What is the Elam ending? Basketball tournament uses ‘The Sling Shot’ to end games with a target score

July 16 will mark the return of the basketball tournament – and one of the sport’s most exciting endings.

The basketball tournament, a 64-team competition that rewards the winner with a grand prize of $1 million, does not use a traditional game clock for the end of its games. Instead, it features the Elam Ending, which basketball fans may recall was also used at the recent NBA All-Star Games.

How does the Elam ending work? It’s actually a pretty simple concept.

MORE: The Basketball Tournament Spectator’s Guide

What is the Elam ending?

Under the Elam Ending format, the game clock is cut off in the fourth quarter and teams must reach a target score to win. The target score is set by adding eight points to the leading team’s total. For example, if the score is 100 to 90, the target score would be 108.

The Elam Ending puts pressure on teams to lock in defensively rather than repeatedly foul in an attempt to stop the clock. It also creates incredibly exciting possessions as teams take the ball to the ground with an opportunity to win.

Look no further than LeBron James’ winning shot in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.

Who created the end of Elam?

Ball State University professor Nick Elam created the Elam Ending, which he originally called the “Hybrid Duration Format.” He started working on the format in 2004 after getting frustrated watching the 2004 NCAA Tournament games end.

After years of analysis, Elam determined that not only do trailing teams often make intentional fouls, but the strategy also fails the vast majority of the time. He wrote up his proposal and sent it to the basketball tournament in 2016, and it was implemented the following year.

What is “The Sling Shot”?

On July 14, Sling TV announced that it had partnered with The Basketball Tournament. As part of the agreement, the final shot of each match will be called “The Sling Shot”.

“We are proud to announce that Sling is the Official Tournament Sponsor and to unveil the game’s winning ‘Sling Shot’, which will be featured in every TBT match,” said TBT Founder and CEO Jon Mugar. “This partnership highlights one of the most marketable facets of Elam Ending: every game ends with its best move.

“And by combining the live television value of Sling with the intensity of TBT, fans will have an electrifying experience for this year’s tournament.”

How to watch the basketball tournament

  • When: July 16-August. 2
  • TV channel: ESPN network family
  • Diffusion: ESPN app | TV Sling

The basketball tournament will be televised on the ESPN family of networks: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. You can also stream The Basketball Tournament on the ESPN app and Sling TV, the official streaming partner of The Basketball Tournament.

Viewers who sign up for Sling TV get half of the first month without a long-term contract. Watch The Basketball Tournament live on ESPN and access sports programming on the ESPN family of networks.

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