Syracuse Basketball: Boeheim’s Army first TBT foe will prove formidable

Boeheim’s Army, the collection of former Syracuse basketball stars aiming to win $1 million in the TBT, will face either Heartfire or Men of Mackey.

Boeheim’s Army, whose eight-man roster has seen two former Syracuse basketball stars unfortunately have to opt-out of The Basketball Tournament (“TBT”) in recent days, will suit up for the first occasion next Tuesday, and the team better bring its A-game.

The No. 3 seed in the 24-squad TBT field, with the ultimate victor capturing $1 million, Boeheim’s Army will play the winner of No. 14 seed Heartfire versus No. 19 seed Men of Mackey.

The Boeheim’s Army encounter will take place at 4 pm on Tuesday, July 7, with ESPN providing television coverage from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Let’s go a bit more in-depth about each of these two potential opponents for Boeheim’s Army, based on information for this pair of crews found on the TBT Web site.

Heartfire is led by former Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy. Its line-up isn’t like Boeheim’s Army, which is almost entirely made up of Syracuse alumni. Rather, Heartfire has players from a range of schools.

Center Isaiah Austin, a former Baylor star, helped guide Loyalty Is Love to the TBT quarterfinals in 2019 and now is a member of Heartfire.

Power forward Kristian Doolittle, from Oklahoma, is a terrific low-post guy. Another power forward is Branden Dawson, out of Michigan State. Dawson is joined by another Spartans alum, point guard Brandon Wood.

Talented shooting guard Jordan Adams, from UCLA, is on Heartfire, along with former Baylor point guard Tweety Carter, former Arizona point guard Mark Lyons, former Azusa Pacific University shooting guard Dominique Johnson, former Oral Roberts small forward Larry Owens, and former Pittsburgh center Gary McGhee.

Former Syracuse basketball players known as Boeheim’s Army will have a huge first challenge competing against Heartfire or Men of Mackey.

Men of Mackey is a group derived mostly of former Purdue players. Over the years, the Boilermakers have fared well in the rugged Big Ten Conference, with Purdue securing dozens of NCAA Tournament bids. So Boeheim’s Army will have its hands full should it square off with Men of Mackey.

Ryne Smith, who went to Purdue, is the Men of Mackey head coach. Former Boilermakers who suited up for Purdue and now play for Men of Mackey are power forward Evan Boudreaux, point guard Johnny Hill, center Isaac Haas, point guard Jonathan Octeus and center Jacquil Taylor.

Others within the Men of Mackey line-up are former Siena point guard Ronald Moore, former Mercer shooting guard Ethan Stair, former Missouri State power forward Lamont West, former Washington point guard Justin Dentmon, and former IPFW shooting guard Frank Gaines.

Since Boeheim’s Army has lost big men Tyler Lydon and Chris McCullough, the rest of its roster will have to step up on the glass, in particular. Both Heartfire and Men of Mackey present a daunting test.

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