Photo: Pitt Basketball Twitter

PITTSBURGH – The Zoo Crew, with a core of former Pitt standouts leading the way, is set to compete in the fifth annual The Basketball Tournament (TBT) this weekend in Columbus. The team will hold a mini-training camp at the Peterson Event Center from July 18-20 in final preparation as they make a push for the $2 million winner-take-all-prize.



Former Panthers Tyrell Biggs, Gilbert Brown, Jermaine Dixon, Levance Fields, Antonio Graves and Gary McGhee have teamed up with former Houston Cougar Marcus Cousin, Massachusetts Minutemen Ricky Harris and Temple Owl Jesse Morgan to form the roster for Zoo Crew. The team also received a bump in the open voting process from current Pitt head coach Jeff Capel as a booster.


“We are excited to have the opportunity to compete in The Basketball Tournament,” said Brown. “We have a group of guys who love to play the game of basketball and are ready to make a title run this year. Having the opportunity to train together for three days at Pitt in advance of this weekend will really help our preparation.”

By earning the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, the Zoo Crew will face the Jackson TN Underdawgs in the first-round. In 2016, The Underdawgs became the only 16-seed team to upset the first seed in TBT history and are led by former Middle Tennessee State forward Josh Sain, Samuel Lewis from Tennessee State and Jewuan Long from Murray State. The two teams will face off on ESPN3 Saturday, July 21 in Columbus, Ohio at 6:00 p.m. The game will be played at The Capital Center on the campus of Capital University, with the winner facing Team Fredette, West Coast Ronin or Peoria AllStars in the round of 32.


Regional round games can be found on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.



The Basketball Tournament is a 5-on-5 single-elimination basketball tournament. The 72 teams participating in 2018 are divided into four regions: Northeast Region (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Midwest Region (Columbus, Ohio), South Region (Richmond, Va.) and West Region (Los Angeles, Calif.).


Teams were selected to the tournament based on four criteria: nine were based on popularity (number of votes as of June 1), six teams per region were “at-large” selections, meaning they had at least 100 fans, seven players and complied with eligibility standards, four slots were open for purchase and one team per region was able to advance from a play-in game.

The bracket was released on June 6, revealing who would be playing in the tournament and who would have to fight for their spot in a play-in game. Regional round are being played June 29 through July 22 before moving onto the Super 16 and Quarterfinals in Atlanta, Ga. on July 27 and July 29. The tournament will then move onto Baltimore, Md. for the semifinals and championship, with the games being televised on ESPN. The semifinals will be on August 2 and then the final two teams will compete for the $2 million in the championship on August 3 at 9:00 p.m.

The event, entering its fifth year of operation, looks to crown its third different champion. In 2014, Notre Dame Fighting Alumni won the Inaugural Championship with a 72-68 win over Team Barstool. Overseas Elite has won the past three championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with a 67-65 victory over Team 23 in 2015, a 77-72 victory over Team Colorado in 2016 and a 86-83 win over Challenge ALS in 2017. Former Panther All-America selection DeJuan Blair helped Overseas Elite to the title a year ago.

Complete information on The Basketball Tournament is available at

Story Credit : Pittsburgh University Athletics