Good gawd almighty, Boeheim's Army is back!
The team consisting mostly of former Syracuse Orange returns to The Basketball Tournament in an attempt to win a $2 million grand prize to be split amongst the players and lucky fans who helped promote them.
The No. 2 seed Army takes on No. 15 seed Basketball City NYC in the Northeast Region first-round at Philadelphia University with opening tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m. You can watch the game for free live on Facebook thanks to Whistle Sports.
The winner will play the winner of No. 7-seed North Broad Street Bullies vs. No. 10-seed 20th & Olney on Sunday, game time TBD.
Last year, the Army made it to the quarterfinals of TBT before losing to City of Gods in large part because they lacked a dominant low post presence.
The team fixed that this year by bringing on Darryl Watkins and loading up on some other familiar faces intended to fill in the gaps from last year. Other Army players include Eric Devendorf, Rick Jackson, Terrence Roberts and Baye Keita, Donte Greene, Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, and honorary Orange Willie Deane.
Speaking of Devo, you'll be hearing a lot from him. He'll be mic'd up for the game after winning a fan poll for the honor. Earphones up for the kiddies.
Ryan Blackwell takes over as head coach and he's doing something the team didn't do last year: Installing an offense. He also plans to mix in a little 2-3 zone because duh.
The team will be wearing a tweaked uniform with more of a camo look. It also has a No. 31 patch on the back to honor Pearl Washington.
If you need a refresher of how exciting it is to watch a team consisting of former Orange in the middle of July, here's what I wrote last year after the second game of last year's tourney (vs. 20th & Olney) in which Eric Devendorf got ejected and the Army won in overtime.
You know that feeling in your chest when you're watching a Syracuse basketball game? That feeling of impending dread, like you know something horrible is going to eventually happen and we just need to find a way to stave off misery for a little longer so we can survive and move on? That's what this was like. And I realized...I missed that feeling. As if I'm addicted to it.
That's what happened when you're a Syracuse fan.
If you're on Twitter, give James Szuba a follow. He's in Philly covering the games and talking to the coaches and players.
Leave your pre-, in- and post-game comments below. G'Army! G'Orange!