Scarlet and Gray advance to Sweet 16 in The Basketball Tournament

(Bill Landis, cleveland.com)

The Basketball Tournament may not get the coverage it deserves, but the Scarlet and Gray team, which is mostly comprised of former Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball players, had quite the weekend to begin the tournament.

Coached by newly named Buckeyes’ Director of Player Development for the men’s basketball team, Scoonie Penn, along with assistant coach and current Portland Trail Blazer Evan Turner, the roster consists of nine players, seven of which are former Ohio State players: Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, David Lighty, William Buford, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, Evan Ravenel, Nate Miller, and Leon Rodgers. Sullinger, who was not on the original roster, filled in for Greg Oden after Oden could not participate in the tournament.

What exactly is The Basketball Team, you ask? It’s a 64-team tournament, mostly made of former professional and college basketball players that is a winner-take-all tournament. The team who wins the tournament will take home $2 million.

As the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region, the Scarlet and Gray took down 15-seed The Region, 78-63 on Saturday. Although they struggled finding their shot due to possible first game jitters, their effort on defense was the difference; something that could potentially lead them to win the championship. They beat the seven-seed Banney Boys, 72-58 on Sunday afternoon to advance to the Sweet 16.

Here’s highlights from both Saturday’s and Sunday’s wins in case you weren’t able to watch either (or both) of them:

Not only is it awesome for Buckeye Nation to watch all of these former players play together on the basketball court, but with $2 million on the line for the winners, the play is extremely competitive. Sullinger is still using his body to dominate down low, Diebler is still killing it from long distance, Lighty is a great two-way player, and Craft is still proving that he can dominate defensively. Add all of that with the fact that Buford still has it and Ravenel has improved since leaving Columbus- plus some talent among the other players- and the Scarlet and Gray have a great shot to continue to advance.

All seven of the former Buckeyes on Scarlet and Gray are trying to prove to NBA teams that they still have it. Although Sullinger, who is currently a free agent, seems to be the only one that has a legitimate shot to make an NBA roster, all seven still have a dream that they eventually want to come to fruition. Eleven Warriors’ Dan Hope caught up with the players before the first game of The Basketball Tournament to talk about what they are trying to get out of the tournament besides just the money.

With two wins under their belt, the Scarlet and Gray will head to Brooklyn to go against No. 3 seed Always A Brave (Bradley alumni) in the Sweet 16, with the tip set to be Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN. The full bracket can be seen here. To follow along with the team’s journey, be sure to follow the Scarlet and Gray’s Twitter at @ScarletGrayTBT.