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FINAL FOUR special edition, APRIL 5-6, 2013



atmosphere in atlanta

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Intensity runs high as Syracuse joins 3 others in Atlanta in pursuit of championship

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long and winding road



nate shron | staff photographer JOHN BEILEIN has yet to defeat Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, his old mentor. Beilein coached at Le Moyne College and throughout Upstate New York before moving on to bigger and better schools. The two coaches have known each other since the 1970s and will square off on a national stage in Saturday night’s Final Four matchup in Atlanta.

Boeheim, Beilein take vastly different paths from CNY hoops to Final Four in Atlanta By Chris Iseman SPORTS EDITOR


TLANTA – John Beilein was beginning his tenure as the head coach at Newfane (N.Y.) High School when he started going to coaching clinics in Central New York. There with Beilein was a young up-and-coming coach named Jim Boeheim, who spoke about the 2-3 zone and was quickly earning the respect of all in attendance. They forged a friendship that lasted decades, even while their paths veered in separate directions. Boeheim quickly built a sparkling resume filled with NCAA Tournament appearances. Beilein spent more than two decades at small Upstate New York colleges and mid-major programs. Their friendship continued through it all. “It goes back for years and years,” Beilein said. “So we became friends during that time, and I have had great respect for him.” On Saturday, Beilein and Boeheim will stand on the same court, on the same sideline, coaching in the same game under the national spotlight in the Final Four. Boeheim is a part of the reason Beilein is here after serving as a mentor, friend and advocate. Now Beilein will try to beat Boeheim for the first time in 10 tries and

advance to the national championship. Beilein said Thursday that Boeheim helped him land his first Division-I coaching position at Canisius. About 10 years later, the friendship became vital once again when Beilein was hired as West Virginia’s head coach in 2002. “I believe he had something to do with me going to the Big East at West Virginia,” Beilein said. “He was very instrumental.” While Boeheim and Syracuse immediately began making NCAA Tournament appearances, Beilein’s career took a more circuitous route. It started at Newfane and continued on to Erie Community College, Nazareth, Le Moyne, Canisius and Richmond before landing at West Virginia, and eventually, Michigan. Through those stops, Beilein said he didn’t think ending up at the Final Four would be possible. “I’m always sort of thinking about what we can do right now to be a better team, what can I do to be a better coach, a better father, a better teacher,” Beilein said. “Always with the idea that if you do all those things, anything is possible in your life.” Beilein credits Boeheim for helping him get here. On Thursday, he also lauded Boeheim for his intelligence. He said Boeheim can discuss a

He’s been successful wherever he’s been. I remember him at Erie, Le Moyne, Canisius, Richmond, you name it. He’s won every place he’s been. That’s difficult to do.” Jim Boeheim


myriad of topics, basketball or otherwise. It’s something he’s known about Boeheim since the two met all those years ago in CNY gymnasiums. “He’s one of the greatest minds in basketball, about anything. The guy is smart,”

Beilein said. “You ask him about college football, he’ll tell you. You ask him about North Korea right now, he probably knows all about that. He is a smart guy.” Boeheim said earlier this week he’s always “admired” Beilein’s coaching. He’s watched him climb the coaching ladder at jobs he helped Beilein land, all the way to their collision in the Final Four. “He’s been successful wherever he’s been. I remember him at Erie, Le Moyne, Canisius, Richmond, you name it,” Boeheim said on a teleconference earlier this week. “He’s won every place he’s been. That’s difficult to do.” Beilein is 0-9 against Boeheim and the Orange. His first win against his long-time friend would be the biggest of his career, one that Boeheim influenced. Since those clinics back in the mid- to late-1970s, they’ve been mentor and mentee, friend and adversary. On the Georgia Dome floor, they’ll meet once again with a chance at rising to the top of college basketball on the line. Beilein has watched Boeheim reach three previous Final Fours. The mutual admiration has lasted for decades. Said Beilein: “I followed him and respected him very much.”

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IN THE GEORGIA DOME Peter Waack Mike Escalante Alec Coleman William Leonard Jeanne Cloyd Mike Friedman Carolina Garcia Emily Myers Elaina Powless Paula Vallina Sam Weinberg Ruitong Zhou Runsu Huang Abby Legge Olivia Accardo Gonzalo Garcia Tim Bennett Harold Heron Alexander Bush Chris Freeman Alexandra Koskoris Matt LaFlair Arianna Rogers Suzanne Sirianni Charis Slue Charlie Plumpton Justice Jones

Follow writers Michael Cohen (@ michael _ cohen13) and Chris Iseman (@ chris _ iseman) for live and postgame coverage of Syracuse’s game against Michigan.


Syracuse fans and alumni gather for pep rallies and pregame festivities before Saturday’s game.


Those who didn’t go to Atlanta bond with friends, students at local bars and restaurants during the game.

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Healthy Participants Wanted Congratulations to the Syracuse Men’s Basketball Team on reaching the Final Four! We wish you all the best. Good luck!

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NOT JUST YET Boeheim reiterates that he does not plan on retiring soon By Michael Cohen STAFF WRITER


TLANTA — The setting was different — the fourth city in as many weeks — but the questions remained the same. Jim Boeheim fielded multiple inquiries Thursday about if and when he will retire, and for how long he’s thought about retirement. But Boeheim, the 68-year-old Syracuse head coach, remained firm in his commitment to the program he’s come to define. “I hear that lot, that question,” he said. “I answer it the same way. About 10 years ago, I thought it was my last year. I really did. I’m still here. “I have no plans on retiring.” Boeheim has seemed invigorated by his fourth trip to the Final Four -- first since 2003. He has lively chats with reporters and appears to genuinely enjoy this postseason run that’s crisscrossed the country before reaching Atlanta. In his 37th season as head coach, Boeheim looks poised for at least a few more. Though this is his first appearance in the Final Four since winning his only national championship in 2003, it can be argued that the last four years have been one of the strongest stretches in his career. Boeheim referenced last year’s team and the 2010 team, both No. 1 seeds, as ones he thought were capable of winning the national title. And were it not for the ineligibility of Fab Melo and a knee injury to Arinze Onuaku, there’s a chance Boeheim’s fingers would boast more jewelry. Now, in 2013, Boeheim has a third team in four years with the potential to win a championship. “This team has played well,” Boeheim said. “I’m happy at this stage. We have a really good group, really easy group to coach. I don’t think I’ve raised my voice more than a couple, three or four times the whole year.” But with every occasional comment about playing golf — see the postgame press conference after a loss to Georgetown in the regularseason finale — come occasional questions about his future. The coach who never thought he would make it to age 38 in the profession has made it to 68, and he has won 27 or more games for each of the past five seasons. He joked Thursday about being offered a contract by Rochester decades ago, a move he said would have helped his golf game with the legendary Oak Hill Country Club right down the street. At that point, he wanted to last five years as a coach. Then 10. Now, maybe 40. “Every once in a while I say, ‘(Retirement) is not that far away,’ and people get excited again,” Boeheim said. “People really used to get excited when I said that because we didn’t go to the Final Four that year and they didn’t want me back. But now the majority still probably wants me back next year — right now. “After Saturday, who knows.”

nate shron | staff photographer JIM BOEHEIM, now in his 37th year as Syracuse’s head coach, shrugged off speculation that he was retiring after this season. The head coach is constantly grilled by reporters, but he has consistently maintained that his retirement isn’t as close as some suggest.

