Syracuse is now synonymous with summer. If someone wants to consume competitive American basketball in the NBA and NCAA offseason outside of the muddy summer league product, there’s no avoiding the Syracuse Orange’s alumni team.
The fifth edition of The Basketball Tournament opens its field of 72 teams headlined by No. 1 seed Boeheim’s Army in mid-July. Boeheim’s Army will begin its road to the $2-million winner-take-all pot on Saturday July 21 at 6:45 p.m. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (or “BROOKYLN, as the bracket notes).
John Gillon and Eric Devendorf return alongside Hakim Warrick, Kris Joseph, James Southerland, Paul Harris, Brandon Triche and Dashonte Riley. They’ll begin their attempt at retaining their Northeast title and trying to get past the tourney semifinals against either the South Jamaica Kings or the Philadelphia Stars, who are in the play-in game as the 16-seed.
The Stars mostly feature community college ballers from the Philly area. Their two tallest players measure in at 6’5”, one being Lewis Leonard who played at St. Bonaventure and in Europe.
The Kings present a more encouraging profile. James Anacreon played at Wichita State before starring at Valdosta in Division II. They fell in the first round last summer by over 20 points to the Supernova led by Malcolm Grant.
If Boeheim’s Army, featuring former NBA players, slides by one of those two 16-seed squads featuring profile photos in random gyms or selfies they could immediately run into a rematch with Team Fancy.
If not for a flurry of seven points from Triche in the final minutes, including the go-ahead three, BA could have fallen short of the semifinals to Fancy last year. That 65-61 win officially solidified the typical frantic nature of Orange basketball translated to the summer squad in the comeback win.
Team FOE, featuring Marcus and Markieff Morris, squandered a double-digit halftime lead to BA next. They won’t be back, but the Overseas Elite roster that topped them a game short of the championship game in Baltimore returns as the one-seed on the same side of the bracket as Syracuse.
We’re poised for a rematch.
The Basketball Tournament runs from July 14 through August 3. Should the Orange return to the Final Four, they’ll roll through Brooklyn, Atlanta and Baltimore.