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Let’s Get Ready to TBT - Men of Mackey vs Carmen’s Crew

An ole’ fashioned Big10 grudge match is on tap at 4 P.M. today in the TBT.

Michigan State v Purdue Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Men of Mackey, coming off a dominating performance over a solid Ballinteers team, look to move closer to the ultimate prize in what will assuredly be a heated matchup with TBT stalwart Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State).

Men of Mackey

The Men of Mackey relied on a balanced scoring attack in their win over the Ballinteers. 6 players reached double digits, led by Kelsey Barlow’s 19 point explosion. He was joined in double figures by Robbie Hummel (13), Ra’Shad James (12) Isaac Haas (11) and Frank Gaines (11). Lewis Jackson led the way in assists with 6, and tied for the team lead in rebounding with Robbie Hummel at 6 boards. Haas contributed 2 blocks, and influenced the entire Ballinteer offense when he was in the game.

The performance was even more impressive because two presumed key contributors (Jon Octeus and A.J. Hammons) were not available to play. Octeus was working his way through the medical protocols and Hammons tweaked an ankle earlier in the week.

Good news though...

and more good news....

The Men of Mackey (woefully under-seeded) will be at full strength in their match-up with the top seeded Carmen’s Crew.

Carmen’s Crew

The Ohio State Alumni have been a fixture in the TBT, and have the 2019 tournament trophy for their efforts. They knocked off 16th seeded Mid American Unity 77-65 in a surprisingly close game. Carmen’s Crew utilized their superior depth to grind down Mid American Unity, but when both teams were fresh, their wasn’t much to separate the two.

While the Men of Mackey relied on a more balanced attack, Carmen’s Crew is more star driven. David Lighty Jr. led the way with 19, followed by Kosta Koufos (16), William Buford (14), and Julian Mavunga (10). They dominated the glass with Koufos and Buford both pulling down 10 boards. Koufos also contributed 3 blocks. Shannon Scott held down the point and led the team in assists with 3.

The Matchup

This game is going to be won or lost in the paint, which is unusual for TBT game. Carmen’s Crew flexed their muscles on the inside with Koufos and Buford dominating the glass. They’ll find the sledding a little tougher today with Haas and Robbie banging on the inside, and Barlow and Octeus coming in from the wings. If A.J. is in any kind of shape, he could be a game changer on the inside with his defensive ability alone and at worst, will give Haas time to recover after the inevitable beating he’s going to take in the paint.

The Haas vs Koufos matchup is particularly intriguing. Koufos has a long NBA career (2008-2015) and has played Euro Ball at the highest level (CSK Moscow and Olympiacos). His ability to step out and shoot the 3 will challenge Haas on defense. Haas has 50+ pounds on Koufos and should be able to body the grizzled veteran in the post. This is a showcase game for Haas. He’s still fighting for his shot in the NBA, and a good showing against a guy like Koufos could garner some interest from NBA scouts.

Outside of the paint, David Lighty is the same hyper athletic 6’6 guard you remember from Ohio State, but his skill level has taken a huge jump. He has carved out a solid career in France, winning the League Finals MVP twice (2013, 2021) and is a two time French League All-Star (2013, 2019). He’s a professional basketball player, and he’s a good one.

Barlow started his professional career with Grand Rapids Drive before a brief stint in the French Second league. He set up shop in the Greek league from 2016-2018, before moving on to Argentina (2019-2020). He is currently signed with Soles de Mexicali in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (Mexico’s top league). Somewhere in his basketball wanderings, he picked up the jump shot that was on full display against the Ballinteers. He’s another player with something to prove, and an established player like Lighty provides him with a nice matchup to display his talents.

Open Thread

Consider this the Open Thread.