TBT Power Rankings 5.16.17

 

By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31


61 teams are currently eligible for TBT 2017

With just over two weeks remaining in the registration period, more and more teams are becoming eligible for #TBT2017 by the day. As a reminder, teams must have seven players on the roster and at least 100 fan votes by noon on Thursday, June 1. With the home stretch in sight, we have a special 25-team edition of the TBT Power Rankings. Please note that only eligible teams as of noon on Monday, May 15 were taken under consideration. And as always, these are just one guy's opinion. Enjoy! 

1. Overseas Elite *Accepted*

Overseas Elite felt disrespected heading into TBT 2016. Can you blame them? In addition to the haters and naysayers saying their TBT 2015 championship was a fluke, Overseas Elite was awarded a No. 2 seed in the South. The teams that they beat in the 2015 semifinals (City of Gods) and championship (Team 23) were both given a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. Well, with another title in hand and $2 million more in the bank, no one is going to disrespect the champs this summer. Overseas Elite returns vital pieces such as D.J. Kennedy, Kyle Fogg, Paris Horne, Johndre Jefferson, Errick McCollum and Todd O'Brien this summer. In addition, the team has added reinforcements such as three-time TBT participant Justin Burrell, seven-year NBA vet DeJuan Blair as well as overseas professional Oliver Lafayette. To read all about the 2017 edition of Overseas Elite, click here.

 

2. Golden Eagles (Marquette Alumni)

At this point, I've raved about the Golden Eagles ad nauseam. While the praise is certainly well-deserved, it's quite simple with this squad. They have the talent. They have the coaching. And maybe most importantly, they now have the TBT experience following their run to the quarterfinals last summer. In a single-elimination tournament anything can happen, but in a stacked Midwest region the Wesley Matthews-led team immediately jumps out as the favorite to make it to Baltimore. Between Dwight Buycks, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jerel McNeal, their guard play is unreal. And if you can somehow isolate that facet of their game, big men Davante' Gardner and Lawrence Blackledge have a smooth finish around the rim. In addition, the Marquette alumni squad was one of the best defensive teams in all of TBT last summer. It may not be impossible to beat the Golden Eagles. But as we saw when Always A Brave took them down in the Midwest Regional Championship Game last summer, it requires an almost perfect 36-minute effort.

 

3. Ram Nation (VCU Alumni)

To be honest, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from Ram Nation last summer. While four TBT experts picked them to win the South Regional crown, some doubt still lingered in my mind. Five years removed from their 2011 run to the Final Four, could this VCU alumni team really recreate that magic and make a run at the $2 million? And when they fell behind by 20 points to the NC Prodigal Sons in the first half of their opening game in Charlotte, it only reinforced those doubts. But then it all changed in the blink of an eye. Not only did Bradford Burgess and Brandon Rozzell lead Ram Nation to the come-from-behind victory, but the team easily handled a talented Kings of the South squad the following day to advance to the Super 16. This year, two-time CAA Player of the Year and five-year NBA vet Eric Maynor joins the team. Pair him with a healthy Reggie Williams, and the 2017 edition of Ram Nation looks like a serious contender to give Overseas Elite a run for their money in the South.

 

4. Armored Athelte

Much like the Golden Eagles, my thoughts on Armored Athlete are well-known by now. Whether it's the three-headed Indiana monster of Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford, or the Holy Cross duo of Malcolm Miller and David Dudzinski, this team is as talented as it gets. Add in guys like Miami product Julian Gamble, Penn State grad Talor Battle and former Oregon Ducks Garrett Sim and E.J. Singler, and Armored Athlete will be as tough an out as they come should they be accepted into TBT 2017.

 

5. Scarlet & Gray (The Ohio State University Alumni)

Many will argue that Scarlet & Gray should be the No. 1 team on this list. And with a roster that begins with Greg Oden, and includes other Ohio State legends such as Aaron Craft, Dallas Lauderdale and Evan Ravenel just to name a few, they may in fact prove to be correct. But as they say in sports, to be the best you have to beat the best. Only time will tell if Scarlet & Gray can etch their name into the TBT history books. 

