Boeheim’s Army, the Syracuse region #2 seed, beat Team Gibson, the #7 seed, 99-83 in the opening round of The Basketball Tournament on Monday night. Here are the most important things to know headed into round two.
A Glimpse Into Life After the 2-3 Zone
Boeheim’s Army played primarily man-to-man defense, but it wasn’t an ordinary set up either. The team focused on trapping, switching, and weak side help defense. The result was 14 caused turnovers, 19 points off turnovers, and 17 fastbreak points.
The defensive scheme provided the best of both worlds. There were one-on-one defenders to limit three-point shooting from Team Gibson, but there was still lots of off-ball action like in Syracuse’s patented 2-3 zone.
Adrian Autry might not copy Boeheim’s Army’s game plan exactly, but he has said that the Orange will be trying new things on defense. Hopefully, this success provides a blueprint for something to utilize next season.
Top Two Guards Emerge
Boeheim’s Army saw plenty of turnover with its guards since last year. Matt Morgan and Dee Bost got most of the minutes in 2022, but neither are on the team this time around. However, it’s very clear who’s taking their places.
Andrew White returned to the squad this summer, but immediately took on a bigger role. In the first round win, White scored 20 points on an impressive 8/9 shooting. The spacing White provides really opened up things inside for Boeheim’s Army’s bigs, so it won’t be surprising to see him get an even bigger role going forward.
Grant Riller is a name Syracuse fans may be less familiar with, but he was just as successful as White. The College of Charleston product also scored 20 while being efficient, shooting at a 62% clip. Riller was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft by the Hornets, and played a bit in Charlotte. He’s since bounced around in the G-League, but Riller has a proven track record and clearly has talent that Boeheim’s Army will be using.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Every single player that touched the floor for Boeheim’s Army scored at least two points. All 11 of them. While 13 assists isn’t a particularly impressive stat, the ball movement looked solid and everyone got opportunities to score.
What’s Next for Boeheim’s Army?
Boeheim’s Army plays a second round game against The Nerd Team, the #3 seed, on Wednesday at 8:00 pm. This matchup provides a chance for revenge, as TNT upset Boeheim’s Army in the second round of TBT last year.