One of the unexpectedly-delightful experiences last summer was The Basketball Tournament, a hoops tourney with a grand prize of $1 million doled out to the winning team, was Syracuse Orange's fans' escape from the off-season blues. We got to watch some of our favorite former Orange compete for the prize and make it all the way to quarterfinals of the 97-team bracket. Eric Devendorf, Terrence Roberts, Hakim Warrick, Baye Keita, Demetris Nichols, Rick Jackson and the rest dazzled us and reminded us that SU Basketball fans will turn their lives upside down just to watch what's essentially a pick-up game featuring Orange alums.
Get ready to have some more fun this summer. The Basketball Tournament will be back and this time the prize is even bigger.
The Basketball Tournament will double its winner-take-all prize money to $2 million this year.
Founder Jonathan Mugar, who began the single-elimination event in the summer of 2014, told ESPN that the field will also be pared down from 97 to 64 teams.
The regionals will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Charlotte. The Super 16 will take place at Philadelphia University from July 21-23, and the semifinals and championship game will be at Fordham University in New York for the second consecutive year. The semis will be on July 30, and the championship on Aug. 2. Both will be televised on ESPN.
To answer your first question, yes, Boeheim's Army will be back according to GM Kevin Belbey.
"We will definitely be back. Honestly, TBT is such a cool and unique event that our guys would play in it for free. But the $2 million is a nice little addition. That's change-your-life kind of money for all our players."
Belbey told TNiAAM that he's "working on getting the team togrther with some new additions." Regardless of who plays, the Army is "looking forward to wearing orange again and having the dedicated Syracuse faithful behind them again."
Devo told Donna Ditota that he's planning on being back. Belbey says he'll have the roster set before April 1 when fan voting begins to determine who qualifies.
You can check out this hype video for the tourney, which features quite a few shots of Boeheim's Army. Looking forward to doing this again...