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Orangemen complete championship run with victory over Kansas

Last time Syracuse reached the Final Four it became the 2003 national champion after defeating Texas in the Final Four and Kansas in the title game in New Orleans. Forward Carmelo Anthony earned Most Outstanding Player honors for the NCAA Tournament before he was drafted third overall in the NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. It was the first NCAA championship for SU’s storied program and its legendary head coach Jim Boeheim. Ten years later, the Orange is back in the Final Four — this time in Atlanta. This article originally appeared in The Daily Orange on April 8, 2003.

By Pete Iorizzo



EW ORLEANS – When it finally happened, there were no shouts of jubilation or tears of joy. In fact, Jim Boeheim barely cracked a smile. Seconds after winning his first national championship — and the first in Syracuse men’s basketball history — Boeheim simply walked over to Kansas coach Roy Williams and said congratulations. 2003 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS “Well, I don’t feel any smarter yet,” said Boeheim, SU’s 27-year head coach. “Maybe tomorrow. As I said before the tournament, I want to win this thing. I’m tremendously happy.” Meanwhile, 15 feet away, the Orangemen danced and celebrated, having just beaten Kansas, 81-78, in front of 54,524 at the Louisiana Superdome. They rejoiced partly out of relief after nearly blowing a 12-point second-half lead. With 24 seconds left, SU guard Kueth Duany made one of two free throws to give Syracuse an 81-78 lead. Kansas’ Kirk Hinrich missed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left, but the Jayhawks quickly fouled Hakim Warrick, who missed both free throws. Then Warrick made what will no doubt become the most famous block in Syracuse history. He stretched all 6-foot-8 of his lanky frame to knock away Michael Lee’s would-be gametying 3-point try with 1.5 seconds left. “I definitely wanted to go out there and just try to make a play after missing the free throws,” Warrick said. “I saw a guy open in the corner, and I knew they needed to hit a 3, so I just tried to fly at him. I didn’t want it to be another one of those Keith Smart shots.” Kansas had time for one last 3-point try, but Hinrich’s desperate heave from the right corner missed everything and safely nestled into Duany’s hands. Minutes after the game, the Syracuse fans chanted “One More Year!” begging Carmelo Anthony, who won the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, to forgo the NBA Draft. Anthony led Syracuse with 20 points and 10 rebounds last night. “I’ve never had a feeling like this,” Anthony said. “This is the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.” After the on-court celebration, Anthony hugged his mother, Mary, who sat in the front row. “I just told him I love him very much,” Mary said as tears streamed down her face. “I’m so proud of him.” Nick Collison and Keith Langford each had 19 points for Kansas. Williams, the Jayhawks’ 15-year head coach, now has the second most NCAA Tournament wins of any coach without a national championship. “This is one of those times I feel so inadequate as a coach and so inadequate as a person,” Williams said. “There’s nothing I can


daily orange file photos Syracuse piled on to the Louisiana Superdome court after Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick helped guide SU to its first national title.


SEE 2003 PAGE 11

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ring of fire




Students riot on Marshall Street after Syracuse wins 2003 championship

daily orange file photos (TOP) Syracuse fans light shirts and branches on fire on April 7, 2003, after the Orangemen clinched the program’s first and only national championship. (ABOVE) Orange fans crowd Marshall Street in celebration after the men’s basketball team defeated Kansas 81-78. Hakim Warrick’s block in the game’s dying moments preserved the win. (LEFT) Police officers on campus try to contain the national championship celebrations.

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Q&A with ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas By Michael Cohen STAFF WRITER

ATLANTA — The matchup between Syracuse and Michigan, a pair of No. 4 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, is considered by many experts to be a toss up in the days leading up to Saturday’s semifinal. Even Las Vegas, the city with a sports-betting industry designed to find the smallest discrepancies between two opponents, has Michigan as just a two-point favorite. Will Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone defense frustrate yet another opponent? Will Trey Burke, the Associated Press Player of the Year, continue to dominate games as he has all season? Those are just some of the questions that will be answered Saturday afternoon. But in the meantime, The Daily Orange caught up with ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas to analyze the matchup. Here’s what Bilas had to say:

The Daily Orange: A lot of Michigan’s play is predicated on Trey Burke being able to penetrate and pass to teammates. Everyone wants to know if Burke can penetrate Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. From what you’ve seen, what are your thoughts on that? Jay Bilas: I think he can, but I think it’s going to be really difficult. I think Syracuse has been more active in the zone than earlier in the year. In the past seven or eight games, they’ve been really, really active. I think it’s been difficult for opposing guards to get into the lane because of how active Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche have been up top. I tend to think that the best opportunity Burke is going to have is in transition. If Syracuse turns it over or they take a bad shot and allow Michigan to get a run-out, then Burke can take advantage of getting to the rim or finding some of the opportunistic 3-point shooters that they have. I think their 3-point shooting in transition can be much more dangerous because those are going to be open, step-in looks, which are better shots than they would get against the half-court zone.

The D.O.: One of the things Jim Boeheim has always said is he can’t stop teams from shooting, but he can dictate who takes the shot and where they take the shots, for the most part. So if you’re Jim Boeheim, who do you want taking the 3-point shots for Michigan? J.B.: You would rather have guys like Glenn Robinson III taking them than Stauskas. You want Stauskas to be made to put the ball on the floor. I think against Michigan you’re not going to be able to stop good 3-point shooters from taking shots. But you can try to limit the amount of open looks that their best 3-point shooters take. One of the things that Michigan can get caught up in is sometimes they can take too many 3s. That’s a concern against the zone is that they jack up too many 3s. That will be advantage Syracuse if they wind up doing that.

The D.O.: Michael Carter-Williams has been great partly because of his length and partly because of his skill. One of the things his length allows him to do is get into the lane, and it seems like once he gets two feet in the lane he becomes a huge problem for defenders. How do you see Michigan trying to stop him defensively? J.B.: Michigan can put a couple of guys on him. They can put Trey Burke on him, and Burke is a good defender. One of the things when you play against a smaller player is you think about being able to see over him. But the difficulty of playing against a smaller player is that, that player can get under you. Burke can cause some problems there, force Carter-Williams to turn his back. Burke can be disruptive. They can also put Tim Hardaway Jr. on him, that’s possible. I think that would be an advantage for Michael Carter-Williams if he’s guarded by Hardaway. Hardaway is a really good player, and I think what you want to do is try to take away Carter-Williams’ ability to penetrate and make him a perimeter jump shooter. If you make him a perimeter jump shooter, he is less likely to hurt you.

