The Syracuse Orange take on the North Carolina Tar Heels tonight in the Final Four and the winner moves on to the National Championship game. Here's all of the quotes, updates and other ephemera that are floating out there to complete your pregame experience.
Trev has Final Four experience but it's certainly a new experience when you're playing basketball in the middle of a cavernous football stadium in front of a massive crowd.
"You can't compare it to anything," said SU guard Trevor Cooney, who is appearing in the second Final Four of his Orange career. "You're playing in a football stadium. In the center of it. You're going to have like 90,000 people at the game. (Ed. - 76K, actually) You can't compare it to anything. It was good to practice here yesterday and to get a feel here today, too. I think that helps. But when the game starts, you gotta block all of that out and just play. That's the bottom line."
"You go back to the Pittsburgh game. I was out in the second half and Coach was telling me I was going side-to-side and not going towards the basket," Cooney said. "And I went back and watched film on it and looked at my opportunities. I needed to attack more. We're really good when Mike attacks, when Malachi attacks. I need to be in that group and attack.
"Going to the tournament, that's what I wanted to do. If I got good looks, I was going to take 'em. But I didn't want to run up and down and take bad ones. So that's what I've been doing. I've just tried to make plays and get to the basket. And I've been doing a good job of it. I've been taking good threes. That's what I'm going to continue to do. If I get open looks, I'm going to take 'em."
Trevor also has some kind words for Pearl Washington and what he hopes SU's run can do for the ailing Orange legend.
"When we found out (about Pearl), it was tough. You don't want anyone to go through what he's going through. Especially someone you know. I've been fortunate to meet him a few times when he came back. And I think getting the T-shirts meant a lot for us just so support him and to create awareness. I think what got to me was when we went to the Final Four, I heard he got real emotional after the win. And that felt good. I'm sure it made him feel a little bit better. If we can make him feel better, I think that will mean a lot to me and the whole entire team."
The fab freshman received a phone call this week from another guy known for having a pretty good freshman season at Syracuse: Carmelo Anthony.
"He's a normal person too," Richardson said. "He's a human. … He just congratulated us and said 'Way to play.' "
Oh if you want a Malachi emoji, you can do that too.
Lydon is a creature of habit, to the point where when he didn't like the Nike-appointed socks given to the team in the tournament, he changed them out for his usual socks and his play improved.
"I was just pissed we had to wear these socks that were given to us," Lydon said in SU’s NRG Stadium locker room on Satuday. "I wanted to wear the socks I’d worn all season, they were more comfortable. So we get into halftime and I just say, ‘You know what? I’m changing them.’
"Then what do you know, we win."
Roberson and Boeheim have a bit of a strained relationship based on Tyler's effort and Jim's disdain for the perceived lack thereof. Now, Roberson is finding more consistency and has become a critical player on the court when it comes to rebounds, put-backs and frontcourt play.
"I think he’s learned to fight through adversity and maintain his consistency better this year," Boeheim said. "Obviously I’d hope for that last year, sometimes it just takes a little bit longer."
"I think I’ve been playing well lately," Roberson said. "I wouldn’t say there’s one reason in particular, maybe I’m just growing as a player and a person."
Coleman is flying under the radar when it comes to Syracuse players, but his efforts should not be forgotten and he's realizing the benefits of his hard work.
"A lot of the work I’ve been doing for two years is definitely starting to pay off," Coleman said. "I’m really excited. I’m here. I can’t take it for granted."
The freshman notes that the lights could make a bit of a difference in NRG.
"It's definitely different," Howard said. "When you go out there, it's definitely bright. When you look up, you can get blinded a little bit. It's very bright. The backdrop for your shot takes a little while to get used to. But I think our shooters, they can shoot anywhere. These few days of practice have done a great job of getting our shooters adjusted."
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Jim Boeheim and Kid Reporter: (snapchat username: syracusedotcom) pic.twitter.com/7IRgFTBb5a— Donna Ditota (@DonnaDitota1) April 1, 2016
Mural outside the Syracuse locker room. pic.twitter.com/bFNTryTlvn— Donna Ditota (@DonnaDitota1) March 31, 2016