The Basketball Tournament 2020: House of ‘Paign set to face Carmen’s Crew in second round


Photo Courtesy of Ben Solomon

House of Paign player Michael Finke holds the ball away from a defender during their match against War Tampa on Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.

By Nithin Reddy, Staff Writer

The House of ‘Paign, a basketball team comprised of mostly former Illini, will face Carmen’s Crew, a team comprised of mostly Ohio State alumni, in the second round of The Basketball Tournament.

In the first round of the tournament, the House of ‘Paign dominated War Tampa. Led by former All-American Mike Daum’s 21 points and 13 rebounds, the House of ‘Paign cruised to a 76-53 win. Offensively, the House of ‘Paign relied on Daum as well as Andrés Feliz and Malcolm Hill. Feliz contributed 20 points and 7 rebounds, and Hill added another 15 points and 4 rebounds. Hill attributes the win to the team’s chemistry and togetherness.

“We have confidence in each other. If someone misses a shot, we don’t get mad at them we just say ‘Good shot, good job’ we have confidence in each other,” Hill said.

Despite shooting struggles from the rest of the team, the House of ‘Paign advanced because of their defense. War Tampa’s backcourt made up two of the greatest college shooters ever in Fletcher Magee and Bryce Brown, but the House of ‘Paign took away anything from the outside. The backcourt combined for just 10 points and War Tampa shot a dismal 3-23 from three.

The House of ‘Paign will need the same performance if they are going to advance in this tournament. Carmen’s Crew comes into the tournament as the No. 1 seed and the reigning champions. Last year, on their way to claiming the $2 million prize, Carmen’s Crew knocked off the reigning champion Overseas Elite, who were trying to win their fifth straight TBT title.

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Carmen’s Crew returns many of the same players from last year’s team. Most notably, Carmen’s Crew features William Buford, last year’s MVP of the tournament, Aaron Craft, a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and Jon Diebler, a second-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Carmen’s Crew received a bye in the first round, but if last year’s results are any indication, they will be a tough out for the House of ‘Paign.

“Those guys play very well together, and you can tell they’re a close-knit group,” Daum said. “For us it’s going to take a lot of mental focus and doing the little things.”

If the House of ‘Paign are going to win, they will likely need a strong performance out of the gate from Daum again, and the House of ‘Paign will also need better shooting performances from Billy Garrett and Michael Finke.

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