War Of Words: Syracuse, Michigan Trade Verbal Jabs At Final Four Media Day

USA TODAY Sports

To advance in the NCAA Tournament a team must show confidence in itself, and Friday, at the Final Four's Media Day in Atlanta, seniors Brandon Triche and James Southerland showed a lot of it.

Twenty-one years ago, the Michigan Wolverines basketball program made a Final Four run with a brash group of players called the "Fab Five."

Making its first trip back to the Final Four since then, Michigan took the stage Friday at Media Day in Atlanta only to be the one trying to defend its status as the favorite in Saturday's showdown with the Syracuse Orange.

Shockingly, it wasn't the Wolverines showing brashness it was instead Syracuse, led by senior point guard Brandon Triche.

(Yeah, I know.)

Triche made the Michigan bulletin board thanks to showing a lot of confidence in the Orange's ability to stop National Player of the Year, Trey Burke, and the playing ability of teammate Michael Carter-Williams.

"We've stopped some good players lately (with our 2-3) zone, and before," Syracuse senior guard Brandon Triche said. "When Kemba Walker was doing his thing (at Connecticut), he had eight points against our zone.

"I don't see (Burke) being too much better than Kemba Walker."

"Whether he's the No. 1 player or not, he's probably not the No. 1 defensive player," Triche said. "Mike's six inches taller than him. Whether they guard each other or not, it'll be a nice battle.

"I'm sure he enjoyed going up against Victor Oladipo, it'll be a good battle."

Meanwhile, senior James Southerland kept the talk and hype of the Syracuse's 2-3 zone alive by saying the defense can be nearly, "impenetrable."

"It's like going through a forest. We'll see what he can do."

The No. 3-seeded Orange was the first team on the podium, so Burke and the No. 4-seeded Wolverines were given the opportunity to respond to the comments.

"If that's how they feel, then that's how they feel," Burke added. "We play them tomorrow, we'll see tomorrow.

"That's all I can say."

Tim Hardaway Jr. said this about the 2-3 zone.

"If the zone was unbeatable, then they would be 39‑0," he said. "We're just going to go out there, play our game, not worry about what they're going to do, and just play Michigan basketball."

It is up to you to believe whether or not Michigan will use this for motivation for Saturday night's showdown (Though, if you need bulletin board material to get amped before the Final Four then, in my opinion, you need to check yourself a bit.)

But I will ask this: do you like Triche's confidence in his teammates or did he pick the wrong time to channel his inner-Fab Five?

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