The Basketball Tournament (aka, TBT) unveiled their 64-team bracket for this year’s shot at $2 million today, seeding team Ram Nation as the No.2 seed in this year’s South Region. It’s the second consecutive year Ram Nation, a group of current professionals and predominantly VCU alumni, have competed in the tournament as at least a No.3 seed or better.
Ram Nation will take on Showtime, a fourth-year competitor that has failed to advance past the second game, in their first matchup at 7:30PM in Charlotte, NC on July 8 in Queens University’s Levine Center. This year’s Showtime team will feature an improved lineup that has them as a legit sleeper as the No.15 seed.
Milton Jennings (6’9 PF, Clemson 2013) – Stretch 4 out of the ACC, has a decent stroke but is a much bigger threat inside the arc than out. Strong shot-blocker who cleans up on the defensive glass.
Cordarius Johnson (6’6 SF, Louisiana Tech 2014) – 6’6 forward who loves to get up the three-ball but struggled to hit shots throughout his college career in both the WAC and CUSA. Shot above 40% from the field just once in his four seasons.
Kenny Manigault (6’4 G/F, Pikeville 2015) – Committed to play hoops for Gregg Marshall at Wichita State before heading to NAIA Pikeville where he won 2015 Player of the Year honors. Manigault was a prolific NAIA scorer and a defensive pest, averaging 3.3 steals per contest his senior season.
Neil Rasnake (6’3 PG, Western Carolina 2001) – Played limited Minutes for the Catamounts after transferring up from Brevard College. Rasnake returns to team Showtime yet again but likely sees limited minutes on this year’s team.
Andres Sandoval (6’4 PG, Dayton 2008) – Sandoval brings a little double-rival flair to this one, having played for both Dayton and Richmond. Sandoval last faced several current team Ram Nation players in 2008, a 58-50 VCU win. He had just two points but added seven rebounds and five assists off the bench.
Garret Siler (7′ C, Augusta State) – To call Siler a “load in the paint” might be an understatement. The 7′ 305-pound center spent a brief bit of time with the Pheonix Suns before spending the last six seasons overseas. Siler last played professionally in Venezuela in 2016 where he connected on over 74% of his attempts while averaging 11.2 points per game.
Lee Skinner (6’6 PF, Wofford) – The former Wofford product will recognize two of team Ram Nation’s players when these teams tip it up on July 8, having played against Juvonte Reddic and Jordan Burgess in a 72-57 VCU win. Skinner gave the Terriers a solid four years as a strong rebounder who did a nice job drawing contact in the paint. He finished with a 103.9 or better offensive rating in three of his four seasons as a SoCon player.
RJ Slawson (6’9 PF, South Carolina/Jacksonville 2014) – Slawson spent three seasons at South Carolina before finishing his college career at Jacksonville. The 6’9 big is a strong shot-blocker who attacks the offensive glass for easy buckets in the paint. Slawson on occasion will step out and shoot the three but has never proven to be any bit of a threat from deep.
Mardracus Wade (6’3 G, Arkansas 2014) – Wade appears to be the biggest deep threat on this Showtime team, having hit 37.8% of his threes at Arkansas before moving on to the NBA D League where has has hit over 45% of his long balls.
FULL SCHEDULE: https://thetournament.com/news/tbt-2017-bracket
RAM NATION TEAM PAGE: https://thetournament.com/teams/ram-nation-vcu-alumni
DONATE TO TEAM RAM NATION: https://www.gofundme.com/ram-nation-tbt-2017
The first two rounds of this year’s TBT will air live on ESPN3/WatchESPN. The following rounds will be viewable on ESPN and ESPN2.