TBT Crowns the 2017 Champion Thursday Night at 7PM on ESPN

 

By: Patrick Ronan | @pk_ronan


After 62 games over 26 days, TBT 2017 comes down to two teams and one giant paycheck. Inspirational underdog West Region #6 seed Team Challenge ALS takes on two-time defending champion South Region #1 Overseas Elite Thursday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN with a $2 million, winner-take-all prize on the line.

David vs. Goliath

There’s no denying that this is a classic David vs. Goliath matchup. That’s no knock on Challenge ALS – remember, David WON that fight – rather, a testament to both Overseas Elite’s TBT domination and Challenge ALS’ incredible run to the finals.

Much like Goliath, Overseas Elite heads into battle having never been beaten. The TBT giants are 18-0 all-time with a pair of championships under their belts and $3 million in their pockets. They play with a Goliath-like confidence that is more than warranted and expect to beat any opponent.

Like David, Team Challenge ALS is afraid of no one and won’t back down from any challenge. They’re playing for something much bigger than basketball, and it's obvious when they are on the court.

Three-Headed Monsters

Both teams come into the Finals with their own three-headed monster. It’s the usual suspects for Overseas Elite, with D.J. Kennedy, Errick McCollum and Kyle Fogg leading the way this summer. Fogg (TBT 2016 MVP) and McCollum are deadly shooters that can light it up from deep, while Kennedy is one of the most dynamic players in the tournament. He can play four positions and can score in bunches.

Team Challenge ALS brings its dynamic trio of scorers into Thursday night’s title game. Team GM/small forward Sean Marshall leads the way, averaging 21.3 points per game. Former Long Beach State star Casper Ware went for a game-high 28 points, six rebounds and four assists in the semifinal, double-overtime thriller over Scarlet and Gray. Then there’s former NBA first-round pick Austin Daye, who went for 22 points in the semis. He produces a matchup nightmare as a 6’10” NBA veteran that score from anywhere on the floor.

Supporting Casts

The "X' factor in the championship game may be the play from each team’s supporting cast. One of the reasons that Overseas Elite has been so dominant is that they continuously get contributions from a number of different players. The three scorers lead the charge, but Overseas Elite has so many weapons, and the team's track record speaks for itself.

The bigger question mark is the supporting cast of Team Challenge ALS, which was strong in the team's first four games but struggled in the semifinals. Marshall, Ware and Daye took 77 percent of the team’s shots and tallied 81 percent of the team’s points in the semifinal victory. Watch for Marvelle Harris and Jerry Smith to add some scoring for Team Challenge ALS. Both players have both shown that they can be those supporting scorers that the team needs, but Team Challenge ALS must find ways to consistently involve the two in the offense.