Teams: No. 1 Boeheim’s Army (2-0) vs. No. 4 Armored Athlete (2-0)
Day & Time: Saturday, July 28, 1 p.m. ET
Venue: Georgia State University Sports Arena, Atlanta, Ga.
Armored Athlete Blog?: Could potentially pick from any number of them, since the team boasts alums from Oregon, Purdue, Rhode Island, Indiana, Louisville, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Miami, Holy Cross and St. Bonaventure (and more).
Current Streak: None there either, for now
First Meeting: Saturday!
Last Meeting: Are we still confused on the concept of “have never played before?”
Head Coaches: Boeheim’s Army: Ryan Blackwell (3rd Year, 8-2); Armored Athlete: Adam Ross (1st Year, 2-0)
Head Coach Bio: Ross was an athlete at Maryland, then went into private equity and real estate after graduating, and now lives in Florida. However, he’s done plenty of work with the game of basketball as well, apart from steering the ship for Armored Athlete.
He’s coached high school basketball and helped get numerous prospects to DI schools, and also sat on the board for both the Charlotte Bobcats and Charlotte Sting (WNBA).
Last Year: Armored Athlete ran through (additional Syracuse Orange-related team) the Pearl 31s in 2017, and wound up marching all the way to the Elite 8, where they lost by 12 to Team Challenge ALS. Impressively, they did knock off 1-seed Team Colorado on the way, though. They’ve previously competed in the West Region.
Last Game: They walked the tight rope against Gael Nation, but hit a foul shot to get to the target score and win, 75-73. Julian Gamble (Miami) wound up with a double-double of 19 points and 12 boards, and Murphy Holloway (Ole Miss) recorded a similar feat with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Armored Athlete trailed by 17 at one point in the second half, but made up the deficit with Gamble, Holloway and Terrico White (Ole Miss) leading the way.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Armored Athlete has a few scorers on the roster, so you can’t really sleep on too many of these guys. That said, White’s probably your most dangerous shooter of all. He’s scored a combined 44 points in the two games so far, and was 6-of-11 from three in the opener. He followed that up with a 2-of-6 effort against Gael Nation. Still: could be lethal from outside, especially if they opt to try and shoot their way past the zone.
If Boeheim’s Army Wins: They’re onto the Elite Eight and a potential matchup with Golden Eagles, the Marquette squad. Beating them in the Elite Eight once again would be fitting for a group of players (like James Southerland and Brandon Triche) that already did so once in their careers.
If Boeheim’s Army Loses: It’s likely because of the same things we’ve seen thus far. Bully ball and some clutch shooting by the likes of John Gillon and Demetris Nichols have guided the team to wins. But given the amount of talent on Armored Athlete’s roster, that’s not necessarily going to work again.
Fun Fact No. 1: The Marcus Thornton on Armored Athlete is the one that went to William & Mary, not the one that went to LSU and last played in the NBA in 2017, for the Wizards. You’d be forgiven for confusing the two.
Fun Fact No. 2: All combined, Armored Athlete players are 6-9 all-time against Syracuse. Jordan Hulls (Indiana) is 0-1, with the lone game being the Sweet 16 upset in 2013 while Will Sheehey is 0-2 with that game and the ACC/B1G follow-up the next year. Demetrius Conger (St. Bonaventure) was on the Bonnies for just one matchup, a loss.
Kevin Jones (West Virginia) played for the Mountaineers from 2008-12, which included a five-game losing streak for WVU to cap their time sharing the Big East with us. Preston Knowles (Louisville) is the lone player on the roster with a win, but he had six of them with the Cards from 2007-11.