We started with 64 teams, and now we’re down to only two. One of Team 23 or Boeheim’s Army will leave Dayton with a victory in the 2021 TBT Championship and the $1 million, and one of them will exit totally empty handed. That’s the nature of TBT.
It’s been a grind for each of these teams to get to this point, and you can guarantee that the ultimate contest to determine the grand prize will be intense, desperate, and not for the faint of heart. What else can we expect from the 2021 TBT Championship?
Featured photo courtesy of Ben Solomon.
2021 TBT Championship: Team 23 vs Boeheim’s Army
When and Where?
The 2021 TBT Championship will be played Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 9 p.m. EST at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
How They Got Here
Team 23: defeated No. 11 seed Georgia Kingz, 91-64; defeated No. 3 seed Herd That, 74-71; defeated No. 2 seed Best Virginia, 75-67; defeated No. 1 seed Sideline Cancer, 78-71; defeated No. 6 seed Blue Collar U, 78-62.
Boeheim’s Army: defeated No. 14 seed Forces of Seoul, 65-53; defeated No. 11 seed Team HEARTFIRE, 68-62; defeated No. 7 seed Always a Brave, 69-54; defeated No. 1 seed Golden Eagles, 73-69; defeated No. 5 seed Florida TNT, 66-64.
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Players to Watch
Team 23: Anyone who watched the quarterfinals and semifinals saw how incredibly deep this team is. Sometimes, it utilizes actual full line changes and can come at you with many different lineup combinations. That can make it a little harder to single out one player to watch, but for his scoring ability, I’ll go with Marcus Hall. The overseas veteran has been a smooth operator in TBT 2021, especially in Dayton, and will be a key component should Team 23 come out of the championship victorious. He is a scoring genius and been on fire in Dayton especially, scoring 14 and 16 points in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, and putting up a collective 19 points in both fourth quarters. He connected on both Dayton Elam Endings for Team 23, and I expect he will have the ball in his hands in the final quarter again plenty in the TBT championship.
Boeheim’s Army: I said his name as the player to watch heading into the quarterfinals, and I don’t think anything has changed since; Tyrese Rice is a total game changer and can lift Boeheim’s Army to a win in the 2021 TBT championship and the $1 million. He had monster games in the previous two rounds, which I said would be necessary for Boeheim’s Army to advance, putting up 20 on Golden Eagles while shooting 8-of-14 from the field, then scoring 24 on Florida TNT in the semifinals while connecting on 9-of-18 attempts from the floor, plus seven dimes. He is arguably the best player in the tournament and the motor that runs this Syracuse alumni squad (despite his BC ties). If he’s held in relative check, it might be a tough night for Boeheim’s Army. If he gets his like he has lately, Team 23 is in trouble.
Keys to the Game
Team 23’s depth has been huge for it all tournament long but especially in Dayton. Blue Collar U, down Wes Clark, without the same level of depth, and playing on a 16-hour turnaround, didn’t have the legs to keep up with Team 23, losing a lot of ground in the game’s final quarter. The circumstances aren’t the same for Boeheim’s Army, but Team 23 does have the edge in depth – Marcus Hall doesn’t even start, if that’s any indication of how deep this squad goes. Team 23 can use that to its advantage, rotating players healthily through the first half to win the fatigue battle by the time the Elam Ending rolls around in the 2021 TBT championship.
Boeheim’s Army is yet to losing a rebounding battle through five games in TBT 2021, and it has dominated a few opponents on the glass en route to this championship showing. Chris McCollough in particular has been active on the boards, averaging 6.6 per game and only bringing in fewer than seven rebounds in a game once so far. Boeheim’s Army has been very effective on the offensive glass at times this tournament, too, bringing down 18 offensive boards versus Golden Eagles in the quarterfinals and against Forces of Seoul in the first round. It would be in Team 23’s best interest to do what it can to limit Boeheim’s Army rebounding dominance, both by crashing the boards and properly boxing out, but also by making shots when it has the ball. But keeping Boeheim’s Army at bay on the offensive glass in particular will be crucial for Team 23 in the 2021 TBT championship.
Who can control the pace of this 2021 TBT championship? Boeheim’s Army is not a high-scoring team – only once in this tournament has it broken 70. It also doesn’t let opponents score much – Golden Eagles scored the most against Boeheim’s Army of any opponent so far at 69. If the Syracuse alumni are allowed to control the tempo, it’ll be a slow, low-scoring affair. If Team 23 can wrangle the game into its hands, it’ll look to speed up the contest a bit more and get the game into the 70s, maybe 80s. Based on how these teams have played this tournament up to this point, it stands to reason that if the game is played to the 60s or below, Boeheim’s Army will have the edge, and if it gets up into the 70s or above, it will be to Team 23’s advantage.