"Syracuse is awesome," Martin said. "It's not like this is the first time this has happened. They've won Big East games without Fab Melo. That team understands how to play with and without him.
"Fab becomes an unbelievable presence, but it's not like this is their first rodeo without Fab. They've had to go out and win hard games on the road against Big East teams. And Coach [Jim] Boeheim has won a million-27 games, or whatever. I think he knows what he's doing."
Southern Miss coach Jim Eustachy, meanwhile, reflected on his trip back from a humbling ouster from coaching to playing in the tourney.
"They say when you start drinking, you stop maturing," Eustachy said. "So I was basically about an 18-year-old for a long time. And it's been a long, long time since I've had a drink.
"So very much appreciative of the situation. Very much more humbled. This is as special as it gets. You're talking about the Super Bowl. You talk about the World Series. I didn't appreciate it as much, you know? I really didn't. I didn't realize how fortunate I was. God has given me a second chance."
When Syracuse survived a scare from UNC-Asheville, No. 1 seeds in the tournament moved to 109-0 all-time against No. 16 seeds since 1985.
Syracuse's Brandon Triche was asked if the Orange thought about being the first to lose.
"Not at all," he said. "Obviously we have some things we need to work on. I think our effort is going to be a lot better next game. It has to be and I know it's going to be."
Asheville guard J.P. Primm, meanwhile, believed Syracuse should have been the first to go down.
"We're not satisfied," he said. "We came in the game to win. I personally felt like the better team didn't win tonight. That's my opinion."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.