The D.O.: One of the things that have plagued Syracuse is offensive rebounding. Last year, we saw Notre Dame dominate with Jack Cooley inside, and Andre Drummond had two really good games against Fab Melo. Can Mitch McGary crash the offensive boards and play that role of garbage man inside? J.B.: Absolutely. I think that’s a possibility. Sometimes that zone will give up some second shots, but that’s a question of where those shots come from. If it’s a 3-point miss, I think McGary is less likely to be as big of a factor on the glass because those longer shots are usually longer rebounds. The better the quality of the shot, the more opportunity Michigan is going to have for an offensive rebound.

The D.O.: Is this Syracuse team really peaking at the right team, or is this group really good at “turning it on” when it matters in the postseason? J.B.: That’s a good question. It’s hard to determine when and where a team gets hot and where it comes from. Even during the period where Syracuse was really struggling toward the end of the season, they were still working in practice and working hard to get better. I don’t think it’s necessarily a cruise control thing and then a flip-the-switch deal. But to me, the game was Seton Hall in the Big East tournament. When they played Seton Hall, they got down early as Seton Hall hit some 3s. When they wound up winning that game, with as well as they played on the offensive end, that really gave them a shot in the arm and some much-needed confidence. Their offensive improvement really helped their defense.


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Robinson III, Burke in for test against SU’s lengthy zone By Chris Iseman SPORTS EDITOR

ATLANTA — Glenn Robinson III is key to Michigan’s offense for what the Wolverines call the “Gretzky pass,” or the pass that leads to the assist. He’s active at both ends of the floor, an ideal complement to the Wolverines’ other star, Trey Burke. They’ve made up a dominant duo for Michigan, guiding the Wolverines to a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the Final Four. But Syracuse’s lengthy defense presents a challenge Robinson and Burke haven’t seen so far. “Playing against Syracuse, how they’re play-

ing right now,” head coach John Beilein said, “we need all our players to have a great game.” Michigan is going to need Robinson and Burke, who won the Associated Press Player of the Year award on Thursday, to continue their high level of production on Saturday against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament semifinals at 8:49 p.m. in the Georgia Dome. Burke is averaging an astounding 18.8 points per game and is shooting 46.4 percent from the field. Robinson, meanwhile, is averaging 11 points per game and is shooting 56.6 percent from the field. But they haven’t done that against a zone like Syracuse’s, which has tormented opponents throughout the tournament. The zone is forcing

the Wolverines to essentially scrap a game plan they’ve thrived on all season long. Beilein said Thursday that Michigan’s offense was able to isolate Burke throughout the season, forcing defenses to have to find and keep up with him. That won’t work against the zone. Instead Beilein said the goal will be quicker passes — no player should hold the ball for too long. But if that player is Burke, the Wolverines could be in for a tough game. “When you have a player like Trey Burke, you get the ball in his hands as often as you can,” Beilein said. “If zone negates that, we’ll just have to try to do our best.” Beilein also said Michigan hasn’t seen too

much zone this season, especially not for a full 40 minutes. That’s been a common theme for Syracuse’s opponents this whole tournament, and none of them have been able to crack the zone effectively. Burke and Robinson have to be their usual dominant selves on Saturday for the Wolverines to have a legitimate shot at beating Syracuse, even if it means having to adjust to a new game plan. “I think all of our guys have equal key pieces in this game, whether it’s shooting, whether it’s finding the next man,” Beilein said. “… Those things which are usually very similar to most winning teams.” ­


March 21 vs. No. 13-seeded South Dakota State 6 points, 0 rebounds, 7 assists, 0 steals, 2 blocks and 2 turnovers FGs 2-of -2 3-pt shooting 0-of-5 FTs 2-of-2 FGs (right) 0-of-4 FGs (left) 1-of-4 Jumpers middle 0-of-1 In the paint 1-of-3 Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56

March 23 vs. No. 5-seeded Virginia Commonwealth 18 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks and 7 turnovers FGs 6-of-14 3-pt shooting 2-of-6 FTs 4-of-4 FGs (right) 1-of-2 FGs (left) 3-of-6 Jumpers middle 1-of-2 In the paint 1-of-3

March 29 vs. No. 1-seeded Kansas

23 points, 2 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 4 turnovers FGs 9-of-21 3-pt shooting 4-of-11 FTs 1-of-1 FGs (right) 3-of-5 FGs (left) 2-of-7 Jumpers middle 1-of-3 In the paint 3-of-6 Michigan 87, Kansas 85 OT

March 31 vs. No. 3-seeded Florida

15 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks and 1 turnover FGs 5-of-16 3-pt shooting 1-of-5 FTs 4-of-4 FGs (right) 1-of-3 FGs (left) 1-of-3 Jumpers middle 0-of-1 In the paint 3-of-8 Michigan 79, Florida 59

Michigan 78, Virginia Commonwealth 53


FTs: 11 of 11

FGs (left): 7 of 20

JUMPERS (middle): 2 of 7

FGs (right): 5 of 14

IN THE PAINT: 8 of 20

courtesy of adam glanzman | the michigan daily TREY BURKE, the AP National Player of the Year, averages almost 19 points per game this year. He’ll square off against Syracuse’s athletic zone defense on Saturday night.

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6-4 210 SR. 13.7 PPG 3.5 APG



6-0 190 SO. 18.8 PPG 6.8 APG Carter-Williams has been on a tear throughout the NCAA Tournament and his length has created matchup issues for smaller guards, but Burke is an entirely different player and earned Associated Press Player of the Year honors because of it.

Syracuse 67, Michigan 63

MICHAEL COHEN Syracuse 77, Michigan 68

Only one step left.

6-8 215 JR. 14.3 7.0 RPG



6-6 190 FR. 11.5 PPG 3.1 RPG

Triche is playing arguably the best basketball of his career in this NCAA Tournament, but Hardaway’s nearly unlimited range could make him an ideal zone-buster for Michigan.

Stauskas, like Southerland, can get hot at any moment and shoot his team into any game – just as he did against Florida. But Southerland is just a bit more consistent and a far superior defender and rebounder.

Syracuse makes a Beilein for the title game.


Trey Burke was dominant on the basketball court from a young age. When he was 4 or 5, the Youth for Positive Image league stopped allowing him to cross midcourt when the other team had possession because he stole the ball too easily. Mitch McGary is also a skilled unicyclist. The Michigan big man, along with a friend, delivered newspapers while riding unicycles when he was younger.

