The Basketball Tournament

The Basketball Tournament: What to know ahead of Boeheim’s Army Super 16 matchup against Team Fancy

Joe Bloss | Senior Staff Writer

Boeheim's Army will add James Southerland to its roster ahead of the Super 16 matchup against Team Fancy

Nearly two weeks after a 106-100 victory in Philadelphia, No. 3 seed Boeheim’s Army will hit the hardwood for a Super 16 matchup against No. 7 Team Fancy, alumni from a variety of schools. The game, which will broadcast nationally on ESPN2, kicks off at 7 p.m. from the campus of Long Island University-Brooklyn. The winner plays Sunday for a shot at the Final Four, which begins Aug. 1 in Baltimore.

We’ll have coverage from Brooklyn Thursday night as Boeheim’s Army, a group of Syracuse alumni, will look to avenge its Super 16 loss last year. (There are still tickets available at thetournament.com.)

Here’s a rundown of what to know before the contest.

The name is Southerland, James Southerland

Boeheim’s Army will get a ninth player Thursday to bolster what was a thin bench. And it’s not just any addition. James Southerland, who played at SU from 2009-2013, is fresh off a couple of weeks in the NBA Summer League with the Utah Jazz. Southerland, who went undrafted in 2013, dunked twice in a consolation round game this summer, but averaged just 13 minutes in two games.

What the 6-foot-8 forward will bring to Boeheim’s Army is length, experience and a dose of confidence. Consider his addition a big plus for the Syracuse alumni frontcourt.

The road more traveled

After their Round of 32 win in Philadelphia, the Syracuse alumni credited a few days of workouts at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center for helping them hang on for the win — despite blowing a 20-point lead in the second half. Players went through drills and pickup games in the days leading up to The Basketball Tournament, which they hadn’t done in years past.

That didn’t happen over the last nine or so days, when players stayed home. John Gillon flew back to Houston last week, landing in New York on Wednesday. Eric Devendorf went home to Syracuse. Other players dispersed to their respective homes, but each trained on his own, said Devendorf, who scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds in the Round of 32.

Fast start and battle of the boards

The two keys to Boeheim’s Army’s success this weekend: getting off to a strong start and grabbing rebounds.

“We have to get off to a good start,” Devendorf said. “Last year, we dug ourselves in a hole. We have to get off to a good start and extend the lead. And we have to be right there in striking distance at the end of the game.”

Based on the near-collapse in Philadelphia, Boeheim’s Army will focus on rebounding, Devendorf said. In game one of this tournament, the SU alumni played man-to-man defense. That was against a team without a Division I athlete. In game two, the team played a zone and got burned on the boards in the second half. It’s the area that could make the difference between a third win or tournament-ending loss.

“We have to rebound out of the zone to be successful,” Devendorf said.

Fancy schmancy

Team Fancy, made up of players who compete in New York summer leagues, brands itself as “New York streetball swagger with elite international professionals.” Players hail from schools such as Indiana, Kansas, Iona, Arizona, Villanova and Rutgers. There’s no eye-popping or Final Four talent like that of Boeheim’s Army, but it’s a team loaded with excellent size — seven players stand at 6-foot-6 or taller — and summer league experience at all positions on the floor.

Longtime overseas pro Delroy James, a Rhode Island alumnus, leads the squad. He’s averaging 19.5 points per game. In the backcourt, Iona graduate and two-time First Team All-MAAC selection Scott Machado scored 17 and 13 points, respectively, in the first two rounds.

“All of those guys can play,” Devendorf said. “We’ll be ready to go.”

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