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March 11, 2013It was a bit of a mixed week for North Carolina.
After picking up a big win at Maryland, UNC dropped its season finale against Duke.
Before the game, UNC Head Coach Roy Williams said that he felt the atmosphere inside the Dean Dome Saturday night was one worth noticing.
"Saturday night when our team went out to warm up I heard the crowd," said Williams.
"I sat down on the bench and said 'this place could be electric tonight.'"
Williams doesn't want UNC's season to get defined by the loss to Duke. Coming into the game the Tar Heels had shown tremendous improvement having won their last six.
Williams spoke about the progress made by UNC over the course of that win streak and touched on how UNC will proceed moving forward into the ACC tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
"Everybody was abandoning ship," said Williams. "But the kids just kept coming to practice, the coaches kept trying to get coach every day and we got a little bit better and a little bit better and had a nice run winning six in a row. I didn't want our team to think that this one game had thrown away what we had done."
"It has been a nice run for our club," said Williams in reference to how his team has come together over the last month and a half.
"We tried to do what we wanted to do down the stretch (against Duke) but the best team won Saturday night and we've got to keep playing and continue to get better."
Williams acknowledged that Duke came out swinging, hitting shot after shot to take a 14-0 opening lead. Williams says his team may have been done in, mentally, during that fast start by the Blue Devils.
"Mentally, the first couple of minutes hurt us during this game," said Williams. "Reggie (Bullock), I think, was shook a little bit about Seth Curry hitting one shot after another and making all of his shots. I think we lost our poise and got shook a little bit. We took 11 shots in the first half that we didn't like."
The All-ACC teams were announced Monday. On it were two Tar Heel players, James Michael McAdoo and Reggie Bullock.
Williams spoke about the selections and gave his thoughts on the voting results.
"I think if you look at the first team every one of those kids played great," said Williams. "With the exception of Erik (Green), their teams did really well. I was happy that Reggie and James Michael were on the second team. We would have liked to have had both of them on the first team but I'm one of those guys that won't get upset because your play determines where you end up."
"It would have been nice to have some more players end up on the first team but when our teams have played really well we've gotten that recognition so I think those things are pretty fair."
Marcus Paige was named to the All-ACC Freshmen team.
In the past, Williams has been accused of not caring whether his team wins or loses the ACC Tournament, something he claims isn't true.
However, he does place added emphasis on winning the regular season title and believes the NCAA should too.
"I have mixed feelings. It's what it is, what I think isn't going to change a lot of things, but you'd like people to think they have a chance going into the conference tournament (to make the NCAA Tournament)," said Williams. "But boy I think the regular season should mean so much more. I really do. I think it's got to mean so much more. I think the automatic qualifier should come to the team that won the regular season and with the (conference) tournament it's a chance for somebody else to get in."
Williams does however remember a time when his feelings on the matter of automatic qualifiers were a little different.
"Where we were in 2010, I was the most excited for the ACC Tournament than I've ever been because I wanted to go in and win the thing so that we could get into the NCAA Tournament," said Williams.
North Carolina finished third in the ACC regular season standings this year and will play their first ACC Tournament game at 9:30 p.m. on Friday night.
Williams spoke about how this might affect his team's performance.
"I'd rather play any time other than 9:30 p.m." said Williams. "But the fact of the matter is that's where the three-seed plays. But I hate late games. I'd rather play at noon every day. You get up and you're ready to go play. But we just won't worry about it. You've got to go play."
Williams had quite a streak going on Senior Night, having never lost one before Saturday. He touched on what that day means to him.
"I think that anyone who puts up with me for a whole year deserves to start that game," said Williams while answering a question about starting UNC senior Frank Tanner. "We had a great run. A few years back Woody (Durham) would start to say something (about the streak) and I would say 'Woody, shut up!' because I didn't want anyone to know that."
Williams claims that in his 34 years as a coach he had never lost a senior day until Saturday's loss to Duke.
"It's an emotional day for me. It's a very difficult day," said Williams. "Because you know you're not going to coach those kids again in the Smith Center or wherever I was coaching, we had a great run but it ended and now we've got to start another streak."