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War Tampa to Play in TBT 2020!!!

Who’s ready for an Auburn Basketball on-court reunion??

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Official: the band (some of it) is getting back together!!!!

After weeks of excitement and speculation, the TBT announced their 24 team bracket on Tuesday afternoon and War Tampa, a squad featuring 4 players from Auburn, made the field as the 17th seed in the 24 team tournament beginning on July 4th in Columbus, Ohio.

The tournament will be one of the first sporting events in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic shut sports down in the middle of March. It was supposed to be a 64 team field but the pandemic forced the TBT to lower the field to 24 for this season.

All games will be on the ESPN networks and held at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, with no fans allowed. The winner of the single elimination tournament will win $1 million. With 24 teams in the field, the top 8 seeds received byes. These teams are teams that have played in the tournament several times prior this year, including Overseas Elite, the 2 seed who has won 4 of the 6 all-time TBTs.

War Tampa will begin the tournament facing House of Paign, the 16 seed, on July 4th. House of Paign is a group of former Illinois players along with others including South Dakota State’s Mike Daum, one of the top mid-major players over the last few years in College Basketball.

The winner of that game will face the “host” team and top seed Carmen’s Crew, an Ohio State alumni group who comes into this year’s tournament as the defending champion. That game will be played on Wednesday July 8th.

War Tampa was originally established as Tampa 20/20 but after bringing Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer on board to join other former players LaRon Smith and Desean Murray, the Auburn fan support jumped through the roof. They became so popular that T-Shirts were made to help raise money for the team to train leading up to the event. Then the support continued to grow from Auburn fans that the team was renamed from Tampa 20/20 to War Tampa.

As for who will represent Auburn on Team War Tampa:

This will be LaRon Smith’s 3rd year on the team and will once again reunite with Horace Spencer who were teammates in Argentina this past season. Smith has played a major role in getting some of his former Auburn teammates on board. He was one of the foundational pieces on Bruce Pearl’s 2016-2017 team and provided some great play off the bench in his 1 season on the Plains.

Desean Murray returns to the team for a 2nd time and will begin his professional career next year in Luxembourg. Murray played a pivotal role on Auburn’s 2017-2018 SEC Regular Season Title winning team.

Brown’s signing is what really jump started the fan support from Auburn fans. Brown spent this past season with the Maine Red Claws in the G-League with a possible callup to the Boston Celtics looming before the virus ended the G-League season prematurely.

Horace was having a great rookie season with Atenas down in Argentina before the virus ended his season prematurely.

While Smith, Murray, Brown and Spencer will play: several other former Auburn players have joined the team as boosters.

That list includes Marquis Daniels, Chuma Okeke, Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, TJ Lang, New Williams, and C.J. Holmes. Heron and Lang have said they intend on playing next year so perhaps in 2021 there will be a TBT squad made up of entirely former Auburn players.

The team also consists of other players originally from the Tampa/Orlando area.

At Point Guard, the team will be led by former Florida Gator Walter Hodge who was part of Florida’s back to back National Championship teams in 2006 and 2007.

Prolific 3-point shooter Fletcher Magee from Wofford also joins the team. He holds the NCAA record with 509 made 3-pointers over his 4 year collegiate career that ended last year.

Other players include Texas Tech’s Justin Gray, Columbus State’s Brent Jackson, Georgia State’s Isaiah Williams and Queens University of Charlotte’s Shaun Willett.

There is the possibility that another player or two gets added between now and July 4th but at least we will have the chance to support Auburn basketball players in just a few weeks time.

War Tampa and War Eagle!