The #1 seeded Syracuse Orange took to the TD Garden hardwood on Wednesday afternoon with a very short time to get used to the Boston environment, and make final preparations for their "Sweet Sixteen"
matchup slated for Thusday night. The Orange will face 4th seeded Wisconson after taking care of Kansas State last week in Pittsburgh 75-59.
The Badgers are an upset pick for many experts, and intend on going with the same game plan they have all year against Syracuse. They thrive on taking control of the tempo and trying to force low scoring game. One thing they were pretty clear on after Wednesday's practice is the fact that the Orange will be facing a man to man defense.
"I've never played a second of zone defense since I've been at Wisconsin, says guard Jordan Taylor, "I've heard coach say one time he played it one possession and he got scored on I think he said, so he won't go back to it. I don't think you're going to see that tomorrow.
"The great thing about the game of basketball is you can play and approach it in a lot of different ways and be successful, says SU Head Coach Jim Boeheim, "Coaches have done that over the years. There's a lot of different ways to coach a team and to play the game, and yet you can still be successful."
"We've just got to run our sets whatever defense the team is in, says senior guard Scoop Jardine, "We know they play like a soft man where they're going to help a lot, and they're very grounded on defense.
They're a very smart defensive team."
The Orange will be playing in their third "Sweet Sixteen" matchup in the past four years, having not advanced to the "elite eight" since 2003. They are well aware that they have many critics across the nation who question just how far this # 1 seed can go, especially without the presence of an ineligible Fab Melo. Most of the players say that motivates them heading into Thursday night's battle in Beantown.
"We're not even supposed to be here," says Dion Waiters sarcastically, "we were supposed to have lost to Kansas State last week. I mean everybody is gonna talk man, we've just got to continue to go out there and play Syracuse basketball."
"We're a top team in the country," continues C.J. Fair, "but we get treated almost like underdogs. But that's just something we can feed off of."
"Those are just opinions to us," says senior Kris Joseph about SU's critics," everyone is entitled to their own opnions, and for us, we just want to do what we know we're capable of doing."
"At the end of the day," Waiters continued, " that's (our critics) job to say those things. It's out job to just go out there and make them look dumb, make them look stupid."
Tip off in Boston tomorrow is slated for 7:15 PM.