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TBT preview: Boeheim’s Army begins road to $1 million

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Summer basketball is back — global pandemic or not

Photo via James Szuba/@JamesSzuba on twitter

The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is upon us! Boeheim’s Army is back for a sixth attempt at the grand prize of the $1 million winner-takes-all tournament, and we’re here to break down the road for Syracuse’s alumni team.

Who’s returning?

Some of your favorite Orange names are back for another season with Boeheim’s Army. Eric Devendorf, Brandon Triche, John Gillon, Demetris Nichols, Donte Greene, and Andrew White are all back after playing at least one season with BA in TBT. Head Coach Ryan Blackwell has coached Boeheim’s Army since 2016 and is once again back to lead the SU alumni.

Who’s joining?

An injection of youth and shooting bolster the TBT veterans on Boeheim’s Army. Former first round picks Malachi Richardson and Chris McCullough join BA in Columbus, Ohio for the 24-team tournament. 2020 Colgate graduate Will Rayman also joins the Orange alumni for TBT. Tyler Lydon was set to join the squad this season for the first team but had to pull out late due to a hip injury. (Side note, McCullough had been previously announced to play for BA in 2019 but he signed a pro contract to play in Puerto Rico before the event)

Wait… in Columbus?

Due to the coronavirus, TBT modified its format and location to hold the event in one spot over a smaller period of time. Every game will be played at Nationwide Arena, the home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. That means there won’t be games at Onondaga Community College like last season’s TBT. Fans who bought tickets in advance will be refunded and full.

You also said 24 teams?

Usually TBT is a 64-team tournament, but once again the field of teams has been modified due to the coronavirus. 24 teams will now duke it out for $1 million.

So how does the format work this year?

TBT is still your favorite NCAA-style tournament. A single-elimination bracket with the good ol’ Elam Ending to finish off every game. For those unaware, at the first dead-ball whistle below four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the game clock is shut off. A target score is then determined by adding seven points to the score of the winning team at the time of the whistle. The first team to reach that score wins the game. Each team in the field also received a seed with numbers 1-24.

What seed is Boeheim’s Army?

BA got the third-overall seed in the tournament — and before you complain that they should have been the No. 1 overall seed, take a look at the two teams above them seeding-wise. Carmen’s Crew is the number one overall seed after winning last year’s TBT. Overseas Elite is the number two overall seed and have won the tournament four times. Also remember, Syracuse was a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament back in 2003 (Shhh... we’re not talking about the 2011 tournament. Ever).

So who does Boeheim’s Army play first?

By virtue of earning the number three seed, BA got a first round bye, essentially placing the team in the Sweet 16. They’ll play the winner of 14-seed Heartfire and 19-seed Men of Mackey. Heartfire is led by Hall of Fame coach Homer Drew and some Baylor alumni including Isaiah Austin and Quincy Miller. Men of Mackey are Purdue alumni, named after their home stadium Mackey Arena.

Do you have a link to the entire bracket?

I sure do.

How about a schedule?

I aim to please.

Who should we be scared of?

No one.

But in all seriousness, Overseas Elite is on BA’s side of the bracket and could play the Orange alumni in the semifinals. These two teams met in the exact same position in 2017, with Overseas Elite winning that matchup. Boeheim’s Army has previously lost to two other teams in this year’s TBT - four-seed Golden Eagles in 2018 and 12-seed Brotherly Love in 2019.

Does Georgetown still suck?

Yes.

Where and when can I watch?

All TBT games will be on main ESPN with the exception of two first-round games that will be on ESPN2, including Heartfire vs Men of Mackey. BA’s first game is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7 at 4:00 pm EDT.

Are we happy that basketball is back?

Yes. Now get ready to turn on “Welcome to the Jungle” before tipoff and proceed to stand and clap.