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March 20, 2013
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR:Â We are joined now by student‑athletes Brandon Triche, a junior guard, and James Southerland, a senior forward, for Syracuse.
Q.Â For either one of you, if you've watched film on Montana, what kind of jumps out at you?
BRANDON TRICHE:Â About four guys, and the guy coming off the bench that can shoot pretty well.
Similar to playing against Seton Hall in the Big East, they have good shooters, but they also have great guard play.Â A few guards who can actually get to the basket.
The biggest thing for us is keeping those guys in front of us, and I think we'll be fine.
Q.Â James, how much do you think the experience you got playing last year in the tournament is going to help you this year, the familiarity of it?
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:Â I feel like it will definitely help me a lot.Â I feel like everyone that played in the tournament last year is going to have a great experience.Â Like Rakeem, he did a great job last year in the tournament.Â A lot of guys step up during this time.Â And I feel like we can take last year's experience getting all the way to the Elite 8 and bring it to this game with Montana.
Q.Â I'm sure you know of or have been reminded of Syracuse's first round exits.Â Does that serve as motivation for you guys?
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:Â I feel like the most motivation we have is playing in the Big East tournament.Â We did a great job of finding our chemistry and beating some great teams.Â I feel like that's the only motivation we need going into this tournament.
Q.Â What changed for you guys going into the Big East, why do you think things started clicking then after you guys struggled a little bit late in the season?
BRANDON TRICHE:Â I think it was the urgency that we applied to the game, the coaching staff and as well as the players.Â We knew that we needed to play well.Â We wanted to play well, but we knew we needed to play well.Â And we needed to use the Big East as a stepping stool to the tournament.
So with James, you know, playing the way he did, I think he motivated us a lot on the court to play well.Â And we just follow his steps.Â We follow our leader's steps.Â And as a team we just got tough.
Q.Â Brandon, you guys have had up and down games this year, and you came together in New York.Â How can you keep the momentum that you got rolling last week, and avoid a letdown or anything like that?
BRANDON TRICHE:Â We're used to playing well.Â We're used to playing bad, too.Â So I think we could play either way.Â But we used the Big East to our benefit, and that's to play well and get our offense going.Â Our offense was pretty much terrible for the whole month of February.Â But we got it going at the right time.Â That's all we needed to do, just go in the Big East, knock off a few games and get back playing well.
Q.Â Last year you got a scare from UNC‑Asheville in the first round.Â You have to stay focused on this one.
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:Â No, not all, we're not thinking about anything like that.Â But games like UNC‑Asheville definitely show you who's ready to step up, like Rakeem.Â When we played Kansas State, Rakeem did a great job of stepping up, I did a good job at UNC‑Asheville of stepping up.Â And it gave not only my coaches, but also my teammates confidence in who to put in in tough situations.
Q.Â You mentioned some players by position when you talked about Montana before.Â Are there ones that you know by name that you could maybe talk about what their strengths are and what you need to do against them?
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:Â Well, they have Coleman, he's great.Â He's a four man.Â He can shoot.Â That definitely spreads the floor.Â And they have two great drivers in their guards.Â Besides that, if we play our defense, we'll be fine.
BRANDON TRICHE:Â They have Will Cherry, who I believe is the point guard.Â He does a great job defending the ball.
So our biggest thing is make sure we protect the ball, try to get them in foul trouble.
Q.Â Brandon, you talked about what you need to do defensively against them.Â But what do you see offensively that you could attack Montana?
BRANDON TRICHE:Â We're going to stick to our game plan and how we go into every game.Â It starts with the guards, being able to run the team, keep our turnovers down.
They lack an inside presence, so we're going to use our forwards and our centers as much as possible trying to get rebounds and posting guys up and trying to get points in the paint.
THE MODERATOR:Â We're joined now by the head coach of Syracuse, Jim Boeheim.
Q.Â I understand Elizabeth teaches at the University of Montana?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â Yes, she doesn't now.Â She did for two years.Â She's been in Missoula for four years, she got her master's, taught for two years, and now lives in Missoula.
Q.Â Have you been to visit?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â I've been there many times and I hope when I go back I'll be treated well (laughter).
I'll be back in the spring.
Q.Â Who do you imagine Elizabeth will be cheering for?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â She's still got a credit card with my name on it (laughter).
I enjoy going to Missoula, we go up and go fishing, it's a really nice place.Â I really like it.Â I like going to the Black Pearl restaurant, it's pretty good, one of the better restaurants I've been to.
I told her not to wear an orange sweatshirt at the sports bar tomorrow night, though.
Q.Â How much of the experience guys like Rakeem and James got last year, how much can that benefit them playing this year, do you think?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â I'm not sure.Â They've had another year under their belt and played 30‑some games with a competitive schedule.Â And I think that's what will help you, from playing in the tournament itself, I think gives you some comfort that you've been in this tournament.Â So, again, I think our guys have been in the tournament and I think that will help them somewhat.
Q.Â What are your impressions after watching Montana on film?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â You know, I just think they're a really good, well‑balanced basketball team.Â I think they move the ball really well offensively.Â They shoot it from the perimeter extremely well.Â I think that offensively they're a really good basketball team.
