WICHITA — The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a 64-team, $1 million winner-take-all event televised live on ESPN, today announced that Wichita will serve as one of the regional sites for the 2021 event, hosted by Visit Wichita and Wichita State University. The AfterShocks, Wichita State’s alumni team, will serve as the featured team in the 16-team Wichita Regional taking place at Charles Koch Arena, July 16-20, 2021.
“We’re eager to welcome TBT and the AfterShocks back to Wichita this summer after an incredibly successful event in 2019,” said Brad Pittman, WSU senior associate athletic director and tournament manager. “The support Shocker fans show for former Wichita State athletes is incredible, and we’re looking forward to giving the AfterShocks another opportunity to play in front of a home crowd at Charles Koch Arena.”
“The last time the Aftershocks played a round one game in TBT, it shattered attendance records,” TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar said. “From that moment on, we knew we found a great home for TBT basketball in Wichita. We are excited to partner with Wichita State and return to Koch Arena this summer to experience that passion once again.”
“Wichitans showed so much excitement and support for the tournament when Wichita played host to the event in 2019, packing into Koch Arena to almost triple the TBT attendance record. Without a doubt, we knew what a great event this was for the city and wanted to bring it back to enjoy for a second time,” said Josh Howell, sports sales manager for Visit Wichita. “The love of basketball and Wichita State is strong, and we look forward to another successful year of TBT action.”
Wichita was slated to host a 2020 regional before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed TBT to create a 24-team “bubble” in Columbus, Ohio, making TBT the first sporting event in the United States to crown a champion amidst the nationwide lockdown. As a first-time host site in 2019, Wichita broke the TBT attendance record for four straight days, drawing 20,000 fans to Charles Koch Arena to see Aftershocks compete in their first TBT. The Aftershocks’ first game against Iowa United drew a record 7,184 fans.
Early commitments for the AfterShocks’ 2021 roster include Conner Frankamp, Rashard Kelly, Markis McDuffie, and Samaje Haynes-Jones. Zach Bush and JR Simon will serve as co-general managers of AfterShocks. Additional roster announcements will be made at a later date.
“Playing for the AfterShocks in 2019 and getting to relive my time at Wichita State was an incredibly special opportunity,” AfterShocks forward and Wichita State alumnus Rashard Kelly said. “I’m really looking forward to playing in front of the best fans in college basketball again this summer, and their support will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of winning that $1 million grand prize.”
“Our fans, as usual, set the standard for excitement and support when we broke TBT attendance records in front of a national television audience on ESPN,” Wichita State men’s basketball head coach Isaac Brown said. “We love our former Shockers players and no other fan base across this country shows it better. TBT allows these guys to showcase their talent and play in front of the greatest fans in the world in one of the best venues in college basketball. There’s no better place for TBT to be played than in Wichita!”
Alongside the AfterShocks, fifteen other teams will compete in the Wichita Regional from July 16-20, with all games shown on ESPN. First-round games at Koch Arena will be played Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17. Second round games will all be played on Sunday, July 18, and two third round games will be on Tuesday, July 20.
All-session tickets for the TBT Wichita Regional Tickets are on sale now at goshockers.com/tickets.
Two teams from Wichita, as well as six other teams from TBT’s three remaining regionals, will advance to Championship Weekend at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, from July 31-Aug. 3.
TBT 2021 will once again feature an open-application process, allowing any team or group of players in the world to apply through TheTournament.com, May 1 – June 15. The 64-team, single-elimination bracket will be released on June 28. The field is expected to consist of international pros, college alumni teams, ex-NBA players, future NBA players and others. The 63-game event will take place July 16 – August 3.
For the fourth year in a row, TBT games will feature the Elam Ending, the end-of-game format adopted by the NBA All-Star game for the past two years, that eliminates the game clock after a certain point and features teams playing to a Target Score.
Regional Host Cities:
● Wichita, Kan. – headlined by AfterShocks (Wichita State alumni) – July 16-20
● Charleston, W.Va. – headlined by Best Virginia (West Virginia alumni) and Herd That (Marshall alumni) – July 17-21
● Columbus, Ohio – headlined by Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alumni) and Red Scare (Dayton alumni) – July 23-27
● Peoria, Ill. – headlined by Always A Brave (Bradley alumni) and House of ‘Paign (Illinois alumni) – July 24-28
Championship Weekend in Dayton:
● Quarterfinals – Saturday, July 31
● Semifinals – Sunday, Aug. 1
● $1 Million, Winner-Take-All Championship – Tuesday, Aug. 3
About The Basketball Tournament:
The original home of the Elam Ending, The Basketball Tournament has grown from a unique idea among friends to one of the most exciting and engaging events on the summer sports calendar, with national exposure on ESPN, social media buzz and regional championships across the country – culminating in a winner-take-all $1 million game. Every year it attracts some of the best players in the world. For more information on TBT’s eighth season, visit www.thetournament.com
About Wichita State University:
The mission of Wichita State University is to be an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good. Wichita State is a doctoral research university enrolling about 15,000 students and offering 59 undergraduate degree programs in more than 150 areas of study in seven undergraduate colleges. The Graduate School offers 45 master’s and 12 doctoral degrees that offer study in more than 100 areas.
About Visit Wichita:
Visit Wichita markets the greater Wichita area as a major convention and tourism destination, thereby enhancing the economic development of the city, county, region and state. Visit Wichita is led by president and CEO Susie Santo, and in 2018 travel and tourism contributed more than $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.