STAT TO KNOW RYNE GERY Syracuse 72, Michigan 66 Final trip.



6-8 215 SR. 13.5 PPG 5.2 RPG

6-6 205 JR. 14.6 PPG 2.3 APG



Michigan is unbeaten this season when Glenn Robinson III scores at least 14 points. The forward was the Wolverines most highly touted recruit in its Class of 2012, but he’s only scored at least 14 points eight times.

6-6 210 FR. 11.0 PPG 5.5 RPG Fair is Syracuse’s most reliable player and has the size advantage over Robinson. But Robinson, who is more of a small forward, is simply explosive with the ability to erupt at any moment with his freakish athleticism.





6-9 242 SO. 5.1 PPG 4.6 RPG

920-313 37th season



6-10 250 FR. 7.4 PPG 6.2 RPG

414-259 21st season

Christmas is a starter only by title – he gets the minutes of a reserve. Meanwhile, McGary has elevated his game to another level during the NCAA Tournament, becoming one of the best big men in the nation.

Beilein has done a good job turning Michigan back into a power, but in nine attempts, he has never beaten Boeheim, his unofficial mentor and a Hall of Fame head coach.

THEY SAID IT "This team carried itself, he was just out front all of the time so many times. Those young guys look at Trey, they see poise, they say patience. It's worked very well. "

John Beilein


“I think our offense has been pretty good. I think it probably needs to be better, but because I think Michigan is the best offensive team we played.” Jim Boeheim


“I think the part of his game that sometimes gets overlooked, he's third in the country or so in steals. That's difficult out of a zone. There's not as many steal opportunities as if you're a pressing team. And so his rebounding has been very important for us.” Jim Boeheim SYRACUSE HEAD COACH ON MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS

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say to change the way my kids feel, nothing that can change the way I feel.” Despite being down 10 with 6:55 remaining, his Jayhawks never quit. They closed the score to 78-73 after a Hinrich dunk with 2:36 left. SU guard Billy Edelin hit a layup for Syracuse, but Hinrich alley-ooped to Collison to keep the Orangemen’s

“I’ve never had a feeling like this. This is the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.” Carmelo Anthony


lead at five. Kansas pulled to within three early in the second half, but poor free-throw shooting held it back in the middle stages. At one point, the Jayhawks missed seven straight from the line. “You try to make a free throw,” Collison said. “You miss, you make, there’s nothing else you can do.” A Bourbon Street-style celebration could have broken out well before midnight on Marshall Street. The Orangemen led, 53-42, at halftime, and their lead ballooned to 18 at one point during the first half behind six 3-pointers and 18 points from

Gerry McNamara. During a 17-5 SU run, McNamara hit backto-back 3-pointers, putting Syracuse ahead, 23-14, early. McNamara shot 6 of 8 from behind the arc in the first half and 6 of 10 overall. “I just got off early,” McNamara said. “I knew that if we were going to be successful I’d have to make my shots. I got the looks in the first half and the guys carried us in the second half.” The onslaught continued when the Orangemen hit five consecutive shots — including two McNamara 3-pointers — in the half’s last seven minutes. After a Duany 3, SU led, 47-29. Kansas never established its up-tempo game because of Syracuse’s first-half 56-percent shooting, including 77 percent from 3-point range. Though the Jayhawks seemed to gain momentum toward halftime, they blew two opportunities to get back in the game. With Kansas down 12, guard Keith Langford made a dazzling cut from the right corner and hit a layup. That sent the Kansas fans into hysterics, but those feelings quickly subsided when McNamara answered with a 3-pointer. After Syracuse missed two consecutive shots, Anthony threw a streaking Langford to the ground on his layup try. The referees whistled Anthony for an intentional foul, but Langford missed the second of two free throws. Then, on the ensuing possession, Hinrich missed a layup, and the Jayhawks lost the ball out of bounds. Anthony drilled a 3-pointer on the other end, giving the Orangemen a 53-40 lead. After the game, the Orangemen, who pulled out a close one yet again, reflected on the win. Some were lost for words. “Talk to me in two hours when it hits me,” SU center Craig Forth said. “I’ll have to sit down. I’m sure every person in the nation will try to describe this. I don’t think you can.”

COORS LIGHT BRACKET CHALLENGE Top 10 Bracket Leaderboard 1. Will Leonard (70 pts) 2. Charlotte Stockdale (67 pts) 3. Rebecca Toback (67 pts) 4. Jake Brower (66 pts)

5. Matt OʼBrian (65 pts) 6. Vasiliy Pechenvy (65 pts) 7. Will Leonard #2 (65 pts) 8. Kelsey Allen (65 pts) 9. Jeremy Conn (65 pts) 10. Steven Eilers (64 pts) Top Three Places: great prizes from Wings Over Syracuse, Cantina Laredo, Zoom Tan, and Pole Position Raceway!

Who will be the winner? Who will own bragging rights throughout the entire campus? Check your bracket daily at!

Eat Wings Win $500

3rd Annual Daily Orange Wing Eating Contest April 26th 3pm, 744 Ostrom Ave.

To apply you must prove yourself as worthy. Submit a 75 word or less statement to before 5pm on Sunday, April 14.

Winner receives $500 COLD, HARD CASH!


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on the


A position-byposition look at SyracuseMichigan –Compiled by Trevor Hass, Asst. Copy Editor


Baye Moussa Keita, Jerami Grant and Trevor Cooney come off the bench for Syracuse. Cooney has scored in just one of the Orange’s last five games – a seven-point performance against Montana. But he’s capable of lighting it up from downtown. Grant’s best game of the season came against his brother Jerian and Notre Dame on Feb. 4. He hasn’t scored in double figures since then, but he can produce inside when called upon. Scrappy point guard Spike Albrecht gets minutes off the bench for the Wolverines, and Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan split time at forward. Both teams rely heavily on their starters, but Keita, who plays starters’ minutes, gives Syracuse the slight edge off the bench.

Advantage: Syracuse



Syracuse’s deep specialist James Southerland hit 83 3s on the season while shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the arc. Against Michigan, though, Southerland won’t only be counted on to shoot. He’ll play a key role in Syracuse’s matchup zone and will have the daunting task of closing out on Nik Stauskas, one of the premier shooters in the country. Stauskas, a Canadian sniper who’s shooting 45 percent from 3 and 85 percent at the line, doesn’t miss often when he has space. Southerland and Stauskas are two of the smoothest shooters in the game. Either one could dominate on Saturday, but Southerland gets the slight edge for his rebounding and defense.


