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More than 50 former NBA players to participate in $2 million tournament

The field for The Basketball Tournament -- a $2 million, winner-take-all event -- has been announced, and more than 50 former NBA players will participate.

The field had 97 teams a year ago, but TBT founder/CEO Jonathan Mugar decided to pare it to 64 in an effort to make it more competitive and also eliminate bye rounds.

"The teams from top to bottom are a lot stronger this year," Mugar told ESPN. "And they understand how to build a team for TBT. You really need dedicated team players who can handle maximum pressure."

The field is also loaded with college alumni teams. Syracuse will once again enter a squad, Boeheim's Army, with former Orange players Eric Devendorf, Donte Greene, Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair among those on the roster.

Kentucky has entered a team, Bluegrass Boys, with former Wildcats standout and ex-NBA player Derek Anderson coaching a team that includes Marquis Teague, Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley and Chane Behanan, a member of Louisville's national championship team in 2013.

The core of Villanova's 2009 Final Four team -- Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Antonio Pena and Reggie Redding -- will participate. Former NBA player Larry Sanders is expected to begin his comeback by playing with the core of the 2011 VCU team.

Michigan State, Gonzaga, Villanova, Kansas State, Memphis, Utah, Marquette, Davidson, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Boston College, La Salle, Bradley and Temple all have teams laden with alums.

Former NBA players Mike Bibby and Jason Williams will team up in the backcourt for Pedro's Posse.

"It's a great tournament," said Bibby, who participated last year. "These guys can really play, so you have to bring your A-game. This is what these guys do for a living, so it's not going to be easy."

Overseas Elite, which won the event and the $1 million prize a year ago, earned an automatic bid and will return in an attempt to defend its title.

The single-elimination tournament began in 2014 when the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni won $500,000.

"We'll have a cross-section," Mugar said. "That's what we envisioned when we started this: all types of teams coming from all types of backgrounds. It's an open tournament.

"I knew the play would be good, but I never envisioned a scenario where a potential second-round matchup could be a team of ex-Kentucky players versus a team with former Michigan State players. It's phenomenal."

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 semifinals will be July 30, and the championship Aug. 2. Both will be televised on ESPN.