Home Postgame: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on loss to Miami

Postgame: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on loss to Miami


Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and players Andrew White III and John Gillon talk with reporters after the Orange’s loss to Miami in the 2017 ACC Tournament.


THE MODERATOR: We’ll start with an opening statement from Coach Boeheim.

COACH BOEHEIM: I thought it was — you know, Miami’s a trick team. I thought the first half they shot the ball extremely well, but we hung in there and got, say, close.

Second half, we were more aggressive. We got to the basket. We got them in foul situation early and got back in the game. Down the stretch, we missed two, and they made two, and that was the difference in the game.

Q. Jim, I guess the simple question is what do you think your NCAA fate will be on Sunday?
COACH BOEHEIM: It doesn’t matter what I think.

Q. What would you expect to see happen?
COACH BOEHEIM: I expect the committee to make a decision.

Q. Do you have an opinion on what that decision should be?
COACH BOEHEIM: Obviously, I’ve answered that twice already. Want me to answer it again?

Q. Sure.
COACH BOEHEIM: I don’t have an opinion. It’s up to them. My opinion doesn’t matter. Every coach in the country that’s on the bubble thinks his team should get in. Every coach. The facts in the case — I’m not going to say whether we should get in or not. That’s up to the committee.

The facts in the case, last year we had three good wins against a top team in the country, Texas A&M, Connecticut who was not ranked, and Duke was at about 18. This year we have three good wins, three teams in the top 10 when they beat them.

I see all the time on the bracketology thing, it says Syracuse has (indiscernible) top 50 wins, and so does this team. That team doesn’t have any wins against the top 20.

The committee has always looked at good wins. Everyone says they’re home. The tournament is not played at home and not played on the road. It’s played at neutral sites. We have better wins than we had last year. We have more wins. We have Miami, we have Clemson on the road, we have Wake Forest. We didn’t have those wins last year. We have a couple more nonconference losses this year, and that’s something that will, I’m sure, be taken into consideration.

We are universally felt to be — I think by everybody — the Number 1 conference in the country. We finished seventh, tied for seventh. Other conferences are talking about getting 60 percent of their teams in the tournament. If we’re the best conference in the country, we should get more than 50 percent of teams in the tournament.

People keep talking about road losses. In the ACC, there’s four teams going to the tournament that have three losses in conference on the road, and we have two. The only team with a winning conference on the road is North Carolina, and they’re top 10 in the country. They’re 5-4, I think. And there’s two or three other really good teams in our conference that have four road wins.

Those are the facts. The committee is going to have to figure out where it all falls. I feel — well, I know our profile is better this year than it was last year in terms of top wins.

I think the committee, from what I’ve gathered through my years, is looking for teams that can win games in the tournament. I think we can. I think to look at today and say, oh, they lost to Miami — Miami was top 25 team in the country last year. It came down to a one-point game, and that was it. I mean, one game? That shouldn’t mean anything.

But that’s what I look at, and it’s up to the committee to look at all that stuff and figure out what to do.

Q. My question is for John. John, can you just kind of tell me what you were thinking when you’re bringing up the ball there for your final shot that left 0.4 seconds on the clock?
JOHN GILLON: I was just trying to get the ball up as fast as I could and just knock down the shot. That was the only thing that was going through my mind at that time.

Q. Did you kind of already think you were going to take that shot regardless when you were bringing it up?
JOHN GILLON: I mean, there’s no regardless. If I saw someone ahead of me that was wide open, I would throw it immediately. But there’s not a lot of time to think. We had five seconds left. So more than likely, I was going to shoot that.

COACH BOEHEIM: Any time, with that time left on the clock, like with the Duke game and like with Clemson, he’s going to go up and shoot it. You don’t have a lot of time to make a lot of plays or pass the ball there. If he can get a good shot in that situation — he’s made two of them this year. Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards to make the third one. It was the absolute right play.

Q. Coach, I know you’re the, quote-unquote, home team for this being in New York, but do you like the fact this is a more neutral site for this tournament, and would you like to see that going forward?
COACH BOEHEIM: I think New York’s a great place. Obviously, we get some fans here. It doesn’t matter in terms of who wins. I just think New York City is a great venue for our tournament. I think the big city is where it should be played. I think it should be played here, Washington, Atlanta. That’s where the tournament should be played.

I’m not going to be around much longer to care about it, but I think that’s where the value is. I think there’s a huge value in playing the tournament in those places. There’s no value in playing Greensboro, none. It’s there because the league’s been there and the office is there, and they have 150 people that the ACC needs. That’s why it’s there. It should not be there.

You get in the media centers and the recruiting centers, how many players do they have in Greensboro? I mean, New York, Washington, Atlanta, that’s where the media centers are. Madison Square Garden made the Big East conference. There’s a couple other factors, but made the Big East conference.

