Reggie Miller called Thursday's controversial Syracuse victory over UNC Asheville and wasn't shy in his criticism of, well, everything. The former NBA star ripped on the officials, UNC Asheville's rebounding and Syracuse's defense during the game. All of these were warranted in a way, but didn't sit well with Orange coach Jim Boeheim.
The Syracuse coach, who is known for the 2-3 zone his team plays, took exception with Miller's suggestions that the team go to a man-to-man defense in order to take advantage of its athletic advantage over the undersized Bulldogs team. How Boeheim heard about Miller's criticism, I don't know. But hear about it he did, because the coach opened his Friday press conference by going after Miller.
MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Jim Boeheim. Do you want to make an opening statement?
COACH BOEHEIM: Well, yeah, one. I just wanted to tell Reggie that we do not play man‑to‑man defense, just in case you didn't realize that.
REGGIE MILLER: I do know that.
COACH BOEHEIM: It reminded me, if I never went to an NBA game, you missed your first two jumpers.
REGGIE MILLER: That would never happen (laughter).
COACH BOEHEIM: But if it did, me saying, Why didn't that guy just drive? Oh, because he can't (laughter). I'll take questions.
According to press on the scene, Boeheim delivered his jabs in that trademark caustic tone and didn't make it clear how serious he was.
We'd like to think he was deadly serious. Miller is a know-it-all NBA announcer who is completely superfluous to the booth he joins for the NCAA tournament. It's not his fault as much as the TV executives who force him, Steve Kerr, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on college fans. They spend all year following the professional game and can't be expected to know the NCAA nearly as well, even something as simple as "Syracuse plays zone exclusively."