Michael Carter-Williams has been unstoppable of late, averaging 18 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4.5 steals over Syracuse’s last two games. The 6-foot-6 point guard is a nightmare matchup for opposing teams. He’s one of the best distributors in the country and is tough to contain when he doesn’t settle for jump shots. But Michigan has an electrifying point guard of its own in Trey Burke. Projected by many as a top-10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Burke is lightning quick, drains 3s – including his game-changer against Kansas – and finishes at the rim. The point guard matchup is a dandy.

Advantage: Michigan


Brandon Triche has been streaky all season. He has scored 20-plus points seven times, but he has also scored in single figures 10 times. Triche is certainly capable of lighting it up from downtown, but he’s shooting just 29 percent from beyond the arc on the season. His leadership will be key on Saturday. Tim Hardaway Jr. will likely guard Triche. Hardaway, the son of five-time NBA all-star Tim Hardaway, may pose problems for Triche. Both players thrive in big games but are inconsistent. Triche is a better defender and smarter player.

Advantage: Syracuse

Advantage: Syracuse



Rakeem Christmas starts for Syracuse, but Baye Moussa Keita gets the bulk of the minutes for the Orange. Keita has played the best basketball of his career lately. Everything has started to click for the 6-foot-10 Senegal-born Keita, who sputtered through most of the season. He carried Syracuse in the Big East tournament semifinals against Georgetown and in the third round of the NCAA Tournament against California. But Keita will be up against Mitch McGary, one of the best centers in college basketball. McGary didn’t start for Michigan at the beginning of the season and played minimal minutes. But he has been one of the best players in the tournament so far, scoring 17.5 points per game.

Advantage: Michigan

C.J. Fair has been Syracuse’s rock all season. Guards Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche have had peaks and valleys, but Fair has been consistent throughout. Fair scored in double digits in 27 of Syracuse’s last 29 games. He relies on his mid-range jumper and attacking the basket. Glenn Robinson III, a former fivestar recruit, has shown flashes of greatness so far in the NCAA Tournament after a topsy-turvy regular season, averaging 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He has the shooting and driving ability to bust Syracuse’s zone, but he may not have the experience to do so.

Advantage: Syracuse

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Ware’s horrific leg injury motivates Louisville teammates By Chris Iseman SPORTS EDITOR

ATLANTA – The fright eventually turned to relief, and soon after, turned to pride. Rick Pitino watched Kevin Ware crash to the court as Ware’s leg broke in a horrifying way. After Louisville shook the shock of witnessing the injury, the Cardinals put together a dominant performance to bury Duke in the second half to advance to the Final Four. Ever since, it has been a constant outpouring of support for their injured teammate. One that Pitino gushed about on Thursday. “I don’t think I could be any prouder of young men. The outward emotion of love that they showed each other was, for me, just a great thing as a basketball coach to witness,” Pitino said. “Now we are refocused.” It’s a scary thought for the other three teams here at the Final Four. Louisville’s already an explosive team with a stifling defense. Now the Cardinals are even more driven to take the championship trophy home to Louisville after Ware’s injury, which required immediate surgery and will leave Ware with a long, arduous road back to the court.

Ware was released from the hospital Tuesday and traveled with the team to Atlanta. Louisville plays Wichita State on Saturday at 6:09

“So now we have to play a walkon. He’s got to do the best job he can do.” Rick Pitino

on Louisville. Without him, the Cardinals are down a guard off the bench. It disrupts a rotation Pitino called “great,” one that helped Louisville earn a No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. With the Cardinals’ fast-paced style and fullcourt press, having extra bodies to turn to can be key. Louisville’s bench is now so depleted that it will have to turn to a non-scholarship player as a reserve. “Now we can’t change our style of play because we won’t win or have a chance of winning, so now we have to play a walk-on,” Pitino said. “He’s got to do the best job he can do.” Pitino said Thursday that the team



learned a lot about Ware this week. The way he fought through the injury and urged his teammates to win the game for him gave this tournament extra meaning for Louisville. The injury, which has captured the country’s attention beyond college basketball, could make the Cardinals a more dangerous team. Said Pitino: “I think it’s going to be a great motivator for us.” @chris_iseman


p.m., and Ware will be on the bench to support the Cardinals. Meanwhile, Louisville will be doing everything it can to win the game and the championship for Ware. “It’s just incredible how adversity brings out the best in people,” Pitino said. “It certainly brought out the best in Kevin, as well as his teammates.” But Ware’s loss still has a significant effect

nate shron | staff photographer RICK PITINO (above) and his Louisville Cardinals believe the devastating leg injury suffered by Kevin Ware (left) on Sunday will help inspire the team to a national title.

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on the



BENCH A position-byFred VanVleet is the Shockers’ most consistent producer off the He has averaged 8.25 points per game in the tournament position look at the bench. while shooting 44 percent from downtown. VanVleet can split the drive to the basket and pull up from outside. Demetric WilLouisville-Wichita defense, liams and Ehimen Orukpe also see minimal minutes off the bench for Wichita State. Louisville’s Luke Hancock drains 3-pointers, Montrezl Harrell is a monster on the boards and Stephan Van Treese plays State game solid defense for the Cardinals. Even with Kevin Ware’s horrific leg injury on Sunday, Louisville still holds the considerable advantage.

Advantage: Louisville

–Compiled by Jesse Dougherty, staff writer,

When Wichita State has needed a big play, Ron Baker has delivered. Baker has made 6 of his 10 3-point attempts in the Shockers’ last three games and shot a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line against Ohio State in the Elite Eight. He is the third guard in the Shockers’ small lineup and could have trouble with a bigger matchup. Wayne Blackshear is Louisville’s 6-foot-5 wing who Baker could be responsible for covering. A solid defensive player, Blackshear has been an efficient scorer for the Cardinals in the tournament, shooting 50 percent from the field on 18 shots. Though he occasionally gets lost in Louisville’s transition, he becomes a viable outside option in the half court. While Baker is more likely to deliver down the stretch, Blackshear’s steady output outweighs Baker’s clutch factor.

Malcolm Armstead has been Wichita State’s engine throughout its Cinderella run. With the rare ability to drive and finish with both hands, the undersized Armstead has given the Shockers a boost on both ends of the floor. In WSU’s Elite Eight win over Ohio State, Armstead paced the team with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. But if there’s any player who can neutralize a hot guard, it’s Louisville’s Peyton Siva. The point guard is the catalyst of Louisville’s up-tempo offense, creating fast-break opportunities with his play on the defensive end. He helped hold Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon to just 3 points on 1-of-10 shooting in the Cardinals’ win over Duke in the Elite Eight. Though Siva is known for distributing to his teammates, he chipped in 16 points against Blue Devils. On this stage, Siva is more complete and experienced.



