Orange and blue will be back on the basketball court next month.
Auburn’s unofficially adopted prize-money summer team, War Tampa, has made the cut as part of The Basketball Tournament’s 24-team bracket set to be played out July 4-14 in Ohio under social distancing guidelines.
War Tampa has four former Auburn basketball players on its roster, namely Bryce Brown, Horace Spencer, LaRon Smith and Desean Murray.
TBT unveiled the bracket for its 2020 tournament on Tuesday. The single-elimination tournament will be covered by ESPN.
In campaigning to make the tournament’s field, War Tampa picked up fast-spreading support from Auburn fans in recent weeks, plus endorsements from other Auburn names like Chuma Okeke, Austin Wiley and Marquis Daniels.
War Tampa will be the No. 17 seed in the tournament and will play No. 16 seed House of ’Paign, featuring Illinois alumni, in the first round. With a win, War Tampa could advance to play the defending tournament champions, top-seeded Carmen’s Crew, featuring Ohio State alumni.
“They’re athletic,” noted analyst and former college coach Fran Fraschilla said during the bracket reveal. “They are position-less, in a sense. I like their athleticism. I’m not sure that they have the experience to get all the way to the final four or to the championship game. But, hey, that’s why we’re playing the games.”
TBT is a winner-take-all tournament offering $1 million to be split between players and coaches on the winning team. Previous seasons have seen the TBT host fields of 64 teams or more in a tournament stretching over several cities in the United States. But this year, its attempt to get the tournament played during the coronavirus pandemic, TBT shrunk the field to just 24 teams, with all teams set to convene in Columbus, Ohio and play out the entire tournament in quarantine over the course of 11 days. The tournament plans to test players for COVID-19 and has two reserve teams outside the field ready to play if complications arise.
War Tampa is a third-year TBT participant originally put together as Tampa 20/20, but as those Auburn alumni hopped on board this year, the team decided to welcome the fans following them by changing the team name and the team colors from green and white to orange and blue.
Another Auburn basketball alum, Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, is set to play with another TBT team, Overseas Elite.