Below are excerpts from Oklahoma's postgame news confernce Sunday in Albany.
"We knew going in that this was kind of a tough matchup for us. I don't think we played like we're capable of playing, but that's neither here nor there. When you get on this stage and setting you have to play good today.
"I thought their length was a factor. They stunned us early and we came back and took the lead. From there, they got us on our heels. We haven't played from behind much. We play in a tough conference, obviously, but we've controlled most of the teams we've played.
"I thought that their zone was a factor. To play well against a zone you have to have great guard play. Tonight, our guards didn't play as well as they were capable of playing. Give credit to Syracuse. They're a really good team.
"Sometimes in a game like this little factors can be a big thing. I thought they did a great job of feeding off their crowd. I thought their crowd was a great factor for them. Especially when you have a young team playing in that type of environment, it's only a positive. Again, they had a heckuva year. To do what they did in their league and get to the final four, they deserve a lot of credit.
On what is different about the Syracuse zone defense
"Zone is a relevant term. We haven't seen a zone like that. Just because you've seen a zone doesn't mean you're prepared for it. It's like man-to-man. There's a lot of man-to-man defenses. They're not all the same. Watching tape on it we thought there was areas we could attack, but we just didn't do a very good job of it. I think if we played them again, obviously, we'd be a little bit better next time. But that doesn't matter, we weren't very good today."
On what went wrong against the zone
"After the first timeout I thought we were getting better looks through the high post and attacking through the wings. This isn't rocket science. It's not like there's 80,000 ways to attack a zone. If somebody penetrates and kicks it out and the shot goes in, that's a great way of attacking the zone. When the ball's not falling it always makes it look a little worse then it really is.
"One of the things we've always been able to do against other peoples zones was do a great job of offensive rebounding. And that's where Syracuse's length on that back line was good. They're a good rebounding team. Of all the things you're disappointed with, it is getting outrebounded like that. That's uncharacteristic of us."
On not getting back to New Orleans
"It's tough. We came so far and were so close. We were 40 minutes from getting back to your hometown, it hurts. Syracuse did a great job of matching up with us. You've got to give those guys credit for coming out and competing."
On Syracuse's perimeter defense
"Playing against those guys you're playing against 6-7 guys at the top of the zone and 6-7 guys in the post. We've never faced anything like that. They did a great job of extending out to all our shooters. We didn't attack the zone aggressively like we should of. That's something we worked on in practice ,but it just didn't happen in the game."
On if the zone caused them to be out of sync
"It kind of slowed us up. We just weren't aggressive. That's what coach always tells us to do — be aggressive. We watched film last night and we saw how UConn attacked the zone and they were real aggressive. We just weren't aggressive and that kind of got in our way."
On not getting to New Orleans
"It's real tough knowing that we lost this game and knowing that we didn't come out like we were capable of playing. Syracuse did a great job and you have to give them credit. But it hurts."
On being a top seed and having to play Syracuse in Albany, N.Y.
"I thought it was fair. At this point and time it doesn't matter where the game is played at. You've got to be tough enough to overcome things. It doesn't matter where the game is played at, it's about trying to win the game. We didn't win the game."
OU-Syracuse Locker Room Report
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
OU coach Lon Kruger earns career win No. 600OU coach Lon Kruger earned career win No. 600 in Sooners' 81-51 dominating performance against visiting Kansas State.
Sooners IllustratedSaturday at 5:25 PM
OU's Baker Mayfield arrestedOU quarterback Baker Mayfield was arrested early Saturday morning in Arkansas.
Sooners IllustratedSaturday at 8:34 AM
OU making its move for Patrick FieldsIntel returns with an update on high three-star safety Patrick Fields.
Sooners IllustratedFriday at 5:59 AM
Ron Tatum still scratching the surfaceIntel returns with an update on Scout 300 defensive end Ron Tatum.
Sooners IllustratedFriday at 5:56 AM