Advantage: Louisville

Advantage: Louisville

Tekele Cotton is an adequate ball handler, and his shooting ability makes him a reliable wing target for the Shockers. He is also an integral part of Wichita State’s man-to-man defense that’s held opponents to a 34.3 field-goal percentage in four tournament games. Opposing Cotton will be UofL scoring machine Russ Smith. Since the start of the Big East tournament, Smith has been virtually unstoppable. In four NCAA Tournament games, the guard is averaging 26 points per contest while shooting 54 percent from the field, including a 23-point performance against Duke in the Elite Eight. The Shockers close out well against outside threats, but Smith has shown the ability to score in all kinds of ways. At this point in the tournament, there isn’t a shooting guard that can match the play of Louisville’s go-to option.

Advantage: Louisville


Wichita State’s Carl Hall has a dangerous blend of tenacity and skill. He scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the Shockers’ Sweet 16 win over La Salle, and he averages three blocks per game in the tournament. Though Hall has exploited defenses with his inside touch, his biggest strength is protecting the rim on the other end of the floor. Gorgui Dieng is similarly complete, averaging 11 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in four tournament games. Dieng has also been an incredibly efficient scorer, making 20 of his 24 attempts from the field in the tourney, good for 83 percent. This will be a gritty contest, but Dieng’s size advantage and ability to stretch the floor gives him a slight edge over Hall.

Advantage: Louisville


With his length, skill and shooting touch, Cleanthony Early poses the greatest threat to Louisville. A 6-foot-8 forward, Early knocked down four 3s against Gonzaga in the third round and two more against Ohio State in the Elite Eight. He is also a consistent rebounder, with seven rebounds each tournament game, and a capable shot blocker. Chane Behanan excels in transition and is extremely reliable around the rim. His hustle on the defensive end creates turnovers that spur Louisville’s fast break. At 6 feet 6 inches, he will need to rely on his bulk and physicality to successfully guard either member of the Shockers’ front court. But that likely won’t be enough to slow Early down.

Advantage: Wichita State

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”Pick a score.”



Redbirds roll.






PEYTON SIVA 6-0 185 Sr.



RUSS SMITH 6-0 165 Jr.

6-0 205 Sr.



How Armstead manages the game for Wichita State will be crucial if the Shockers want to contend with Louisville. Armstead will need to keep up with UofL’s floor general and limit turnovers.

Cotton has been shooting efficiently for Wichita State in the Tournament, but his biggest responsibility will be defending Smith.





FREE THROWS In addition to garnering the Associated Press All-American honorable mention, Louisville point guard Peyton Siva was also named an Academic All-American and a Senior All-American.

6-3 218 Fr

6-5 230 So. Blackshear is likely to see an increase in playing time after Kevin Ware suffered his horrific leg injury against Duke. Baker missed the three field goals he attempted against Ohio State.

STAT TO KNOW Louisville power forward Chane Behanan hasn’t scored in double figures since a 10-point outing against DePaul on Feb. 27.



Win for Ware.


ore. Kansas anym We’re not in


Early is the Shockers’ biggest threat offensively and averages 14.3 points per game in the tournament. Behanan will have his hands full with a power forward who has a 2-inch advantage on him.



6-11 245 Jr

6-8 238 Sr

As one of the premier shot-blockers in the country, Dieng is coming off a double-double against Duke. The big man shouldn’t have many problems against Wichita State’s relatively small starting lineup.

YES? NO? www.


333-152 15 seasons

Marshall’s done an excellent job leading No. 9 seed Wichita State on a Cinderella run to the Final Four, but Pitino has the experience, the national title pedigree and the full-court press that made Louisville the No. 1 overall seed.



Points per game Louisville guard Russ Smith is averaging this postseason, the most of any player still standing in the NCAA Tournament.

CHECK OUT how the cover was made visit

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Final Four coaches reflect on Rice tapes, defend profession By Michael Cohen STAFF WRITER

ATLANTA — The video shocked the entire country and left mouths agape both inside and out of the basketball community. Here was Mike Rice, then the head coach at Rutgers, hurling basketballs at the feet, head and midsection of his players in practice. Here was Mike Rice, a coach known for his fiery passion, defying all previous impressions of his persona by hurling homophobic slurs at his players. Here was Mike Rice shoving, grabbing and kicking his players in a shockingly abusive display. Rice was relieved of his duties as Rutgers head coach Wednesday, but the jarring nature of the practice video, which was obtained and aired by ESPN, continued to ripple through the sport a day later. All four head coaches of the teams participating in this weekend’s Final Four were questioned about the video during the media session on Thursday, and all


Rutgers head coach Mike Rice was fired Wednesday after ESPN released video of him pushing his players and chucking basketballs at them during drills. Here’s a look at his head coaching record: YEAR


2007-08 Robert Morris 2008-09 Robert Morris 2009-10 Robert Morris 2010-11 Rutgers 2011-12 Rutgers 2012-13 Rutgers


26-8 24-11 23-12 15-17 14-18 15-16

four defended their profession by calling Rice’s behavior an isolated incident. “I absolutely do not believe there’s that coaching style going on. I do not,” said Syracuse head coach Boeheim. “I’ll go out where you probably shouldn’t go: I don’t think there’s a coach in the country that does that.” Boeheim’s sentiment was repeated through the press conferences Thursday in the Georgia Dome, as fellow coaches Rick Pitino, John Beilein and Gregg Marshall all opined on the situation. Boeheim, who admitted to using profanity in practice when getting on his players, said he could not watch the full video. Rice’s aggression, rage and violence were too much. “I watched 10 seconds of the video,” Boeheim said. “I couldn’t watch it, honestly. I couldn’t watch it anymore.” Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games in December for an unspecified violation of athletic department policy. It was not until ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” an investigative journalism program, obtained practice footage that the severity of Rice’s violation became clear. Beilein, the head coach at Michigan, said the entire coaching community is disappointed with how the incident transpired. There are certain lines you cannot cross with student-athletes, he said, and Rice crossed several of them. “Those incidents are uncalled for,” Beilein said, “and I’m sure that Mike regrets it.” Whether the video of Rice’s behavior affects the coaching profession as a whole is yet to be seen, but Boeheim feels that it will “give you pause about what you’re doing.”

