Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim on March Madness

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Break out your brackets: March Madness is back. One consulting firm estimates the event will cost U.S. businesses nearly $4 billion in lost productivity. One of the hottest stories going into the tournament the orange men of Syracuse.

And Jane Skinner is here with that.

JANE SKINNER: John, thanks very much.

And college basketball fans still have their mouths wide open today after what Syracuse did to the big east. As one sports writer called it an extreme makeover worthy of reality TV. They pulled off a series of squeakers. One of the victims was number one ranked Connecticut. And now it is on to a well-deserved spot at the NCAA Tournament.

And the guy who is bringing the orange is hall of fame coach Jim Boeheim.

And coach, I have to apologize for my mispronunciation. Somewhere in Chicago my brother is screaming because he said if you are talking to the coach whatever you do, don't mess up his name.

JIM BOEHEIM, SYRACUSE HEAD COACH: Well, Jane, I'm used to it. Everybody has done it, so you are far from the first. It took about 20 years before people got it right. And it still gets wrong sometimes. So you are not the first.

SKINNER: Well, I appreciate your forgiveness. Maybe you can give my brother a call after this segment is over.

BOEHEIM: I will.

SKINNER: I'll point out that the coach is representing Direct TV Satellite March Madness package and Direct TV. For your information and in case you don't know is owned by the parent company of FOX News.

So coach congratulations. I can't imagine the high that you guys are on. How do you keep it going? You don't play until Thursday.

BOEHEIM: Well, we have got to come down first and then kind of build our way back up. We went to New York, Jane, with really no chance to be in the NCAA Tournament unless we win two games, and we knew one of them would be Connecticut. And Cincinnati had just beat us by 20 points at home.

So, miracles can happen, and in sports more maybe than any place else, you can overcome anything. And it's a good lesson for everybody in sports and out of sports that if you work hard enough and you have a little guy like Gerry McNamara that can make threes when, you know, you don't think you can possibly make the shot. He did it three different times and that made the pass in the game when we needed to win.

You win four games by eight points against three teams that are ranked in the top 15 in the country, that's a pretty good weekend, and we are obviously thrilled. I have never seen anything like it in my 30 years. We have won this tournament a few times but never like this. And we are still very excited here in Syracuse.

SKINNER: It was incredible. What was the inspiration, do you think? What started them on this roll? Some have said that feisty news conference you had last week defending the player's ability maybe had something to do with it. What do you think?

BOEHEIM: Well, yes, a little bit. But I think we were ready to go. We knew it was win or else. And once we got by Connecticut, you know, you get that far you start thinking well we might as well now win this tournament, and that's kind of what happened.

But we got balance. We got everybody scoring and everybody playing defense. And we really hadn't had that all year. And if you are going to get it, now is the right time to get it. And it's why the NCAA Tournament, you look at the brackets, you know, Connecticut and Duke still look very good, but I think there is going to be a lot of upsets.

I think you better fill out a bracket with a lot of upsets if you want to win this thing because Boston College is playing well. Florida is playing well. Florida is playing well, UCLA.

There is a lot of teams that can make a run, including the team that's no longer kind of an underdog, Gonzaga. They are in a position where they could make a good run in this tournament and get to the final four. They have got a team capable of it and certainly a player capable of leading the team.

SKINNER: Coach, what are you telling your guys going into Thursday? How do you prevent them from being overconfident at this point?

BOEHEIM: I am telling them to get the same attitude we had in New York. We have to win or we are done. That was our attitude in New York, and it got us through New York. And it can get us through this week, although Texas A&M is one of the best 12 seeds I have ever seen. They just beat Texas, and Texas is a two-seed.

So we have got our hands full, but in the NCAA Tournament — the beauty of it today — people used to say there could be upsets, but it was really confined to just a couple rounds. Now, there can be upsets in the first, second, third, or fourth round, and it is what makes the tournament so exciting. And it is one that people want to tune in and watch because who is going to be the team this year?


BOEHEIM: And there are going to be several, I think, and it is going to be fun to watch.

SKINNER: Coach, it's everybody's favorite time of year. Coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse thanks so much.

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