Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was in a good mood the day after his Orange put a 79-56 beating on Vermont in the first round of the NCAA tournament. There was an element of payback for the loss he suffered against the Catamounts back in 2005, and it was good practice in how to play without injured center Arinze Onuaku.
But there was one topic in his press conference today at HSBC Center in Buffalo that raised a sore point with Boeheim. How does he feel about playing the last game on Friday in this sub-regional, a contest that ended close to midnight, and then turning around to face Gonzaga in a second-round game scheduled for a 12:10 p.m. tipoff on Sunday?
"I don't know what the process is in this," he began. "I was going to try to find out, so, I don't want to be upset about it. I don't see any reason why we would be playing at 12 unless we absolutely had to be. It makes no sense."
The blowout of Vermont allowed Boeheim to give his regulars a little bit of rest near the end of the game, but his top four players all logged 30-33 minutes without Onuaku, and guards Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche played 23 minutes each.
Boeheim indicated Onuaku likely won't play against the Zags, either, which means his top six players must be prepared for a hard battle against a much better opponent on just 36 hours of rest. Asked to clarify the status of Onuaku, who is recovering from a right quad injury, Boeheim said, "He has not practiced. I never play somebody that hasn't practiced."