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What is The Basketball Tournament and who plays in it?

In its ninth year, The Basketball Tournament is once again upon us and with that we’re giving you the who, when, where and what, so you can be ready when it tips off.

What is The Basketball Tournament and who plays in it?
Adam PantozziGetty

If you didn’t know ‘The Basketball Tournament’ has returned and this year’s edition promises to be better than ever. With that said, here’s the low-down on what you need to know.

What is ‘The Basketball Tournament?’

Made up of 64 teams and starting on July 16th, The Basketball Tournament will be in its ninth-annual edition in 2022. A high-stakes tournament in which teams face single-elimination, fans will get the opportunity to watch games across the country as teams battle it out for a grand prize of $1 million. As for who the teams are, how they qualify and what exactly the tournament’s format is, just keep on reading as we break-down all the necessary details for you.

How does The Basketball Tournament work?

To be clear, The Basketball Tournament is a March Madness-style bracket with 64 teams going at it in a single-elimination tournament. Teams are divided into eight different regions, with the winner of each region advancing to a final round which takes place in Dayton, Ohio. You can think of it as the equivalent of the ‘Elite Eight’ of the aforementioned March Madness. In this year’s tournament, the regions are Omaha, Rucker Park, Xavier, New Mexico, Wichita, Syracuse, West Virginia and Dayton. A winner-take-all tournament, only the championship team receives the $1 million payout, with the winnings being divided up between the roster or occasionally donated to charity.

How do teams qualify for The Basketball Tournament and who plays in it?

One of the things that makes The Basketball Tournament so special, is the fact that it’s an “open” tournament. That’s right, if you and your friends think you’re good enough, then all you’ve got to do is come up with $1,000 between you and you can officially register a roster. Rosters have a minimum of seven players and a maximum of 12, not to mention a mandatory obligation to have a general manager. Interestingly, coaches are optional and teams can have as many as they choose. Regarding who plays, The Basketball Tournament generally sees the likes of former NBA players, international professionals and rising stars from the college scene.

‘The Elam Ending’ makes things more interesting

In an interesting spin on the game, The Basketball Tournament employs the use of a rather interesting quirk, ‘The Elam Ending.’ Indeed, rather than adhering to the traditional game clock, the tournament asks teams to play to a target score. Why, you may ask? Simply, because it does two things simultaneously. First of all, it assures that every game ends with a game-winning shot and secondly, it significantly decreases the tedious end-of-game following, that can often make games drag out to the end.

How can you watch The Basketball Tournament?

If you’d like to watch the 2022 edition of The Basketball Tournament on TV, then you’re going to want head over to ESPN and its family of networks, which includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU and the ESPN app. If you’d prefer to stream the tournament then be sure to check out Sling TV.