 

6. Few Good Men (Gonzaga Alumni)

Few Good Men rolled their way through the opening two rounds en route to the Super 16 last summer. And looking at their roster for TBT 2017, should they gain entry they'll have a great shot at taking it a couple wins further this year. Led by Gonzaga legend Dan Dickau, the team reunites some of the best players to ever suit up under longtime coach Mark Few. Whether it be Blake Stepp, Jeremy Pargo, Mike Hart or Steven Gray, this team oozes with both talent and college basketball history. 

 

7. SuperNOVA (Villanova Alumni)

SuperNOVA led the PA RoadWarriors by 17 points at halftime in their opening round matchup last summer. And then Scottie Reynolds went down with an injury. Playing with just four players for the final eight minutes of the game, the Villanova alumni squad lost despite a valiant effort, but showed that when healthy they have the talent to be one of the most dangerous teams in the Northeast. With eight former Wildcats set to take the court this summer, expect big things from SuperNOVA in #TBT2017. 

 

8. Team Colorado (Colorado Alumni) *Accepted*

No matter what team you rep in TBT, it's hard to dislike Team Colorado. After a disappointing TBT 2015 in which they fell in their opening round game against Team 23, the boys from The Centennial State made a Cinderella run all the way to the TBT Championship game last summer. This year, Marcus Hall (24 ppg in TBT 2016) and company will look to get revenge on Overseas Elite and hoist the $2 million check. With guys like Christopher Copeland and Josh Scott joining a core group of returnees, I don't think anyone would be surprised to see them do just that.

 

9. Fort Wayne Champs

There's no denying that TBT 2016 didn't go according to plan for the Fort Wayne Champs (formerly known as the Ants Alumni). After making it to the semifinals two years ago, the 2014 D-League champions were upset in the first round by the 15th-seeded Canton Bulldogs. But like a true champion, the team is responding to the setback by getting right back at it in #TBT2017. With new additions Stephan Hicks, Travis Leslie, Jordan Loyd and Adam Woodbury on board this year, the Fort Wayne Champs have the makeup of a team poised to make it back to TBT's final weekend.

 

10. Team Challenge ALS

It's nearly impossible to find a weakness with this Team Callenge ALS squad.  Dee Bost and Jerry Smith headline a stacked backcourt. In the low post, Sean Marshall, Ivan Aska and Perris Blackwell is as good a trio as it comes. And drawing up the plays will be Sacramento Kings point guard Darren Collison. What else could you possibly ask for? 

 

11. Ole Hotty Toddy (Ole Miss Alumni)

Ole Miss legend Marshall Henderson is back for his fourth shot at TBT glory this summer. And with all due respect to his three previous teams, this Ole Hotty Toddy squad is by far his best creation yet. As Henderson explains, "We're 9 guys who all played under Andy Kennedy at Ole Miss. Five of us were the core from the 2013 SEC Championship Rebels. Teaming up with 4 of the top individual players the school has seen, who have all had great success at the pro level, is a dream come true for not only the players, but the coaches and fans as well."

 

12. Team 23 *Accepted*

What a two-year stretch for Team 23. In 2015, Davin White and company captured the nation's heart en route to the championship game. Last summer, the team showed no signs of a let down, making it right back to the Super 16. Will #TBT2017 finally be the year they win it all? While they certainly have the players in place to do just that, no matter what happens there's no taking away from the job that Michael Illiano and Ron Katich have done with this team.

 

13. Always A Brave (Bradley Alumni) *Accepted*

Speaking of GM's who have done an incredible job, Always A Brave headman Bobby Parker has done it again. After making the semifinals last summer, the Bradley alumni team has restructured its roster to bring in even more talent for TBT 2017. One interesting example is University of California all-time leading scorer Jerome Randle. Although Randle did not play his college ball at Bradley, he has a family connection with Always A Brave shooting guard Tony Bennett.  This summer, he'll be heading back to his native Illinois to compete for Always A Brave.