Boeheim admitted to having thrown basketballs out of frustration during his own practices. The target, though, was always the bleachers. Never his players. He lightened the mood in typical Boeheim fashion with a quip about hurting himself while taking out his frustration in that particular manner, but the severity of the situation was evident throughout his comments. His words ranged from passionate — “I literally could not watch that video” — to insightful — “I think the tragedy is his team would have played exactly the same or better if he hadn’t done any of that” — and reflected his genuine bewilderment at the situation. Pitino, whose Louisville team is the No. 1-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, said he feels badly for Rice and his family, who will have to endure the “embarrassment” that comes along with the video. But like his colleagues, Pitino referred to the situation as an isolated incident. As a head coach in the NBA, Pitino said he would attend one college practice in each of the cities his team traveled to. Not once did he see such behavior

from a head coach. “I’ve seen some coaches that may use some rough language,” Pitino said. “But that just doesn’t go on. It’s just an aberration that just doesn’t go on in college basketball.” Similar to Rice, Marshall is known for his passion and intensity along the Wichita State sideline. His halftime speech against Ohio State stressed that his team “play angry” to show it never should have been overlooked coming out of the Missouri Valley Conference. The result was 70-66 victory and a trip to the Final Four. On Thursday, Marshall said he feels badly for both Rice and the players. Intensity was replaced with insanity, and Marshall was the fourth coach in a row to acknowledge a line was crossed. “I feel really bad for those young men,” Marshall said. “I hope it didn’t impact any of them negatively to the point where they weren’t able to be good basketball players and finish their careers. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people that will suffer now, including Rutgers University and the state of New Jersey.”

stacie fanelli | staff photographer MIKE RICE was fired by Rutgers on Wednesday after video tapes revealed the head coach was excessively physical with his players and threw basketballs at them in anger.

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JUST PEACHY Atlanta’s diverse community, rich history sets stage for Final Four By Maddy Berner COPY CHIEF


TLANTA — For a city brimming with rich history, Atlanta is pretty young. It’s rural and metropolitan, slowerpaced but abundant in things to do. Once considered the heart of the civil rights movement, Atlanta is now a hub for a variety of ethnicities. “It doesn’t have an identity,” said resident Clarence Hutchinson, 33. “I don’t think you can just pinpoint Atlanta and be like, this is just what it is, because it’s so many things.” This weekend, Atlanta hosts the 75th Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. For the Syracuse basketball program, this is its first Final Four appearance in 10 years, and some fans’ first time ever in such a city. But Atlanta is no stranger to large-scale events. It has hosted the Final Four before – in 1977, 2002 and 2007 — and was home to the 1996 Olympics and two Super Bowls. It’s also home to more than 420,000 people. Home to a man who offered a stranger his umbrella during a rainy day. Home to the owner of the second oldest barbershop in the city. And home to a young woman who just couldn’t stay away from her hometown.

“Anybody can come here and get along. It’s very diverse. You can pretty much come here and do your thing.” David Farrow


Hutchinson is the manager of Vintage Barbershop in Atlanta. Originally from Chicago, he’s used to the expansive spread of Atlanta but appreciates the nice medium of living in a small city that’s just big enough. “Atlanta is a little bit more slowed down, but not so slowed down to where it feels like old country,” he said. “I guess if anything, it’d be that everybody’s not in a big hurry.” Another characteristic Hutchinson used to describe Atlanta was shared by others: The city is a melting pot of people, neighborhoods and experiences. Rachel Peavy was born and raised in Atlanta and still lives there today. An internship in Los Angeles and a job in New York City couldn’t keep her away from her hometown. She now works as the public relations manager for the Atlanta Conven-

tion and Visitors Bureau. “People are just nice here,” she said. “I definitely think it’s such a friendly city. … There are people who are local … but there are a lot of transplants in Atlanta, too, so I guess it’s contagious because I feel like everybody here is nice, regardless of where they came from.” Atlanta is divided into a slew of different neighborhoods, each with its own identity. Buckhead is more upscale. Little Five Points is more bohemian. Edgewood has a great bar scene — Peavy said there is a pizzeria with a speakeasy hidden behind it. But the city dealt with its fair share of racial injustice before becoming so diverse. Atlanta was once an important part of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home, the church in which he preached and his tombstone are located in the east part of town. April 4 marked the 45th anniversary of his assassination. In 1999, David Farrow, 60, left New York to practice his saxophone on the streets of Atlanta. For the last year, he has been practicing his craft on Broad Street, an area scattered with ethnic eateries. Every weekday at lunchtime, he entertains passers-by with his music. He has been in newspapers, on television and in art galleries. Atlanta lets him do it all. “Anybody can come here and get along. It’s very diverse. You can pretty much come here and do your thing,” he said. “I love it because this is where I do.” Atlanta is very open-minded. It’s not a place where you’re going to come and have to worry about trying new things and new ideas.” But as an influx of tourists descends upon Atlanta for this year’s Final Four, Farrow is only concerned with one thing. He laughs as he points to his nearly empty saxophone case — big events mean more tips. For Peavy, having the Final Four in Atlanta is a much bigger deal. Atlanta’s previous experience with large-scale events proves the city’s ability to host them and host them well, she said. “We like it when people leave feeling like they’ve met great people and had a really pleasant experience,” she said, “and we hope that they see us and have the desire to come back and experience the city again,” That desire will not be lost on those who visit Atlanta for the Final Four. Whether young or old, nonchalant or enthusiastic, basketball fans will enjoy Atlanta’s multifaceted personality. After all, when asked what he liked the most about Atlanta, Farrow could only respond with three words. “All of it.”

lauren murphy | staff photographer Atlanta is one of the most bustling cities in America and is home to this year’s Final Four, the 75th of all time. Atlanta has hosted two Super Bowls and this is its fourth Final Four. The unique city is also the birthplace and burial site of Martin Luther King Jr. @mjberner

lauren murphy | staff photographer Vintage barbershop is the second oldest barbershop in the city of Atlanta, a city with more than 420,000 residents. Clarence Hutchinson grew up in Chicago but now runs Vintage Barbershop in Atlanta because of the city’s size and the shop’s accessibility.


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NCAA members, Atlanta mayor announce start of Final Four By Dylan Segelbaum ASST. COPY EDITOR

photos by luke rafferty | asst. photo editor KASIM REED speaks at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on Thursday afternoon. Andrew Young, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, also spoke.

ATLANTA — The press conference announcing the final stretch of an event called March Madness was much more low key than its name would suggest. High-ranking members of the NCAA, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Ambassador for the United Nations Andrew Young and others who helped bring the Final Four to Atlanta spoke to a crowd of about 50 people, most of who were with the media, at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Georgia World Congress Center. Syracuse plays Michigan on Saturday at 8:49 p.m. in the Georgia Dome for a chance to advance to the national championship. “We’re going to have some of the best college basketball in the United States of America over the next few days,” Reed said. “I couldn’t be more excited.” People who spoke at the press conference discussed what the event means to the city in the short and long term, as well as charitable efforts related to the Final Four. After thanking the NCAA and partners such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Coca-Cola Co., Reed talked about the economic effects of the Final Four for the city. Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and John Rutledge, vice president of market unit sales operations for Coca-Cola, addressed the crowd before Reed. Reed said more than 100,000 people are expected to travel to Atlanta for the Final Four games, which is expected to generate $70 million in economic activity for places such as hotels and restaurants. “This tournament brings energy and excitement,” he said. “And you can feel it when you go outside.” Earlier in the press conference, Dan Gavitt, vice president of men’s basketball championships for the NCAA, talked about the significance of holding the 75th NCAA Tournament

