From Turner Sports / CBS Sports –
Notes from tonight’s Infiniti NCAA® Tip Off Pregame Show on truTV
CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ interview with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim
Click here for a replay of the one-on-one interview with Syracuse men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim conducted by Marty Snider on truTV.
Boeheim on the impact from the loss of Fab Melo in the lineup:
“The big difference is he’s the best shot blocker in the country, or one of the best, if not the best in the country. That’s where he really anchors our defense. What we have to do is play better defense in front of that spot. Our other guys have to play better defensively. On the offensive end, it doesn’t change much in terms of what we’re going to do.
“It does, obviously, change our defense but I think we’re a team that is well-equipped to…play this tournament without him. Most years I wouldn’t say that if we lost our starting center. We have guys that have played. They’re not as good as he is but they are good players and I’m very confident in what they can do.”
Infiniti NCAA Tip Off pregame show
Matt Winer, Steve Smith, Seth Davis and Villanova head coach Jay Wright as guest analyst
Wright on the impact of Melo’s absence on Syracuse’s offense: “It’s going to affect them offensively. [Melo’s] defense and shot blocking starts their [fast] break and they have the best break in college basketball.”
Smith on Melo’s absence: “Offensively, they don’t do a great job in the half court and the shots they miss, [Melo] could grab and [the opposition] needed two or three guys to box him out. So they are going to miss him on both ends.”
Davis on how Syracuse played without Melo earlier in the season: “When they did play without him [earlier in the season], it was striking how much they missed him.”
Davis on Syracuse’s chances in the tournament after the loss of Melo: “I think they go from a very short list of contenders for the national championship to a second tier team in a jumble of teams. Yes, if they get hot or if they get the right matchups, they could make it but I think this is a near-devastating blow for them.”
Wright on how Syracuse can still have a successful tournament: “They have a lot of great players and Boeheim is one of the smartest guys in basketball. They can figure out a way to play differently and still be successful.”