THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT 2018
#1 Boeheim’s Army vs #3 Golden Eagles
If there’s a Marquette alumni team in The Basketball Tournament, then it appears that they’re guaranteed to make it to the quarterfinals. Three years of entries, three quarterfinals appearances. The catch, however, is that Golden Eagles has never made it past the quarterfinals. First, it was a loss to Always A Brave, the Bradley alumni squad in 2016. Last year, it was a loss to Scarlet & Gray, the Ohio State alumni team.
This year, Golden Eagles will attempt to snap that streak, but to do it, they’ll have to knock down an alumni squad in their way again. With the Marquette alumni moving from the Midwest region to the Northeast region this year, the team that stands in their way is Boeheim’s Army, which is, as you can guess, made up of Syracuse alumni. They made their way to this year’s quarterfinals by way of a 73-69 victory over Armored Athlete in the Super 16 round on Saturday. Eric Devendorf (yes, that Eric Devendorf) tossed in 19 points to lead the way for BA, who also had two other guys in double digits along with Hakim Warrick, who missed a double-double by two points.
The Syracuse team is experienced in the TBT format. They got knocked out in the regional finals in 2015, lost in the Super 16 in 2016, and reached the semifinals in 2017, where they lost to eventual champions Overseas Elite. A win here would potentially set up a rematch with Overseas Elite in the semifinals yet again, so I think it’s safe to say that the former Orange stars will be hungry for a shot at the three-time champs.
They’ve been pushed in their last two games, though. After a 90-72 win in the first round, Boeheim’s Army picked up an ugly 60-55 win over Team Fancy in the second round before coming to Atlanta for their four point win on Saturday. On the other end of the court, Saturday’s seven point win over Talladega Knights was the closest margin in Golden Eagles’ three games. Jamil Wilson caught fire in the first and third games, while Maurice Acker was the driving force for the win in the middle contest. Elgin Cook has been invaluable to the MU team’s effort, even if he did attend Oregon instead.
The Marquette/Syracuse game will be the second game of a quadraheader from Georgia State’s campus in Atlanta. The first game of the day is arguably the most important and interesting game of the day, as it features South Region #1 seed Overseas Elite attempting to extend their winning streak to 23 straight games. They’ll be facing off #2 seed Ram Nation, made up of VCU alumni. Game #3 gives us another #1 vs #2 matchup, as Scarlet & Gray plays Team Fredette coming out of the Midwest region. The final game of the day will give us West Region #1 seed Team Challenge ALS trying to make it back to the semifinals again in a game against #7 seed Eberlein Drive, who pulled the upset against #3 Gael Force in the last game of the day on Saturday.
Today’s Schedule (all times Central)
10am: #1 Overseas Elite vs #2 Ram Nation (ESPN)
12pm: #1 Boeheim’s Army vs #3 Golden Eagles (ESPN)
2pm: #1 Scarlet & Gray vs #2 Team Fredette (ESPN)
6pm: #1 Team Challenge ALS vs #7 Eberlein Drive (ESPN2)