in Atlanta. This year also marks the first time the Division-II and Division-III championship games are being played in the same city. Gavitt said 7,500 pairs of shoes and 2,500 food boxes will be distributed to people in need throughout Atlanta with the help of local groups. The NCAA will work with another group to refurbish a local community center, he said. “We, along with the local organizing committee at the NCAA, are excited to leave a lasting legacy here in Atlanta through a number of initiatives,” he said. Young, the U.S. ambassador for the U.N. and a civil rights activist, was the last person to speak at the conference. He spoke freely, not reading from a prepared speech. Young spoke about the role of sports in society, which he said extends “far beyond that which anything anybody could imagine.” He cited the ability for a table tennis match to change foreign policy, and then joked that if the North Koreans played basketball, problems could be solved very quickly. Another example of the effect of sports in society he provided was with the civil rights movement, saying Martin Luther King Jr. “grew up” in the Butler Street YMCA. “Even in our movement, and particularly as we went around the country trying to organize young people for nonviolent activities, we found that the only way you could catch up with them was quite often on a basketball court,” Young said. “And they wouldn’t listen to you until you got in the game with them.” He ended the conference by going back to the positive effects the tournament will have on the city. Said Young: “Here for the next few days, the world will be focused on Atlanta, as much as it has, I think, since the Olympics in 1996.”

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Siracusa’s Pizzeria brings CNY flavor, atmosphere to Atlanta atlanta

chase gaewski | photo editor Siracusa Pizzeria is a booming pizza shop outside of Atlanta. Its owners support SU basketball in many distinct ways.

By Dylan Segelbaum ASST. COPY EDITOR

ATLANTA — ­ In Siracusa’s New York Style Pizzeria, a commemorative Sports Illustrated magazine cover featuring Carmelo Anthony hangs under a television in the corner of the restaurant. A giant NCAA Tournament bracket — with Syracuse’s progress handwritten in marker and highlighted in orange — is next to the door. And New York state, with a dot marking Syracuse on the map, is in the restaurant’s logo instead of the island of Sicily. Everything points to Siracusa’s being somewhere in Syracuse, N.Y. But it’s nearly 1,000 miles away — about 20 minutes northwest of Atlanta in the city of Smyrna, Ga. “When you’re from Syracuse, you truly bleed orange,” Siracusa’s owner and operator Dave Cappotto said. “It’s always home to us — there’s a lot of affection for it.” Cappotto owns Siracusa’s with his lifelong friend Mark Heffron. The two have been friends

since kindergarten, he said, and started working with one another when they were 16 years old at the Wegmans in Syracuse. They bought the pizzeria in 2011, Cappotto said, trying to build a “true little neighborhood place” and bring a bit of community to Atlanta — a city he said is fragmented. The restaurant isn’t completely Orange themed. The pizzeria’s name is spelled the Sicilian way — Cappotto himself is Sicilian — but there are a few more hints the restaurant pays homage to Syracuse than the name and a few decorations. The menu’s deluxe pizza is called “The Cuse,” which Cappotto said some of his customers unknowingly mispronounce, and the restaurant’s wings are called “Syracuse Wings.” Customers are a mix of regulars, some of whom have a Syracuse connection, he said. They’ve either grown up in Syracuse or the surrounding area, or they went to Syracuse University.

But Cappotto didn’t attend SU. He went to St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. He moved out of Syracuse 20 years ago, spending 10 years in South Florida before moving to Atlanta in 2003. Standing next to him in a blue SU sweatshirt, Cappotto’s son, Dylan, 8, boasted about going to his first SU basketball game at six months old. He knows the names of every player on the basketball team. Dylan then said he wants to go to SU, only to be told by his father he needs to win a scholarship. “I’m really good at basketball,” Dylan said. “Not at Syracuse,” Cappotto said. “Maybe you could play for Michigan, but you couldn’t play for a team like Syracuse.” The Orange plays Michigan on Saturday in its national semifinal matchup. Siracusa’s isn’t planning to hold any special events for the Orange’s Final Four matchup, Cappotto said, but he has about 20 friends coming into Atlanta from all over the country. They’re renting a 32-passenger bus and plan

to tailgate before going down to the Georgia Dome in the afternoon, Cappotto said. “We’re hoping we’re going to do something similar Monday, too,” he said, referring to when the NCAA Tournament championship game will be played. “Hopefully, Syracuse will cooperate.” He said he feels good about the Orange’s chances, especially after the 2003 national championship. Cappotto said he couldn’t imagine Syracuse winning it all before, but now feels more confident about the team. In terms of business, he said Siracusa’s might see some increase in interest, at least in the short-term. But that doesn’t seem like what he’s thinking about the most. “If we get some more business out of it — great,” Cappotto said. “We really just want Syracuse to win, and we’re just psyched that it’s here in our town.” @dylan_segelbaum

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by maddy berner | copy chief photos by lauren murphy | staff photographer


Has Syracuse’s advance to the Final Four affected your decision to attend Syracuse University? n Thursday night, Syracuse University hosted an event dedicated to accepted students from the region. Panelists, including current students, professors and alumni, were on hand to answer any and all questions about SU. With the Final Four just days away — and just down the street — admitted students were excited to know their possible future school had a shot at a national championship. For some, it even solidified their decision to attend.

“It has widened my decision. I wanted to go to Syracuse since eighth grade, so if I got in, I was going no matter what. But just because they’re in the Final Four, it makes it way better to say that I’m going to Syracuse because we’re actually doing our thing this year.”

“It hasn’t affected it completely, but it has made the decision a lot better because it’s just another good aspect and reason to go to Syracuse. … I just hope that we better win.”

“I found out around December that I was going, so I was like, ‘Oh, OK, yeah this is my No. 1 school. I love this school, I bleed Orange from now on.’ But seeing that Syracuse was in the Final Four, I Jackie Prager was like, ‘Wow, I’m actually going ATL ANTA to a school that achieves stuff.’”

Demarquez Grissom

Bilal Vaughn



“Yeah, absolutely. When you’re going out on a Friday night and you go to Buffalo Wild Wings and you’re sitting there and you’re watching Syracuse on the TV and you know that you’ve been accepted, you kind of start cheering for them, and it kind of feels like you’re already like a part of that community and a part of what they’re going for. So yeah, it definitely kind of helps solidify what’s been so abstract.”

Brannum Forsythe BIRMINGHAM, AL A.


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Dome away from dome

luke rafferty | asst. photo editor This sign sits outside the Georgia Dome, the site of the 75th Final Four in NCAA history. Louisville, Michigan, Syracuse and Wichita State will compete for the national title.

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In the Paint: Final Four Special Edition  

April 5-6, 2013, In the Paint: Final Four Special Edition