Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was funny at times during his presser on Friday, especially when he was asked if he could remember when he first got into the tournament and does he approach things any differently? Does he sleep better now? His response:
I'm 34 years older. I do sleep a little better now. If I don't I won't be able to get up. Yeah. The tournament -- I think the first round now is like the third round used to be. It used to be it came to the -- the first round there were no stupid questions -- no questions and no people bothering you and you just kind of played the first two games. And then the people, the stupid people -- the other people came around and you had to deal with all that stuff. But you had a bye, really, a pass on the first two rounds. Now it's just starts a little sooner.
And you know the teams, the quality of teams are just really -- it's unbelievable to me how good the teams are in this tournament are. The 16 seeds, they're good. Vermont should -- a few years ago would have been a 13 or 14 seed. We had trouble with them when they were 14. I'm sure we'll have trouble with them when they're a 16 too. There's just -- we played Robert Morris earlier this year. They're a really good team. Murray State, these teams are all good.
I watched the NIT over the last couple of days. Those teams are good. There's just a lot of good basketball teams. I differ with some of our -- your colleagues on the TV sets. I realize you don't associate with those guys. They're a little different level. I'm not sure which way it is, up or down. They keep talking about well there's mediocre teams. Really, all it is is there are teams that got beat by the top three or four teams in their league. That's why they've lost 10 or 11 or 12 games, because they couldn't beat the top three or four teams in the league. I've always felt like if you lose three or four times, five or six times to the teams in the top 20, that doesn't mean you're a bad team. It means you're just not quite a top 20 team.
I always thought the object of this tournament was to be in a tournament. I didn't realize you had to have a chance to win it to get into the tournament. I thought it was just a matter of we try to get the best teams around the country to play in a tournament, because if you just took teams that had a chance to win it, you would only take about 12 teams or 16 teams and play. Some years you might just take two like they do in that other sport. The object of this tournament is to give everybody a chance to play in this tournament. And I'm really tired of hearing every time they mention about any kind of expansion, it's for coaches. There's one coach on every team. There's 15 players. Ask those 15 players what an opportunity to play in this tournament is. When we don't like something, we try and attack somebody.
There's a lot of good players out there in this country. And until people realize that, I don't believe it's mediocrity; I think it's balance. I think they talk about that in football all the time now, about balance and mediocrity. It's the same thing. Just depends on your point of view, which words you use.