Defensively I think they change, they can play a couple different defenses.Â I just think they're a really well‑balanced basketball team that has had a lot of experience and they've got good players, really good players.
COACH BOEHEIM:Â I try not to give scouting reports on anybody, individual players, it's pretty general.Â We tell our players, the shooters, and who can shoot and who can't.Â And that's pretty much ‑‑ we don't really talk ‑‑ when we played Georgetown, we didn't mention Patrick, we just mentioned their center.Â I think they knew who he was, though.
Q.Â A story out today about NCAA investigation at Syracuse.
COACH BOEHEIM:Â Same story they had last year at this time.Â I guess that's annual.Â I guess next year we'll get it again.
Q.Â You are aware of the school receiving notice of allegations?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â I just made my comment.
THE MODERATOR:Â We will refrain from additional questions on that.
COACH BOEHEIM:Â That's fine, I don't mind.Â You can ask a hundred of them.
Q.Â The only question I have is in terms of the players, they had the deal last year with mellow at this time.Â This year what do you think their frame of mind is, do you talk to them about it?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â I doubt seriously, don't know if they know about it.Â I seriously don't know if they even know about it.
Last year was completely different.Â We didn't have fan mail, that's a little different.Â That was not a distraction, it was an absence.Â And they handled it as well as they could.
Q.Â Are there things that you can't do tomorrow night to give Montana an opportunity to pull the upset?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â Well, yeah, I mean, you can't make mistakes, and you can't play bad defense or bad offense.Â And that's the same every night.Â There's nothing new there.
When you play in this tournament you're going to play a team that's capable of beating you if you don't play well.Â And you can also play well and still get beat.Â So it's just the nature of the tournament.Â We've won a lot of big games and good games in this tournament over the years and we've lost some, as has everybody else.
Q.Â For the Big East tournament, what changed for you guys, that you did better than you did late in the season?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â You know, we probably shot the ball a little bit better than we did over the last part of the year.Â The four losses we had, three ‑‑ obviously two to Georgetown, one to Louisville and one to Marquette, the three teams that are in the top 15 in defense in the country.Â I think Louisville is top five, and Georgetown is right there, and Marquette is not far behind.Â We lost at Marquette.Â They didn't lose a game at home this year.Â We lost at Georgetown.Â They lost, I think, one game at home.Â You're going to lose some of those games.
We played pretty well in two of those games ‑‑ really three.Â We had Louisville down.Â We had Marquette down in the second half.Â And we had Georgetown down the second half at Syracuse.Â The only one we didn't play well was the last game at Georgetown.Â And we really had our only bad game of the year.
We had some really good wins on the road this year.Â We're the only team that won in Arkansas this year.Â We're the only team that won in Louisville this year.Â We've played pretty consistently all year.
In the losses, in three of them, especially, we didn't shoot the ball very well.Â But again, in our conference we played the toughest inner conference schedule.Â The four teams that we had double games with finished 47‑15 in our league.Â And nobody else was close to that.
And the other thing ironically, just the way it worked out, the next two teams, the third and fourth place teams in the league, Marquette and Pittsburgh, we played on the road.Â So, you know, it was really a difficult league schedule.
It just worked that way.Â I don't think it was a plot, but it worked out that way that our double games, Georgetown and Louisville, finished 1‑2 in the league.Â And Villanova was obviously ‑‑ won ten games and Providence won nine games.Â So it was an exceptional run.
And considering what we ‑‑ the way the year went and losing James for a little while and getting him back, and losing DaJuan for six weeks, I was really happy the way we played.
And I wasn't even a little bit surprised that we played well in New York.Â We played well all year long.Â And we really played well in a couple of those losses.Â So we didn't play bad in the four losses.Â So it wasn't a surprise to play well in New York.Â We did play well there.
Q.Â On Saturday in New York you talked about how that was probably as well as you could have hoped for the team to play down there.Â What do you have to say to the team that momentum keeps going and there's no regression before the next game?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â Well, I've been in this 37 years and I don't think there's anything I can say that will prevent either of those things happening.Â There's nothing you say or talk about.Â We've worked hard.Â We played 30‑some games.Â And we are what we are.Â We'll play the way we're going to play.
You never know exactly how the NCAA tournament is going to go.Â You prepare for it, you get ready for it and that's what we've done.
Our players have had, I think, a tremendous year at this point.Â And they're looking forward to this tournament.Â The season is really about how you play during the non‑conference part of the season and your conference schedule and then the Big East tournament and now the NCAA tournament.Â And you're never really sure exactly how you're going to play in anything of those four different stages.
But we have a lot of confidence based on how we played the regular season, how we played in New York.
Q.Â You mentioned briefly the timing.Â Does it bother you the timing of the CBS article that it happens today, the day before you start the tournament?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â Doesn't bother me, not at all.Â We're concerned about playing Montana.Â What people write or say, you know, there's 30,000 people in the Dome yelling at me all the time.Â People yell at their television sets.Â I tell them I can't hear them, but they still yell at them.
There's no distractions for me.Â And these players, there's absolutely no distractions for them.Â They're here to play Montana and that's it.
Q.Â Piggybacking off of that, is any of this a concern to you in terms of the program in general, not so much tomorrow or its impact on the game, but the concern overall?
COACH BOEHEIM:Â I can't comment about something that's just talk.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports