Team Ram Nation gets “Super 16” rematch with DRC in TBT first round

The black and gold’s first opponent in their fourth year of TBT will be a familiar one, as second-seeded Ram Nation will face off with No.7 seed DRC in their first game of this year’s The Basketball Tournament at 8:30PM on Friday, July 26.

The Central Florida-based DRC of Redskins cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, team booster, was the last team Ram Nation defeated in the 2018 tournament, taking down the Dominique Jones-led team 78-65 in a game that was much closer than the final score suggests.

This year’s DRC current lacks Jones, who led his team with a game-high 21 points, as well as four other starters from the 2018 event.

Ram Nation earned the No.2 seed behind four-time defending champ, Overseas Elite, the only team to defeat Ram Nation in the three year’s they’ve been competing. Overseas will take on the Hilltop Dawgs, a UMBC alumni team that was routed by Monarch Nation (ODU alumni) in their first contest as a TBT team this past summer.

The winner of Ram Nation and DRC will take on the victor of 3-seed Green Machine (George Mason alumni) and 6-seed The Web (Richmond alumni).

The other half of the brackets features that Overseas versus UMBC matchup, as well as the 4 v 5 game of Best Virginia (WVU alumni) and Seven City Royalty (ODU alumni).

Second-seeded Ram Nation returns for its fourth consecutive summer. There’s a strong VCU base here between Bradford Burgess, JeQuan Lewis, Brandon Rozzell, Darius Theus, and B.A. Walker. This year the team also will bring in Chris Evans (Kent State via Petersburg High), Javonte Green (Radford), Dario Hunt (Nevada) and longtime Ram Nation member Reggie Williams (VMI).

No. 3 Green Machine, the George Mason alumni team, features several members of the 2005-06 Final Four team, including coach Lamar Butler, guard Folarin Campbell (only player in program history with 1,500 points, 450 rebounds, 350 assists, 150 3-pointers, 100 steals and 50 blocks), and Will Thomas (131 games is most in GMU history). Bryon Allen, who widely is regarded as one of the best guards in Europe, will suit up for his alma mater.

No. 4 Best Virginia is a first-year West Virginia alumni team. GM John Flowers, who played on WVU’s 2010 Final Four team, has been organizing the team for over a year. Other members of that Final Four team include 2019 Israeli Cup winner Da’Sean Butler, 2014 D-League All-Star Kevin Jones, and longtime overseas pro Darryl Bryant. The team will be coached by former WVU star Jarrod West and Billy Hahn.

No. 5 Seven City Royalty, the Old Dominion alumni team was looking primed for a deep TBT run in 2018, until they matched up against Overseas Elite. Trey Freeman scored 2,000 career points between Campbell (2011-2013) and Old Dominion (2014-2016). Richard Ross is one of the best shot blockers in Monarchs history. Brandan Stith led ODU in rebounds (7.7) and blocks (1.6) per game his senior season.

No. 6 The Web, the first-year University of Richmond alumni team won’t have to travel far. The team will be led by 1,200-point scorer Darien Brothers, 2017 Atlantic-10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline, Rwanda national team member Darrius Garrett, 2011 First-Team All-Atlantic 10 member Justin Harper, and 1,600-point scorer ShawnDre’ Jones.

No. 7 Team DRC, the Orlando-based team is boosted and sponsored by Washington Redskins cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC). His father, Stanley Cromartie, coaches the team. Even though Rodgers-Cromartie is a football star, basketball was his first love. DRC has a strong core of UCF alums in Tristan Spurlock and Keith Clanton, 2015 C-USA POTY Kenneth Speedy Smith (Louisiana Tech), and defensive specialist Joe Katuka (George Washington).

No. 8 Hilltop Dawgs, the UMBC alumni team that includes players from the darling of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Fans of UMBC will see KJ Maura, the undersized firecracker who was the 2018 America East Defensive POTY. Other members of the 2017-18 UMBC Retrievers that upset Virginia suiting up for Hilltop Dawgs this summer include Jourdan Grant, Sam Schwietz, sharpshooter Will Darley and 2019 team captain Joe Sherburne.

The schedule for the Richmond Regional is as follows. Game times are subject to change.

Fri 7/26 3p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 1 Game 1 (4) Best Virginia (West Virginia) vs (5) Royalty (ODU)
Fri 7/26 4:50p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 1 Game 2 (1) Overseas Elite vs (8) Hilltop Dawgs (UMBC)
Fri 7/26 6:40p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 1 Game 3 (3) Green Machine (George Mason) vs (6) The Web (Richmond)
Fri 7/26 8:30p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 1 Game 4 (2) Ram Nation (VCU) vs (7) DRC
Sat 7/27 5p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 2 Game 5 Game 1 winner vs Game 2 winner
Sat 7/27 7p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 2 Game 6 Game 3 winner vs Game 4 winner
Sun 7/28 12p EDT Richmond Siegel Center Round 3 Game 7 Game 5 winner vs Game 6 winner

A two-time graduate of VCU (School of the Arts '07, Center for Sport Leadership '10), Mat is a co-founder of VCU Ram Nation and a longtime fan as the ...