This Saturday, Boeheim’s Army starts their annual quest for a The Basketball Tournament title and the $2 Million prize. The road starts at Long Island University Brooklyn, with BA as the no. 1 seed in the Northeast. That means two No. 16 seeds will play tonight, with the winner getting a 6:50 p.m. Saturday night date with the ‘Cuse alumni.
Let’s get this weekend started with a quick look at each of the four potential foes BA could face this weekend.
#16 Philadelphia Stars
Their Story: Players from the Philadelphia area.
Key Players: Lewis Leonard SG (St. Bonaventure), Jamir Hanner SF (Marshall)
Philly Stars doesn’t have the same firepower as most teams in the TBT, but a single elimination game, especially in TBT, means anything can happen. They’re the underdogs, but last year, an unknown Philly team almost knocked out Boeheim’s Army so I’m not sleeping on any team from there.
#16 South Jamaica Kings
Their Story: A group of guys from Queens, NY. They lost in the first round of TBT last year.
Key Players: Iyoha Agho PG (New York University), Cameron Tyler PG/SG/GM (Farleigh Dickinson University)
South Jamaica Kings have been a staple in TBT, even if the team hasn’t made it past the first weekend. The Queens based ballers will be leaning heavily on Agho to control the tempo so Tyler, one of the handful of players on this teams with oversees experience, can create enough mismatches to set up prime scoring opportunities. Look out for Allan Thomas; the guard dropped 37 in the Kings first round loss last year and could be part of a three guard look they play versus the undersized Stars.
#9 Saints Alive
Their Story: Siena College alumni players.
Key Players: O.D. Anosike PF (Siena College), Ronald Moore PG (Siena College)
Saints Alive! is the name of the Athletic fund that supports Siena College, and you can bet LIU will be Green and Gold Saturday for their game. Their team is filled with Siena College stars who have had runs in the NBA Summer League, G/D-League, and Europe. Siena is balanced, so it comes down to their stars making plays. Anosike has been playing with Real Betis and is a rebound machine while Moore just started a three year deal with Pallacanestro in Italy.
#8 Team Fancy
Their Story: A TBT regular, backed by JaValee McGee, Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason III. They lost to Boeheim’s Army in the Super 16 in Brooklyn last year.
Key Players: Malcom Grant PG (Miami), Delroy James SF (Rhode Island)
Finally, we end with my pick to take on Boeheim’s Army. Team Fancy has supporters like Julio Jones coming their games, and is a collection of really interesting European basketball talent. Last year, Ra’Shad James was the highest scoring Fancy player in their loss to Boeheim’s Army. While he’s not listed on their roster as of Friday, they still have a guard in Malcom Grant, a 2,000 point scorer and former preseason All-ACC star, who has been very successful in Europe. Should Fancy advance past Saints Alive, Grant vs BA’s trio of guards will be match-up to watch.