House of ‘Paign falls to 15-seeded Jackson TN Underdawgs in historic upset

By Andre Thomas, Staff Writer

The eighth annual The Basketball Tournament has started this year, along with it is the chance to win the $1 million cash prize.

Today, the Illinois regional began the first session of this long four-day segment with four consecutive games. No. 2 House of ‘Paign, the Illinois alumni team, took on 15-seeded Jackson TN Underdawgs, falling in one of the biggest upsets in TBT history, 64-58. 

Illinois new ten-man roster was very important this year, considering the new addition of Juice Thompson and Mike Daum. However, their transition this year was unexpectedly difficult heading into today’s game. House of ‘Paign started this game trailing and had to fight their way back into the game. They were down ten points at one point in this game before cutting the deficit to five with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

House of ‘Paign could not catch rhythm in the first quarter until Brandon Paul and Rayvonte Rice began catching fire.  At halftime, Illinois looked drained and tired but managed to fight for a chance at the lead at the end of the quarter being down by just six points. 

Despite the House of Paign’s 4-for-17 shooting from the 3-point line, things were starting to lean their way coming into the second half when Rice hit, kick-starting an eight-point run from the former Illini standout.

House of ‘Paign’s shooting drastically got better after baskets from Nnanna Egwu, Rice and Paul gave a 49-44 lead going into the fourth quarter, igniting one loud I-L-L I-N-I chat throughout Peoria Civic Center. The team had been on fire since the four-minute mark in the second quarter, but this spark was ignited by Rice’s 18 points.

House of ‘Paign came to this game as the five-point favorite, but the Illinois alumni couldn’t come back after being outscored 20-9 in the fourth quarter. House of ‘Paign played a very competitive game, as there were eight lead changes, but it is now eliminated and will have to wait until next year to exact its revenge. 

[email protected]