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Kentucky Kernel

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Everything you need to know about The Basketball Tournament

Willie Cauley-Stein looks to pass during the Sacramento Kings game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, October 15, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.

The Basketball Tournament is returning this summer for its eleventh annual go-around and Kentucky’s newly hatched squad, La Familia, will be making its inaugural appearance.

For those unaware what “The Basketball Tournament” is, fear no more as the Kentucky Kernel pieced together a guide for new fans looking to enjoy some more basketball in the Bluegrass.

What is The Basketball Tournament?

The Basketball Tournament is a single-elimination tournament featuring 64 teams that compete across eight regions in a survive-and-advance battlefield. Unlike most sporting events with the winner being handed a trophy, bragging rights and such, the winner of the tournament gets $1 million.

In simpler terms, think of it like the NCAA Tournament, a 64-team field that includes a win-or-go-home mentality, minus the $1 million prize.

Who participates?

Anyone 18 years of age or older can participate in The Basketball Tournament and the cost to register a team is $1,000. 

Some teams are only orchestrated around alumni, meaning one can only join a roster if they are an alumni of that school. There are 25 “alumni teams” participating, including Kentucky. Some other alumni teams are War Ready (Auburn alumni), The Ville (Louisville alumni) and Stars of Storrs (UConn alumni). 

Something to note is that teams are required to have a general manager, but are not required to have a coach.

La Familia

La Familia is a participating team that will be representing the University of Kentucky. The team is only open to Kentucky men’s basketball alumni who have played for the Cats at some point.

It’s name was chosen in regards to former Kentucky men’s basketball coach and hall-of-famer John Calipari, who used the term “La Familia” when describing his teams and the incoming recruits that hopped aboard his rosters. The name was established before Calipari’s shattering move to Arkansas, but the team will keep its name as Calipari still had an important impact on the Kentucky men’s basketball program.

La Familia’s roster currently includes the following and is subject to change: Eric Bledsoe, Doron Lamb, Reid Travis, Nate Sestina, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marquis Teague, Kellan Grady, Daniel Orton, Andrew Harrison and James Young.

The team’s front office is compromised of five different people, those being Sam Malone (general manager), Twany Beckham (general manager), Jazzmarr Ferguson (assistant coach), Jon Hood (assistant coach) and Brittany Harris (role).

When and where is the tournament, also how can I watch?

This year’s tournament will take place from July 19 to August 4 with the regional rounds being played in Wichita, Kansas, Indianapolis (Butler), Lexington, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Houston and Dayton, Ohio, from July 19 to July 24.

The semi-finals, which take place on August 2, and the finals, which take place on August 4, will both be hosted at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia. 

For any fans wishing to experience the action live in person, all of the rounds are available to the public with tickets being sold on, the tournament’s official website. 

For fans who would rather watch the event from home, they’re in luck also as The Basketball Tournament and Fox Sports signed a multi-year deal on April 18, 2024, meaning fans can watch the games live on all Fox Sports channels (Fox, FS1 and FS2).

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