Jim Boeheim's opening statement during the post-game presser...
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.
Followed by this exchange:
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?
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.)
Boeheim on what it means to go to his fourth Final Four:
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 New York 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.
Boeheim on if his coaching style has changed:
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.
Boeheim on this year's zone defense:
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.
Boeheim on what he's telling the team about the Final Four:
'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.
Boeheim on players discussing coaching strategy:
Whenever you guys ask players questions about coaching or strategy or shit, they don't know anything, ask them about playing.
Boeheim on what keeps him motivated:
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?
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 Cone 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.
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 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... and 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.
Mike Hopkins on whether or not he believe this team was capable of a Final Four:
"I mean, we knew we were good. And the goal every year is always to win the national championship. It’s always that. But to say that I felt great that we had a great chance to get to the Final Four? I can’t say that. No, I can’t."
"We have the perfect personnel for all the positions. And me."
"Me and C.J. are really close friends. We just been telling each other the whole time, ‘You know, we can really do something special. The whole day yesterday, we were like, ‘We can really do this.’ And that was just a look. Now we’re just focusing on Atlanta and having fun."
"I think the difference is we are talking a lot. And our movement is way better. The zone when you talk is just a whole different defense. I think it’s really hard to beat. Mike and Brandon on top were closing out on the shooters. I was directing them on where to go to. And C.J. and James, they were listening to me and helping me at the same time."
Brandon Triche on his post-game ball-spike:
"I feel like when you go to the Final Four, somebody throws the ball in the air or something like that. I figured I’d re-mix it and spike it."