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March 30, 2013

Jim Boeheim

James Southerland

Brandon Triche


Syracuse – 55
Marquette - 39

THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by Syracuse, student‑athletes, Brandon Triche and James Southerland, and Coach Boeheim.  We will take an opening statement from Coach.  Congratulations.
COACH BOEHEIM:  Thank you.  It was a great win.  These guys have come a long ways from three weeks ago.  Today someone reminded me we were here for another game and it's been a great transformation in that period.  Our defense was tremendous in this tournament, has been tremendous in this tournament and our offense has been just enough.  Both teams struggled.
But I think it's because of the defense that both teams struggled.  We were as active these two games here in Washington as we've ever been, and I just really can't say enough about how good these guys played on the defensive end of the court.  They were just tremendous.  We gave Marquette 74 points four or five weeks ago.  It was just a tremendous, tremendous defensive effort today.

Q.  Brandon, Coach Boeheim just mentioned the transformation.  How would you explain it?
BRANDON TRICHE:  An explanation for me?

Q.  For this team, for the last three weeks.
BRANDON TRICHE:  It's pretty much a 180.  After losing so many games in a row, we stayed positive, but, you know, you can't say we didn't lose confidence.  We were probably unsure of ourselves a little bit.  One thing we did is we kept working hard, the coaching staff really got on us, and I think as leaders, you know, me, James and Mike and C.J., we really stepped up big.  We made sure throughout the whole process of losing and all the ups‑and‑downs the whole season that we stayed positive, even when losing James.  We made it a whole team effort to make sure we were successful and it started with the Big East tournament.
We won a few games there and get better as a team and we knew we couldn't do that without defense.  Defensively we showed that defense wins games.

Q.  It's probably unfair to ask this with him sitting next to you, but in the four years that you guys have been with Jim, does he seem more relaxed and player friendly this year?
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:  I don't think Coach is going to be relaxed until we win a championship, that's what I say.  What do you think, Coach?
COACH BOEHEIM:  He asked you not me.
BRANDON TRICHE:  He might have been more relaxed on me, I can tell you that, after being here for four years, I still get yelled at every other play but at least it's every other play not every play.
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:  Coach yelled at me when we were up 30 against Montana so I can tell you that.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Brandon and James, can you both talk about from the loss to Marquette at the end of the regular season, what did you see different from them tonight that enabled you to stop them defensively?
BRANDON TRICHE:  I think they we're a totally different team.  We can't compare ourselves to when we were losing, because right now our confidence is high.  Defensively we're making a part of our game, if we're stopping guys we know that offensively we're going to get going.  We know that we can score enough points to beat teams, especially holding a good team like Marquette to 39.  If we're active and able to get rebounds that he can't score unless we make mistakes on defense.
JAMES SOUTHERLAND:  Marquette did a good job at home‑‑ they're a good team, they did a good job at home, they took the lead, we took it back, home court advantage helped them fight back a lot and I feel like today we did a good job of taking control of the lead.

Q.  Brandon, it seemed late in the first half, you had a little bit of injury trouble.  What was going on, how do you play through it and how are you feeling now?
BRANDON TRICHE:  I think the first half, last game I hurt my back a little bit, strained my back a little bit, but it was just about keeping warm.  When I had a little bit of body contact it was a little bit sore and I felt like Trev‑‑ I had confidence in Trev that when I was coming out he was able to compete defensively and offensively out there and he did a great job.

Q.  Brandon, could you talk about the game that Michael Carter‑Williams had today?
BRANDON TRICHE:  Incredible.  This is what he's been doing throughout the whole season.  He's one of the most competitive guys that I've seen, and he's in his four years, competing for every rebound, going up as high as he can to get the rebounds, tough ones, getting steals and making every game possible to win the game.  He makes the winning plays, loose balls, things like that.  It's not all about points for him, it's all about winning.  He's a great example to follow.  The energy and things like that‑‑ he makes me play harder on defense just seeing how active us, being able to get steals and things like that, it's contagious.

Q.  James, 2:23 left, 7 seconds left on the shot clock, you put up a three.  Do you know that was going in?
COACH BOEHEIM:  Yeah, I knew it was going in, I think all my shots are going in, I make that shot a lot in practice.  Every shot I take feels good, so I don't think anything's gonna miss.
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, you are dismissed.  Good luck in Atlanta.  Questions for Coach?

