The summer is usually a pretty slow time for Syracuse sports fans, but for the second straight year a group of former Orangemen will give you Christmas (in the form of Syracuse basketball) in July. Boeheim’s Army kicks off its play in “The Basketball Tournament” Saturday, and this year the stakes are even higher. Instead of the $1 million prize Boeheim’s Army played for last summer, this year the dollar amount has doubled and the winning team will split $2 million. With so much on the line, let’s take some time to look at the teams who stand between Boeheim’s Army and the round of 16.
Basketball City NYC
The Army’s first round matchup may be only the 15 seed in the Northeast region, but don’t think it’ll be an easy win. Just about everyone on Basketball City NYC has played in either the D League or overseas, so they’ll bring a lot of talent to Philadelphia. The biggest thing that stands out about this team is its size. NYC has four players listed at 6-10 or above, and while Boeheim’s Army definitely has plenty of its own big men, this is a game where they’ll be the smaller team on the court. Boeheim’s Army should be able to win this one without too much trouble (and NYC’s general manager is a Syracuse alum so they’ll probably throw the game anyways), but there’s no promises with so much experience on both sides.
North Broad Street Bullies
The Bullies are a potential second round matchup for Boeheim’s Army made up of former Temple players. Boeheim’s Army showed last season it can bring a home court advantage just about anywhere, but this might be a game where Broad Street has the advantage in the crowd with the Northeast games taking place in Philadelphia. Khalif Wyatt is an Israeli League All-Star who will headline the roster, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (teammate of former Syracuse player Chris McCullough with the New Jersey Nets) will coach his brother Rahlir and the rest of the squad.
20th & Olney
20th & Olney will play the Bullies in the first round, and if you’re a fan of good basketball and a good storyline you should be rooting for them to win and play Boeheim’s Army in the second. The Army played the gang of former La Salle University players last season in the second round and things got heated, ending in an Eric Devendorf ejection. In the end, Boeheim’s Army barely squeaked out a 92-91 victory in overtime to advance to the tournament’s Super 17. The fact 20th & Olney is only a 10 seed in this years tournament goes to show that you can’t sleep on any of the teams in this tournament.
Boeheim’s Army plays Basketball City NYC Saturday at 7:30 eastern time. The first round games won’t be televised, but all of them will be streamed for free online at thetournament.com.
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