Syracuse Basketball: Boeheim’s Army into TBT Sweet 16; bring on Buffalo

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

Boeheim’s Army, that collection of former Syracuse basketball players and other stars, reached the Sweet 16 of the 2023 The Basketball Tournament (“TBT”) on Wednesday evening in the Syracuse regional, and the team exacted some revenue in doing so.

The No. 2 seed in this TBT regional site, Boeheim’s Army defeated the No. 3 seed The Nerd Team, 83-75, from the Upstate Medical University Arena at the Oncenter War Memorial. A summer ago, in this annual $1 million, winner-take-all event, the No. 4 seed The Nerd Team upset the No. 1 seed Boeheim’s Army, 81-74, in the TBT round of 32 at the Syracuse regional.

Our boys in Orange made sure that what happened in 2022 didn’t happen in 2023. On Wednesday night, in front of former Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim, former Orange shooting guard Buddy Boeheim, former ‘Cuse forward Cole Swider and various current Syracuse basketball players, Boeheim’s Army shot 50 percent from the field, had 11 steals and forced 14 turnovers.

The Army was plus-10 on the boards (38-28), plus-16 in paint points (36-20) and plus-15 in bench points (33-18). Now the fun begins, as Boeheim’s Army seeks a spot in the TBT’s Elite Eight.

Boeheim’s Army, which includes multiple former Syracuse basketball players, is headed to the TBT Sweet 16.

Next up for the Army is an enticing encounter in the Syracuse regional final. On Friday, July 28, beginning at 9 pm and streaming on ESPN+, Boeheim’s Army will take on the No. 1 seed in this region, Blue Collar U, which is a Buffalo alumni team.

Not only that, but Blue Collar U captured the TBT championship in 2022, whereas Boeheim’s Army cut down the nets in 2021. Talk about the storylines. Two Empire State squads, which have won the past two TBT crowns, playing for a spot in the quarterfinals in Syracuse. Let’s. Go.

Also on Wednesday evening, Blue Collar U crushed the No. 4 seed Virginia Dream, 107-86. In the Boeheim’s Army conquest of The Nerd Team, meanwhile, six guys scored at least eight points each. Former College of Charleston point guard Grant Riller was simply fabulous, tallying a contest-high 27 points.

In the first half, Boeheim’s Army shot 50 percent from the field, while The Nerd Team only hit on 37 percent.

Our boys in Orange had a 24-14 advantage on the glass and forced eight turnovers. Other key wins for Boeheim’s Army in the first half included 12-4 in points off of turnovers, 18-8 in points in the paint, and 10-4 in fast-break points.

After the first quarter, Boeheim’s Army led 21-17, with former Syracuse basketball and La Salle small forward BJ Johnson tallying 10 points.

The Nerd Team took a small lead in the second quarter, but then Boeheim’s Army really clamped down on the defensive end. Closing on a massive 17-1 run before the break, Boeheim’s Army held a 46-32 edge at the intermission, with Riller producing 17 points to fuel the Army’s advantage.

On the other side, in the first half, former Notre Dame guard Prentiss Hubb, who was recruited by Syracuse basketball coaches in high school, paced The Nerd Team with nine points. Hubb would end up scoring a total of 19 points for the game.

In the third quarter, The Nerd Team chipped away at its deficit. It outscored its opponent, 22-16, and Boeheim’s Army led by a count of 62-54 heading into the fourth quarter. After three quarters, Riller was up to 21 points.

In the fourth quarter, The Nerd Team outscored Boeheim’s Army, 16-13, as the under four-minute mark was reached and the Elam Ending was enacted, setting the target score at 83 points and with Boeheim’s Army leading, 75-70.

During the Elam Ending, our boys in Orange would hold an 8-5 advantage, resulting in the 83-75 victory. Let’s get ready for an exciting match-up this Friday. I hope that Boeheim’s Army will end up kicking Blue Collar U’s butt.

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