Golden Eagles Alumni learn TBT opponent

The Golden Eagles Alumni will take on Midwest Dream Squad in the first round of TBT.

The Golden Eagles Alumni will take on Midwest Dream Squad in the first round of TBT.

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Golden Eagles Alumni (GEA) will enter The Basketball Tournament much differently this year.

Last time, they were a No. 6 seed playing an Illinois Hoopville Warriors team that reached the tournament’s second weekend twice. Now they’re the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region and will take on the Midwest Dream Squad, according to the newly released 2017 TBT bracket.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, July 15 at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Second-round games are the following day. GEA’s Super 16 game, should they make it that far, would be in Brooklyn, New York somewhere between July 20 and 22.

Golden Eagles Alumni will look to improve on their impressive performance from last year. They made a run all the way to the Elite 8 before falling to Always A Brave, a collection of former Bradley University players, 89-81 in Philadelphia. Always A Brave is a three-seed in the Midwest region of this year’s bracket and the de facto home team on the opening weekend.

Midwest Dream Squad, GEA’s opponent, is a collection of former collegiate players from around the country. The team bio states “Most of the guys…aren’t former college teammates. Many have not often played together. Some are even rivals.” Current New York Knick Derrick Rose is a booster for the team, which earned the sixth-most votes in the Midwest region. That was sufficient for an automatic bid to TBT.

Since they couldn’t get in automatically, the Alumni also had to rely on fan voting. The Marquette faithful didn’t disappoint as GEA racked up 1,857 votes, good enough for first place in the Midwest region and third overall.

Every player on last year’s team except point guard Derrick Wilson will be returning for the 2017 TBT. There are also a few new players: small forwards Juan Anderson and Lawrence Blackledge. Guard Trent Lockett is listed on the roster again this year; he was listed last year too but did not play.

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