And I’m saying all that because I don’t give a shit. I’m just saying what’s right. That’s what’s right. Why do you think the Big Ten is coming into New York? It’s business, good business sense. They all say it’s a business. Well, then, let’s start acting like it’s a business.

Q. Jim, along those same lines, any deja vu coming to Brooklyn?
COACH BOEHEIM: It’s a little different. The Garden is different. That’s where we always played. This is a great venue and great place for the tournament, I think.

Q. Coaches, how have you seen your defense evolve from the beginning of the year to now?
COACH BOEHEIM: Well, it’s been a struggle. It’s been a constant struggle. It’s not good. We’re in the middle of the pack defensively, eighth, ninth in the league in most categories. It’s gotten a little better, but we have four first-year players and a sophomore. It’s not good. It’s not a good defense.

Our offense got better as the year went along, and we outscored people. We haven’t been able to stop anybody. Today we got a few stops, but not enough. Our offense just wasn’t quite good enough today. Our defense was okay.

But we don’t have the defense that we thought we could have this year, and that’s what’s probably hurt us the most. I think these guys really have adjusted. Two fifth-year players coming in and being able to adjust to what they have done. Andrew’s consistency and John’s leadership the last part of the season — after the Boston College game, we went 10-7 in this conference. It’s not that easy to do.

I don’t care where you play, Duke and Florida State and Virginia, they beat a lot of people. And to win those games tells me something about what we’re capable of doing, and they’re better wins than we had last year, and we did all right last year when we got in. We’ll see what the committee decides, and we’ll move forward.

Q. Andrew, how can you describe the strides this team has made since that 33-point loss to St. John’s and just giving you guys a reasonable chance to get into the tournament since then?
ANDREW WHITE: I think we’ve come together a lot more. I think this team has figured out what it takes to win, and that’s helped getting into the meat of the ACC season. I think we’ve just picked up our intensity, and we’ve done everything we could to put us in a position to be considered for the postseason. So we’ve done everything we could up to this point.

I think we have a lot of potential, a lot of things we can do well. So just proud of where we come, coming from where we started early in the year.

Q. Jim, only ten assists today, also ten turnovers. What was Miami doing defensively?
COACH BOEHEIM: They’re a very good defensive team. I think they’re one of the best defensive teams in the league. Ten turnovers is not out of hand. That’s not a bad number.

They’re just a really good defensive team, and they made it difficult. We finally got it going much better in the second half. Much better. And we had some good looks. Tyus got to the basket. That’s a big play. Missing the dunk was a huge play. They went down and got a dunk. You can’t have that happen in close games.

We got two really good looks from the three-point line and missed. They got two and made them. They were 0 for 8 from the three. And Vasiljevic was deep, really deep. We had taken a one-point lead. Shot clock was down. We were up pretty good on them. He was way back, and he made a big shot, and we came down and missed. That’s usually how these games are decided.

Q. Jim, to follow up on that, did Miami make certain defensive adjustments on you from the regular season to make it tougher on you?
COACH BOEHEIM: No. Earlier in the year, we got off to a good start and got them early, and our defense was really good, and they didn’t play well offensively. They played — they shot the ball great in the first half, but we overcame that and got back in it.

This game came down to a couple plays. We missed a dunk and a three, and they made two threes. That was the game. We kept battling. We made a big three to get back to two, and we just couldn’t get the turnover in that situation.

But it came down to two plays, a couple plays. They made a couple, and we missed a couple. That was the game.

Q. Andrew, I want to ask you defensively, it looked like Miami made some adjustments in terms of positioning their shooters the second time playing you guys. How difficult was it to get out to guys like D.J. and Reed?
ANDREW WHITE: Their spacing was good. They have good guard play. They’re experienced and well coached, so they’re going to shake free and get some looks. But we made a couple small execution errors, so that was probably, like Coach said, two, three, maybe four defining moments in the game where we just would have buckled down a little bit, those would have been valuable points.

Q. Jim, Coach Larranaga really praised Kamari Murphy, his defense on Tyler Lydon today. Tyler struggled. How much of that was Murphy, or was it just other things going on with the offense?
COACH BOEHEIM: Tyler, same thing today he’s averaged the last four games. So I don’t think Murphy was playing him any of those games. He’s not really — he’s got some looks, but he’s hesitating a little bit. He’s just not probably being quite aggressive.

You can’t tell a player to shoot. He’s got to see it when it’s there. I mean, he knows we want him to shoot. He’s a great facilitator. He’s doing a great job. He’s playing great defense. He’s rebounding the ball. But he’s not really — I don’t think he’s ready to be a big scorer. I don’t think that’s his mentality. I think that’s something he has to develop.

But nobody’s ever told him not to shoot. We’ve only told him to shoot. And this game, I think, is pretty much typical to what he’s done the last three, four games — I don’t have the numbers exactly, but it seems like it. He’s deferring. He’s passing up some shots. He’s passing up some opportunities, I think, where he could go.

But those things take time, and he’s just not quite there yet, I don’t think.



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