Thursday, January 27, 2005


Boeheim on TV

College Gamenight on ESPN interviewed Jim Boeheim. One of the longer tv interviews I've seen with Boeheim. I decided to transcribe it. KArl Ravech (KR) and former St John's coach Mike Jarvis (MJ)did the interview.

KR- The head coach of the Syracuse Orangemen, Jim Boeheim, joins us. His team has only lost once 20-1. Coach you've been there for what seems like almost forever. You look at this conference, where would it rank relative to years past top to bottom?
JB-Well I think I've been here longer than youve been around, havent I Karl? (Laughs)
KR- Its close.
JB- I think the top teams, we ve got very good teams at the top maybe not as good as some years, but pretty solid. At the bottom and middle of the league is by far the best weve ever been. Anybody.
KR- Rutgers a good example of what you just went through?
JB- Not Just Rutgers, but you look at Providence, a team that was playing well, beat some good teams nonconference, they're struggling and they havent won a game in our league yet. And its crazy. Who thought BC would be where they are, but you probably should of. They lost by one to Georgia Tech last year in the tournament and Georgia Tech, of course, went to the final four and they have all of those guys back plus an outstanding freshman. I dont think you should be that surprised, but our league is as balanced as I've ever seen it.
MJ- As far as this team goes what would you say is probably the one thing or two things that make this team really special?
JB- Its the veteran guys. Hakim Warrick, Gerry MAcnamara, Billy Edelin, Josh Pace all were significant players, starters, on our National Championship team and they got another year under their belt in the Big East. They're the key for us down the stretch. But the key for us to be really good at the end is our younger players have to get better.
KR- Syracuse always been known as a team that runs, Warrick's great on offense, Macnamara, but how about the concept of defense? This team buy that?
JB-We've been very good in our zone. The last two games we've had to play man to man and we played the best man to man we've played in a long time. And i think thats a good thing for the future of this team. Cause you have to mix it up a little bit. Zone is good a lot of the time, but theres some nights you need to play some man. Our centers are key Craig Forth, another veteran guy. You know, If he can keep playing the way he's been playing we've got a chance down the stretch.
KR- Halftime Rutgers, Jimmy. Is there something that you see yourself continually preaching to these guys? And that may have been a unique situation, but is there some sort of recurring theme that you have to seem to emphasize to these guys?
JB- You know, thats our first really bad stretch all year long. We've been either ahead at halftime or right there at halftime of every game. It was our first really bad 6 minutes of basketball. When I got in the lockerroom the players were already yelling at each other. I said thats ok weve done it, lets go correct it. They came out charged up. Really I wish i said something that I could remember, that i could use again. It comes down to the players in that situation. They dug a hole for themselves, they knew they did, they decided to get themselves out of it. And we were very fortunate. Rutgers is a very tough to place to play and particularly for us, we've struggled down there.
MJ- You spoke about the future and obviously they are going to be some huge changes next year. What are your thoughts as a coach about the future, the new Big East and going to 16 teams?
JB- 16 is too many. Theres no question about it. You end up beating yourselves up. We're going to have six teams or seven capable of being in the NCAA tournament this year in our league and we're bringing in 4 teams that are probably going to be in the NCAA tournament. So you're talking 10 or 11 teams in a 16 team league next year that were in the NCAA tournament this year. Something's got to give. You're gonna end up beating each other up. It's going to be a challenge, a challenge for everybody, but that's what it is, we're going to have get ready and see who's going to survive.
KR-You may not remember what you said at the halftime at Rutgers, but what are you going to say The Gameday crew, is coming to Syracuse later. You hear Vitale all the time, "cupcake" easy schedule, syracuse 20-1, hows that exchange go?
JB- Dick's been better now. He kind of got off that. He realized we did play some good games early even though they were in New York state. He reminded me he got an "A" in geography which I definitely do not believe. It couldn't possibly happen Unless he was sitting next to his wife, then its possible.
KR- She could help him
JB- We're going to talk to the Gameday people and we're gonna have a great game, Notre Dame coming in. We'll have fun.
KR-What's this team capable of. You've played 21 games you've won 20 of them you've won a National Title, what is this team really capable of doing?
JB- Any team in the top 20, I believe can go to the final four whether you can win the NC, maybe, maybe. But I think any team in the top 20 or 25 in the country. You have to remember we won it from outside the top 25 at christmas time. Any team this year, the balance in college basketball, you see some great teams out there, but there's really nobody like last year with Connecticut that you're gonna look at and say we cant beat that team. Everyone's beatable, but you're still going to have to play 6 really good basketball games. The team that wins the National Championship will probably be a team that almost gets beat in the second game or third game of the tournament.
KR- We'll keep an eye on that and certainly keep watching you Saturday night against Pitt at 7 on ESPN. Coach, Thank You
JB- Thank You

Obviously a national interview. It shows that Ravech hadnt done much homework on the Orange with his questions. I think Jarvis had the best question about the New Big East. Boeheim obviously disagrees with the additions and from a pure basketball standpoint I agree with Boeheim. Obviously the reason the BE added is because of football..But imagine a schedule that looks like this nex year. UConn, Providence,at Villanova, At Georgetown, Cincinnati, at Depaul, at Marquette, Pitt, Louisville, at Uconn, Georgetown, Notre Dame, at Rutgers, at South Florida, Villanova, at Notre Dame..ouch..imagine getting that schedule..
Interesting interview by Boeheim...while football forced Tranghese's hand, its the basketball coaches that will have the toughest draw.

The depth of the league going forward is simply ridiculous. I'm excited to see how Marquette does in the Big East in the seasons to come - - but also realistic about expectations in the greatest basketball conference of all time.
For Pitt, SU, Uconn and ND it makes very little difference. We are adding 4 teams. The aforementioned teams play each other twice already. So instead of playing Uconn twice, you only play them once and the other game you play Cinncinnati. Our schedule will not be any tougher, however if you are a cellar dwellar you are going to stay there because you just added 4 tough games to your schedule. Hiya Marquette I am glad you guys came in. I was surprised because you are west of Chicago but I think we are on the verge of being the BIG AMERICA conference not just the BIG EAST.
We're actually north of Chicago :-)

It'll be fun next season, yes. MU will lose Diener, but Crean has a terrific incoming class -- just in time for the Big East
Bandolph- true..just a mock schedule..just imagine looking at that schedule as an outsider and not from a teams perspective and it looks brutal on the surface..the teams like Rutgers, West virginia and seton hall are going to struggle with the quality of teams coming in
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