Q.  Coach, now going into your fourth Final Four, discuss what means to get back there again.
COACH BOEHEIM:  I'm just happy for the players.  Just to get back to believing in themselves, we were down 10, 11 points against Seton Hall in the first game of the Big East tournament and things didn't look good at that point.
I was concerned‑‑ I wasn't as concerned going to NewYork as I was at the start of that Seton Hall game.  We were really in trouble, and James saved us, he made five threes in the first half and we ended up winning the game but without that, I don't think we would have won that game, and then we really started to play well.  It carried over going out west, we played really well defensively out there, and I think Thursday we had one of the best defensive games if not the best defensive games we've ever played.
Today we played well, but in the second half I think Marquette got some open looks, they just couldn't make anything.  But the other day, we didn't give Indiana anything.  It was really a defensive win.  Today was‑‑ our defense was good but the other day it was tremendous.

Q.  We hear coaches say a lot "enjoy the journey."
There are a couple of your assistant coaches, maybe soon to be ex‑assistant coaches, who say that you are more involved with the players than ever before and you are having more fun.  Is that accurate?
COACH BOEHEIM:  I don't know if they would have said that three weeks ago?  If you got that quote three weeks, I don't know.  I'm coaching the way I've always coached.  I don't think it's any different.  I think as you get older you do some things differently.  I call more plays probably now, I do some things differently, but I don't think you change a lot as a coach.  I really don't.  I think this group is‑‑ we start out pretty good‑‑ we've been pretty consistent.  I think Michael has gotten better.  I think early in the year he tried to do too much in some games and I think he's now got more where he's scoring when he has to, but he's making plays.  His stat sheet is pretty good in this game with 8 defensive rebounds and 6 assists and 5 steals, 1 turnover.  He's come a long way, he's really gotten better.  He's a tremendous, tremendous point guard, he really is.  He keys it for our team.  Today we have guys that just find their spot.  C.J. was having a so‑so game and when the game was really close C.J. made two big baskets that really gave us some separation, and Michael and I were going to call timeout when James was taking that shot but I've seen him make that‑‑ he makes that shot in practice, he does that all the time.  I don't know exactly how he does it, but he does make that shot.
This team has just really come together and has played great basketball.  It was a tough trip to California and they did what they needed to do and this was a tough region.  It's always tough for us to play somebody from our league.  Marquette knows what to do.  We changed up a little bit when they got the ball in the high post we changed our defense a little bit and tried to keep it out of there, did a pretty good job, actually, of keeping it out of there.  I thought that kind of got us back in control.

Q.  Where do you think this 2‑3 zone ranks compared to other zones you have had in the past?
COACH BOEHEIM:  It's one of our best, I think, no question.  We spend more time on it now, my assistants work more on drill situations and pre‑practice things, and Mike and Adrian and Gerry have done an unbelievable job coaching these players in the not only the zone but in other areas.  I think I've probably done less hands‑on stuff the last couple of years and these guys have done an unbelievable job getting the players ready.
This is one of our good‑‑ we've had some good defensive‑‑ our teams are good defensively every year, but this year's team is statistically played as well as any defensive team we've had, we are probably holding people to 15% from the 3‑point line in this tournament in the four games and playing field goal percentage, too, but this is a really good defensive team.

Q.  A few of the players have pointed to the practice the day after the Georgetown game down here as a day they started practice before the coaches got to the floor as a turning point, do you remember that practice?
COACH BOEHEIM:  I do.  We came down, we were a little late, I forgot to set my clock forward, is that right, spring?  So I was a little late, we had a meeting upstairs and when I got down they were playing 4‑on‑4 and playing hard.  I watched them for a few minutes and it was really a good‑‑ real good thing.  I thought our practices were really good after that, going to NewYork.  The whole thing about the Georgetown game is we played well all year.  We played well at Marquette, we played way better at Marquette better than we did today.  We played way better.  Played really good against Louisville, we had a 1 point lead with 1:20 seconds to go against the No. 1 team in the tournament.  So we really played well.  I don't think it was that much of a stretch to think we could get back.
I remember in 1985 Villanova came to our place and we had them down 35, 40 and Rollie took everybody out and the next week we went to Pittsburgh and we were down again and he took everybody out and then they lost in NewYork and they won the national championship.  You can turn things around in this game.  I think it was' 85, I'm not sure.

Q.  Do you have an explanation why your sport celebrates the semifinal more than the final?  More than making a final?
COACH BOEHEIM:  I don't‑‑ the semifinal.

