ESPN’s The Basketball Tournament — a single-elimination, winner-take-all contest between 94 teams with a $1 million prize — will start on Friday. And among the players stepping on the court tomorrow will be a team of 10 airmen.
The Air Force Bomb Squad, which fell in the first round of the first such tournament last year, is made up of former Air Force Academy Falcons. And this year, the Bomb Squad is touting the addition of point guard Antoine Hood — who Air Force Times profiled this week and has nearly made the NBA several times — as a recruit who “could prove key to the team’s success in ’15.”
The $1 million championship game will be played Aug. 2 and broadcast on ESPN. The tournament is open to anyone over 18 who wants to apply (although participants agree to give up their amateur status). Originally 97 teams were to play, but three couldn’t muster a full roster and had to drop out.
The Bomb Squad will tip off at 9 a.m. Pacific Time at California State University against a team of primarily former high school players called Too Fresh. According to the site’s FAQ, ESPNU will not start broadcasting games until July 23, when the defending champion Notre Dame Fighting Alumni play in and join the remaining 16 teams. But fans can watch live streams of the games on the tournament’s website if they register.
This year’s tournament is much bigger than the inaugural one last year, which pitted 32 teams against each other for a $500,000 prize.