Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Boeheim comes to the defense of the refs.
Jim Boeheim joined 1260 The Score in Syracuse with Bud and the Manchild to discuss his team's play in the first weekend, playing without Fab Melo, those that say Syracuse should have lost its first game, Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach's postgame comments, Charles Barkley's take that refs need to use more common sense, the matchup with the Badgers and how the bracket is shaping up with 16 teams left.
How did you feel about the team's performance in the opening weekend of the tournament?
"I think we shot the ball well the second half the other night. When we shoot the ball well we're a different team. It's a one-point game at halftime; the second half is a 15-point game. It just goes back to if you make some shots, your team's a lot better."
How do you think your team is doing - in games and practice - with the absence of Fab Melo?
"We practiced well all year long when he was here and when he wasn't here. It hasn't affected practice. It affects games. He can make some plays that we know very few people - there's only a few guys in the country - … can make. I think one of the biggest things he was good at was drawing charges. You think back to Marquette, he drew four charges and we won by four points or whatever it was. Without those four charges they probably get four baskets and we lose the game. His effect on the game is important. We can overcome it if everybody else plays better."
On the people that say Syracuse didn't deserve to win their first game:
"You look back on the course of the game and the fact that somebody would say we didn't deserve to win, we had an eight-point lead. We went up eight. It doesn't matter that they went up eight in the first half. I don't know how anyone could say we didn't deserve to win the game."
Did it bother you when Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said that the better team didn't win the game?
"I think he was wrong. It doesn't bother me, I just think people make mistakes. If it was a tie game and it was a close out-of-bounds call, then maybe they should get it, maybe they have a chance to win. But we were up three even with that. They would've had to make three points and us not score with what, 20-some seconds to go. It was still a long ways from winning."
On Charles Barkley's comment that the refs need to use common sense:
"Charles is an idiot. … You have to call calls. If they're there, you have to call them. If a foul occurs or whatever happens, you have to call it. It's as simple as that. If referees start doing that, we'll have a chaotic situation. They have to make the calls that are there. If it's a little touch foul away from the ball, a good referee won't call that."
Looking at Wisconsin now, do they have enough offense to outscore you?
"They're probably one of the most dangerous teams we can play because they have five guys on the floor that can all shoot the 3-point shot. I think that's a dangerous team for a team that plays zone. Most teams have one or two guys that shoots 3s. They have five. … They're a very good defensive team, one of the best in the country. A very dangerous team. At this stage, it's pretty much a coin flip from now on in in terms of this tournament. If you play well, you can win. If you don't play well or don't shoot well, you're not going to win. That's just the way the tournament is now."
On how the bracket is shaping up:
"I actually didn't even fill out a bracket this year. … But I would've picked Kentucky, obviously, and North Carolina. Now, that changes a little bit depending on the availability of their point guard. And I'm sure I would've picked Michigan State, too, going in. I knew there would be a lot of upsets, but I didn't think those teams would get upset. And I still don't think they will. I think Kentucky will get there and Michigan State will get there and I think, well, North Carolina's a little bit more difficult now without Marshall."