Q.  Up until now we always said that you made three Final Fours, you made three finals, the more logical thing to celebrate?
COACH BOEHEIM:  I had thought about that a couple of times that we have been able to get to the finals when we're there.  Obviously up can't win if you don't get to the final so that's important, obviously, but I've told the players what I told the players, which is when you make the Final Four, it's obviously right now it's a great reason to be happy, but if you don't win the Final Four you will be more unhappy than you would be if you lose‑‑ if you'd lost today.  That's the way I look at it.  If I'm‑‑ if I know I'm going to lose I would rather lose now and get it over with and I can go to Disney World tomorrow morning.  I hate losing.  I've lost two final games and it's not good, not a good feeling.

Q.  Coach, the players yesterday in the off day talked about how they have learned to trust each other since that three‑game losing streak.  How did you see that develop?
COACH BOEHEIM:  Players say a lot of things, 99% of it I don't think about.  Whenever you guys ask players questions about coaching or strategy or shit, they don't know anything, ask them about playing.  They know about that, why they didn't guard somebody, they know about that.  They trust and‑‑ we were leading the country in assists most of the year, Michael Carter‑Williams led the country in assists most of the year.  Players get put on the spot where they have to say something so they come up with an answer.
Doesn't mean it's right, you know, but it's good for them to think that way, I like that, it's a good thought process.
We played together all year long, I really believe that.  Like I said, our defense has been good all year long, we struggled shooting the ball.  During those losses we shot‑‑ I'm not going to give the exact, because Mike will correct me, but we shot below probably 20% from the 3‑point line during those losses.  I think Brandon and James went 1 for 22 at one stage from the 3‑point line.  That's the reality of it.  We didn't make any shots and maybe we could have executed a little bit but I don't know.
Everybody that played at Marquette lost this year.  Georgetown beat a lot of people.  Louisville beat a lot of people.  We didn't lose‑‑ if we would have lost to a bad team then maybe it would be more cause for concern but like I said the other day we didn't lose to a team that wasn't in the top 50 this year.  I'm not sure how many teams can say that.  I haven't looked at it but I doubt if there are a lot of teams right now playing that did not lose a game to anybody that's not in the top 50 in the country.
I think we have been good all year, I really do.  I think we hit a tough stretch at the end of the year.  The four repeat games we had in the Big East, the teams we played were 47‑15 in the Big East.  So by far the toughest schedule in the league, and the third and fourth place teams, Marquette and Pittsburgh, we played on the road.  So it was a hard schedule.  I think we got through it pretty good.  I was pretty happy, really, that we got through it the way we did.  We're a good‑‑ defense wins in this tournament.  We've always been pretty good in this tournament defensively, been pretty good in the Big East tournament defensively.  That's what wins in these games.

Q.  I know you can't speak for Mike Krzyzewski, but you're in the Hall of Fame, what's the source of motivation now?
COACH BOEHEIM:  Geez, Mike wants to coach the Olympics again, probably, if he really can bring it around and drag me back there again.  We like coaching, that's what we like to do.
You're getting older, you're still writing, aren't you?  (Laughter.)  I know you're not as old as me.  I enjoy going to work and coaching and, you know, my kids are 14 and the twins with 13 and they don't like seeing me home all the time, right, Sis?  Kinda good I go to work, right?  Didn't you tell me that?  (Laughter.)
I enjoy it, I enjoy trying to get a team to play at a high level, and obviously we lost in this game last year and it's such a disappointment, it's such a bad feeling, the lows that you get in this profession, but it makes‑‑ when you break through and when you get there, it makes it so much better.  That's what this profession is.  You know, I don't think there is anybody involved in sports as a coach or a player that ever wants to walk away.  I think somebody told me yesterday David Cohen said when he was pitching for the Yankees "they're going to have to cut the shirt off my back" and even though he had a bad year, he didn't care.
We get a chance to do something.  Mike Krzyzewski and I have become close over the years and whenever we have been together sitting someplace talking about basketball or whatever, we always somehow in the conversation it always gets back to how lucky the two of us have been.  Really.  I was a walk‑on at Syracuse 51 years ago and didn't have a scholarship.  I just feel very lucky to have been able to have done what I've done and I have had a lot of help, a lot of coaches and a lot of great players that have helped me.  I enjoy going in there and trying to do that, get it ready again and maybe some day I won't want to go in there.  I've talked to a lot of old coaches about that, I talked to a lot of old coaches about it, and he used to they will me he would come down on the highway and he turned right to go to work and left to go on vacation and he said "you know, Jim, one day I came down there and I went left" and that was it.  That's when he knew.  I don't know when I'm going to know but I hope I'll figure it out, somehow.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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