Boeheim's Army, the lovable team of former Syracuse Orange players who reunited last summer to play for $1 million in "The Basketball Tournament," is now officially back for another go this year.
On Wednesday, The Tournament (or TBT) announced 60 of the 64 teams who would be in this year's bracket. The 11 teams with the most votes in each region get an automatic bid, while TBT selected three at-large bids in each region from the remaining eligible teams. The last four spots in the tournament will be given to the team in each region who raises the most money for the "Big Brothers Big Sisters America" via GoFundMe.
It's not like Boeheim's Army was in danger of missing out this year. They lead the Northeast region for the second consecutive year with over 2,500 fan votes. Today was really just when it became official.
But there are a few things that have changed in this year's tournament. For starters, the teams are playing for $2 million, double the prize money of last year's contest. There will also be more coverage on the ESPN family of networks. ESPN will broadcast 11 games of this year's tournament, with the semifinals and final on ESPN in primetime.
But the biggest change is the competition. Last year, Boeheim's Army was one of the most talented and experienced teams in the field and easily the most popular. This year, that has changed. Boeheim's Army is only third in fan votes, behind a team of Kansas State alumni and Kentucky (yes, Kentucky) alumni. Michigan State, Gonzaga, Memphis, VCU, Marquette, Temple, Villanova, Boston College and more schools have all also put together teams of alumni this year.
Basically, they stole our idea.
Still, Boeheim's Army has a roster to be reckoned with. Led again by Eric Devendorf, this year's squad features C.J. Fair, Rick Jackson, Baye Moussa Keita, Brandon Triche, Terrence Roberts, Donte Greene and Darryl Watkins. They've been there before and will, of course, be in that 2-3 zone they've all mastered over the years.