"Just because any time teams do go zone, I don't think we really ever have a significant problem with it," Stauskas said. "Syracuse does a real good job of it. But this whole week we're going to work on getting our plays right and moving without the ball."
"If you saw the passes being entered in some of these games [against Syracuse], they're trying to make chest passes over the front line and they're skipping the head of the guy in the middle and it goes right to the guys on the back line," Chaney said. "The only thing that works is a bounce pass but then you have those long arms to deal with. That's why theirs is just a little more devastating than ours was."
"When I’m on the court, or when I’m in practice, all my focus is on my teammates and the team," the sophomore said. "Outside of basketball, I think I can just be there for my family as much as I can. But when it comes time for basketball, everything else is kind of irrelevant. I’m just focused on the team."
"They jumped us pretty good," said Montana coach Wayne Tinkle, whose team lost 81-34 to Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament. (Tinkle's news conference also included the phrase, "I'm rambling, I apologize." He seemed dazed.)
"It’s like a dream come true," Southerland said. "So many kids dream of going to a Final Four. It’s great we’re actually living it."
"You can't say we didn't lose confidence," senior guard Brandon Triche admitted. "We were probably unsure of ourselves a little bit." Boeheim had to be, too -- until the next practice, when he arrived a bit late, but was intrigued by what he saw. "When I got down there they were playing 4-on-4 -- and playing hard," he said. "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."
The web site itself simulated the Final Four 1001 times and found Syracuse the second-likeliest to win at 25 percent. Louisville won 56.3 percent of the time.
"I fully intend to coach next year going into the ACC…and win or lose this tournament will have no affect on that decision at all," Boeheim said on ESPN’s "PTI."
"Coach McDonald said, the words in his mouth were, ‘We don’t have a quarterback on our roster that can do the things that we want to do,’" Long said. "And he was like, ‘You’re the guy that we want to run the system, too, because we know that you can do it even with your current height and weight. It doesn’t matter because you can do things that other quarterbacks can’t with your legs.’"
"I've always admired his coaching at every level, watching his teams play," said Boeheim, a native of Lyons, N.Y., about an hour west of Syracuse. "I just have tremendous respect and admiration for how he coaches." "He really helped me get the Canisius job, no question," Beilein said. "I was a borderline candidate. I owe him a lot."
Syracuse has held its tourney opponents to just 3-of-16 from the Stauskas Corner, but it's liable to give up a handful of unchallenged treys in that spot and (especially) at the top of the key. Overall, the Orange challenged 64.1 percent of opponents' long-range attempts, and didn't allow a single unchallenged trey from the right corner.
Syracuse goalkeeper Alyssa Costantino is out indefinitely, assistant director of SU athletic communications, Susan Mehringer said. The junior was a passenger in a two-car accident early Sunday morning near Thornden Park. Costantino was taken to the hospital after complaining of facial pain.
Bing’s choice? The Orange, all the way. "Who else would I root for?" he asks simply.
The point guard is averaging more steals (3.25 to 2.67) and rebounds (5.75 to 4.9) than he did in the regular-season, while missing fewer shots (6.5 to 5) and decreasing his turnovers (2.94 to 2.25).
What is the second biggest reason (other than the zone) Syracuse is in the Final Four? What are your favorite memories of covering a Final Four? What does a visiting SU fan do in Atlanta? Syracuse basketball beat reporters Mike Waters and Donna Ditota answer all those questions and much more in a Syracuse basketball podcast.
Some Atlanta residents might be surprised by information offered up in a guide compiled by Syracuse’s The Post-Standard for readers traveling to the Final Four.
I'm torn on this, as pregame analytic predictions go, because on the one hand, Michigan appears to be awfully well suited for it. Syracuse's main strengths in that zone are its ability to eliminate passing lanes and force turnovers; Michigan was the least turnover-prone team in the country this season. The Orange protect the rim at all costs; Michigan would typically prefer -- or at least happily acquiesce -- to shoot 22-footers anyway. Syracuse is determined to keep teams out of the middle of the zone, particularly on the dribble; Michigan has one of the few players in the country who might be able to get the ball there without making a pass (Trey Burke).
He is not one of these guys that says 'OK, this is what I know and this is what I'm going to do and fit square pegs into round holes because it is what I'm comfortable with. He is very good at saying 'these are the things I really like, this is what fits us best, I'm going to do that. That is another thing I really liked about him was his mental flexibility. A lot of guys don't have that. They can't get out of their comfort. But George is a guy who is going to say OK, what is best, not what is most comfortable. I'm excited for him.
If Michigan keeps Syracuse away from the rim, the Orangemen will either be having an out of body experience on jumpers or be idling a good distance under a PPP. The gameplan should be similar that against VCU, except with less respect paid to threes: sag off guys, try to stay in front of them, don't go for low-probability blocked shots. Let them put it up, and let's have a shooting contest. Southerland is the only exception. Michigan needs to identify him at all times and live in his jock. He is Just A Shooter.
"He's so matter-of-fact -- that's my job, what I'm supposed to do. This year I was successful at it. Close the book and on to the next year," Juli said. "I'm the one who's like, 'Oh my gosh, can we just celebrate this for a little bit?' There are exceptions -- the championship in '03, the gold medal in the Olympics, but even then he's not where I go with it. I'm in orbit."