The Basketball Tournament adjusts format, doubles prize

The Basketball Tournament will double its winner-take-all prize money to $2 million this year.

Founder Jonathan Mugar, who began the single-elimination event in the summer of 2014, told ESPN that the field will also be pared down from 97 to 64 teams.

"We want to make it a cleaner bracket and eliminate the bye rounds," Mugar told ESPN. "We feel that format will work better for the event."

In the first season, the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni won $500,000. Last year, it was a group filled with former college stars, Overseas Elite, that claimed the $1 million prize.

Registration begins April 1 for this year's event, which starts July 9-10.

The regionals will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Charlotte. The Super 16 will take place at Philadelphia University from July 21-23, and the semifinals and championship game will be at Fordham University in New York for the second consecutive year. The semis will be on July 30, and the championship on Aug. 2. Both will be televised on ESPN.

"That's amazing," said Kevin Belbey, the general manager of Boeheim's Army, a team comprising primarily former Syracuse players. "We will definitely be back. Honestly, TBT is such a cool and unique event that our guys would play in it for free. But the $2 million is a nice little addition. That's change-your-life kind of money for all our players."

Syracuse is just one of numerous college alumni to field a team in the past two years. Notre Dame will likely put a team together for the third consecutive season, and Villanova and Virginia have also done so. Ohio State staff member Jake Diebler, the brother of ex-Buckeyes guard Jon Diebler, told ESPN he is optimistic about putting together a team of former Buckeyes for this year's TBT.

More than 125 players who have experience in the NBA or the NBA's D-League have played in the TBT -- including former No. 2 overall pick Mike Bibby.

Twelve of the 16 teams in each region will be selected solely based on the number of votes. Qualifying teams need at least 200 votes by June 1.

The winning fans share 10 percent, or $200,000, of the total prize money, up from 5 percent a year ago.

Last year's regional champions -- Overseas Elite, Team 23, City of Gods and Ants Alumni -- will all be given an automatic spot as long as they sign up and receive at least 200 votes by June 1.