stocked from stem to stern with pretend tough guys, notably paper tiger Jarron Cumberland, Ed Sumner’s son Octavius Ellis, and Naji Marshall’s son Tre Scott. I actually kind of rate Jacob Evans, and Troy Caupain and Shaq Thomas will also make appearances. Both of these teams will have to win multiple games if they want to meet up, but if that comes to fruition, it will be with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.
Games tip July 18. Tickets are on sale now. Get there and get loud.