Tyler Lydon’s key to Tournament success: ‘Change something every game’

HOUSTON — Syracuse was 20 minutes into its NCAA Tournament run and Tyler Lydon couldn’t take it anymore.Not that the Orange had committed 11 turnovers. Not that Dayton had shot 34.5 percent from the field and still only trailed by two. Those things were weighing on him, but this was more serious.This was about socks.“I was just pissed we had to wear these socks that were given to us,” Lydon said in SU’s NRG Stadium locker room on Satuday. “I wanted to wear the socks I’d worn all season, they were more comfortable. So we get into halftime and I just say, ‘You know what? I’m changing them.’“Then what do you know, we win.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd because Syracuse eventually beat the Flyers by 19, its first step toward the Final Four at NRG this weekend, Lydon’s now fully submerged in this superstition: He has to change something about his equipment every game. First it was the socks in the Round of 64. He changed shoes – the new ones SU received were bothering his feet – at halftime of the Middle Tennessee State game. Against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 he banged his elbow and put a shooting sleeve on his right arm. When Syracuse started slow against Virginia in the Elite 8, Lydon took the sleeve off.He doesn’t remember specific brands, colors or the times that he made some of these changes — who could blame him with how dizzying the Orange’s run has been — but is starting to feel some pressure to keep this up. Trevor Cooney has suggested to Lydon, if only half-jokingly, that he’s now bound to changing some part of his get-up every game. Brad Pike, the Orange’s assistant athletics director for sports medicine, has warned Lydon against strict rituals like this one.Superstitions are abundant this time of the year, especially with just four teams left standing. North Carolina (32-6, 14-4), which Syracuse (23-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) will face at 8:49 p.m. on Saturday, has a few Lydon-like ticks. UNC center Kennedy Meeks will change his shoes after any bad game, and is always chewing exactly three pieces of Big Red gum. Tar Heels guard Joel Berry II always puts his left shoe on before his right. As a team, North Carolina hasn’t changed its locker room set up, in terms of who sits next to who, since it’s Tournament-opening win over Florida Gulf Coast.Lydon has a lot to think about heading into the matchup with North Carolina — like guarding Meeks in the paint, controlling Brice Johnson in the high post and what he can do to alleviate the Tar Heels pressure on the other end. And on top of that, he has to somewhat wonder what equipment change he could make if things go south early on.“I don’t know, you never really know until it happens,” Lydon said. “I mean if we’re playing well I probably won’t change anything. It would be hard to change.”But wouldn’t that mess with the superstition and the four-game winning streak?“Yeah, it would. Damn, this superstition thing, man. I don’t know.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse read more