 

14. Memorial Magic (Vanderbilt Alumni)

Defense and speed. That's Vanderbilt basketball in a nutshell. And with guys like Lance Goulbourne, Derrick Byars and Alex Gordon set to play for Memorial Magic this summer, they have built their roster around that exact mantra. 

 

15. Brothers Dat Ball

Like Henderson, Josh Selby is back for his fourth crack at a TBT title this summer. With tournament veterans Brandon Bowman, Yancy Gates, Daishon Knight and Travis Hyman by his side, could this be the year that Brothers Dat Ball finally takes it all the way? With the championship game in Selby's hometown of Baltimore, he certainly hopes so.

 

16. Team Utah (Utah Alumni)

Not much has changed roster-wise for Team Utah this summer. And why would it? Although they fell just short to Team Colorado in the West Regional Championship Game, this group of Utah alumni showed that they can compete with anyone in the country. With another year of experience under their belt, expect to see Team Utah right back in the thick of things should they gain entry into #TBT2017.

 

17. GaelNation (Iona Alumni)

Depsite only having seven players on the roster as of Tuesday afternoon, GaelNation is already looking like a potential Cinderella story in the Northeast. If anybody knows something about being counted out, it's this group. And as we've seen over the past three years, there's nothing more dangerous than a team playing with a chip on their shoulder.  

 

18. Blue Zoo (Middle Tennessee Alumni)

Much of the same sentiment from above rings true for Blue Zoo.  The players on both GaelNation and Blue Zoo have helped build up previously overlooked teams into two of the best mid-major programs in the country. That gritty, lunch-pail mentality is exactly what you need to win in TBT.

 

19. Jackson TN Underdawgs

As I've said before, if TBT started today the Jackson TN Underdawgs would enter as the most improved team from last year due to the additions of Kendall Anthony (Richmond), Tarius Johnson (Eastern Kentucky), Willie Kemp (Memphis) and Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State).

 

20. Tampa Bulls (USF Alumni)

GM Michael Brown is calling this Tampa Bulls team "one of the most unselfish group of guys I've been around." With the resumes on players like Cory Allen Jr. and Anthony Collins, they're also immensely talented.

 

21. The Wasatch Front (Weber State Alumni)

Head coach Damian Lillard will look to lead a scrappy group of Weber State alumni to the promise land in #TBT2017. Along for the ride will be Scott Bamforth, who scored 22 points for New Mexico RH in an opening round win over BC Portland last summer. With several other notable alumni on board as well, it would be a grave mistake to overlook The Wasatch Front.

 

22. UKnighted (Rutgers Alumni)

Should UKnighted gain entry into the Northeast for TBT 2017, be sure to keep an eye out for CJ Gettys. The 7-foot-1 center spent the first three years of his college career at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington, which is arguably the hottest mid-major program in the country right now. That momentum carried over to Rutgers, where Gettys averaged 7.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, while also providing spectacular interior defense.

 

23. Team Fancy

Team Fancy was one of the most interesting teams in TBT 2016. Although they fell to the Talladega Knights in the first round, Shane Gibson and Kevin Parrom established themselves as stars in the making. Gibson, a Sacred Heart grad, knocked down seven three-point shots in the losing effort. Parrom, who hails from the University of Arizona, converted on six of his own and finished with a team-high 30 points. With both slated to return in TBT 2017, Team Fancy already has a core in place to avenge that loss and make a run of their own.

 

24. Atlanta Dirty South

The Big Three of Jamario Moon, Langston Nolley and Wesley Witherspoon makes Atlanta Dirty South an immediate contender for the $2 million. If guys like Akeem Scott and DeAndre Bray can give them solid production as well, then there's no telling what their ceiling is this summer. 

 

25. Team Fredette

While they still have a couple of roster spots available, Team Fredette is already looking like a solid darkhorse pick should they gain entry into TBT's West region. With talent from BYU, Bowling Green, Dayton, Coastal Carolina, New Mexico, Texas Tech and San Diego State all on board, coach Jimmer Fredette will have no shortage of options to go to when drawing up plays this summer.