Transcript from Syracuse's news conference after Thursday's 61-50 win over Indiana in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in Washington D.C. Transcript provided by ASAP Sports Transcripts.
THE MODERATOR: We will take an opening statement from Coach Jim Boeheim, and then hear from the student athletes.
COACH BOEHEIM: Our defense has been good all year and I thought it was really good. Indiana presents a lot of problems offensively and we wanted to get on their 3‑point shooters. We did not want to let them get good looks and we did that. Defensively we got back inside quickly on their big guys when they tried to finish around the basket. We made some really good defensive plays against them and offensively we wanted our guards to go on their little guards. That was the best way to play offensively in this game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for our student athletes.
Q. Brandon can you talk about when you and Michael were able to do using their size advantage against their guards?
BRANDON TRICHE: We just wanted to get to the basket, we didn't want to shoot too many jump shots. We felt like we had an advantage sizewise finishing at the rim and that's what we did. Victor is a very good defender and through the first half he was pretty much guarding James, so Mike had a field day against the basket and I also contributed a few points.
Once he started guarding Mike, I felt like I had an advantage and once he got off Mike, you know, I felt like he had an advantage shooting but he also scored points on him well. We just did a great job getting into the lane and getting them in foul trouble.
Q. What do you see when you come up against another team that hasn't seen a 2‑3 zone the way you guys play it? What do you see in them?
JAMES SOUTHERLAND: I mean, as you can see, at first it looked confused, it slowing the ball down seeing what they could get. We just do the a good job of talking out there and recovering if they get penetration, but it's tough. One thing they don't see is how long we are until they approach our zone.
BRANDON TRICHE: I didn't hear the question. Like James was saying, not too many teams are used to our zone. That's what we play. Other teams that play zone, you know, for with the most part they play man, they switch up defenses but our main thing is zone, and like James was saying, we're very long and active and when we are active like we were today, defensively, we are hard to score on.
Q. Brandon, is there any sort of sentimental value in winning this game on Georgetown's floor?
BRANDON TRICHE: Not really. The way they dress it up, it don't seem like Georgetown floor. (Laughter.)
Just the win and being in the Elite Eight that's what really matters more than anything else.
Q. Brandon, have you heard from your uncle yet?
BRANDON TRICHE: No. I haven't checked my phone so I'm sure he hit me up but I haven't looked at it yet.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen.
Q. Jim, except for that one foolish night in Novemberof 2009 when you played man against Le Moyne‑‑
COACH BOEHEIM: That's what convinced me not to play "man" again.
Q. Have you ever questioned or doubted the 2‑3 and what is it about it that you're in love with it?
COACH BOEHEIM: The short history of our zone is we started out as a man‑to‑man team with some zone and over the years our zone got better, but we still played "man."
The problem when you play man, you have to spend an hour on your man defense every day and when you play your preseason games your nonconference games, if you're playing man your zone isn't getting better. So finally it dawned on me after about 27 or 28 years, finally‑‑ takes me a while‑‑ that if we played zone all the time and didn't waste time playing man‑to‑man and put some wrinkles in the zone because we had more time to practice it, that our defense would be better.
So starting a few years ago we started to do that, and‑‑ because up until a few years ago we played a lot of games man‑to‑man but that's wasted defensive time for us and now we spend much more time on it, our zone is better, and you don't have that decision that people are always saying to me, well, why don't you switch to your man‑to‑man, well you can't switch to something you don't have. They stopped asking that question.
When a man‑to‑man coach is getting beat, he tells his team to play defense better, he doesn't switch to a zone. When we get beat in our zone for whatever reason it is, we try to change it or play it better.
As the years have evolved, not many teams are playing zone and when they play on or practice against it, it's a false sense of security, because you're not playing against our defense, and it's much like when Georgetown had Patrick Ewing, you could practice against their 2‑3, 1‑3‑1, anything you wanted but at the end of the day when you made your play and made your move and you went to shoot it, he blocked it. You get a false sense of security sometimes at practice.
Q. Can you talk about how well Michael played tonight, in light of what he's been through recently, and do you think he's able to use that as a motivating factor?
COACH BOEHEIM: You know, Mike has had a great year. He's really played tremendously year all year long. Top‑3 in the nation in assists and steals, playing zone it's hard to get that many steals and he does it. He got a bunch of 'em again tonight.
He hasn't made the three‑‑ they were going under on the screens and my only coaching move of the night was when they went‑‑ when we went out of the huddle I said just stop and take a three. I didn't think he would make it, I just wanted them to think he might shoot it and they might come over. Because if they don't come over he can't get in the lane, and he made it and that was a big lift for us. Most teams coach going under and letting them shoot the three, he made it. He made a couple of them and he's a different player when he can make that shot. We couldn't get assists, because they weren't coming off. They did the same thing Temple did, they let Michael or Brandon go to the basket and they both finished better than we did in that game.
Q. Everything he's gone through personally, talk about that.
COACH BOEHEIM: Obviously happy that no one got hurt. Happy that his mom and dad and his siblings are‑‑ their uncle is helping them, they've got a place to live. They have insurance. I think that will work itself out. This was the best he's played all year. He was tremendous tonight, he was the difference in the game on offense, clearly.
Q. Jim, you talked briefly about how you were able to defend the perimeter but talk about how the zone was able to bother Cody Zeller inside.
COACH BOEHEIM: He got the ball a little bit away from the basket. We forced him where he wasn't underneath the basket, and we could get help back to him.
You know, when one guy stood him up, now he doesn't have the step to get up in the air so we can come back and get a block in that situation, and I thought Baye was tremendous but Grant made an unbelievable block. He gave us a plus 8 in 10 minutes he had an unbelievable block on Sheehey and the ‑‑ those are the contributions that you have to have and he gave 'em to us tonight.
10 blocked shots and 12 steals, Indiana has been in the top couple teams in the nation all year long. They've got a tremendous basketball team. Tom has rebuilt that program from nothing, and, you know, they're really a good team. I thought we had one advantage at the guard spot with the size, and we were able to take advantage of that.
Q. AP reported today that Bernie Fine filed preliminary paperwork to pursue a defamation suit against ESPN, curious on your thoughts on that?
COACH BOEHEIM: No thoughts.
Q. You will play Marquette on Saturday, you've played them once this season and lost a close game, but what was your number one take‑away from that previous game that you will look to?
COACH BOEHEIM: I think Marquette is a tremendous team. I think they have one of the better low post players in the country, they're shooting the ball well from the perimeter, which they didn't do early in the year.
Both Wilson and Blue are shootin' the heck out of the ball. They dominated a team that won the regular season ACC and the ACC Tournament, tremendous team and Marquette dominated the game. Tremendous, tremendous game they played today.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.