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March 18, 2013

Williams looks ahead to NCAA Tournament

North Carolina's ACC Tournament efforts nearly resulted in a championship but Roy Williams' squad fell just short against the eventual champions, the Miami Hurricanes, on Sunday afternoon.

The tournament run included wins over Florida State and Maryland and showcased how far the young squad has come since the beginning of the season.

Williams took to the microphone during his weekly Monday radio show and spoke about a number of topics including UNC's seeding in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.


"We were a little disappointed. We thought we would be better than that. But the bottom line is, it is what it is. We've got to go play," said Williams.

"All that other junk doesn't make a difference. All their reasons don't make a difference. We're going to go to Kansas City and play as hard as we can. I'm ecstatic for my team. A lot of people had doubts. Even our most diehard fans were worried about what it was going to be at the end (of the season). We won eight of our last 10. I really think our team got better as the year went along and I'm really proud of them for what they've accomplished down the stretch. We're ready to go play."

The ACC didn't yield the results it was looking for as far as getting teams into the NCAA tournament field. Williams touched on his thoughts concerning the selection committee's decision to leave some ACC teams on the outside looking in.

"It was disappointing for our league to get that little respect. It was disappointing for our league to get two two's (seeds) and two eights (seeds)," said Williams. "Everyone has their own opinions. Opinions are like noses, everyone's got one. But for me it was sad and disappointing, no question. I have a hard time understanding the lack of respect but like we say, it doesn't make any difference and you've got to go play. I'm not going to spend two months of my time discussing things that don't make sense."

North Carolina has made tremendous progress this season, especially after inserting P.J. Hairston into the starting five and embracing the smaller line-up for longer lengths in games.

The culmination took place last week in Greensboro and was only done in by the Miami Hurricanes during the last eight minutes of the title game.

Williams talked about that game and his team's performance in the tournament, specifically, Hairston's ability to play through a gruesome hand injury suffered against Florida State.

"It was a great tournament run. We did some good things against Florida State and Maryland. We were tested," said Williams. "P.J. Hairston, I can't begin to describe how please I was with him."

"Not just the way he played but the toughness he showed. He's always been a guy we've worried about how quickly he was going to bounce back. I was in the room when the trainer was sowing his hand back up and I mean there was blood everywhere," said Williams. "But to handle that kind of injury and even in Saturday's game when he was three-for-10 he did some good things for us. I loved his toughness and I think that's going to help him take another step forward throughout his career."

"I had the thought with about four minutes to go (against Miami), I turned around and looked at the crowd and thought 'these people have got to be enjoying this game because this is a big time game'," said Williams. "Unfortunately for us Miami made more plays down the stretch those last four minutes. They made good plays so you have to congratulate them. They have no holes. They can score outside and inside. They can play slow, they can play fast. They defend you like crazy."

UNC draws Villanova for a Friday evening game at 7:20 pm. The Tar Heels, should they get by 'Nova, will most likely see a familiar foe for Williams, the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks.

Villanova has a host of impressive victories this season over Louisville, Georgetown, Marquette and Syracuse.
The task at hand won't be overlooked by
Williams and he talked about how UNC's coaching staff is preparing for their next opponent.

"Jay (Wright) has done a great job. They struggled early, they have 13 losses, and then they had a hot streak where they were beating those teams. I know Jay well. He really does a nice job," said Williams. "I'll get a chance to watch Villanova on tape tonight for the first time. Coach Robinson's got the scout, we've got several tapes, and we've got several copies we're going to watch between now and then."

Williams has a simple suggestion when it comes to enlightening his younger guys about what they need to do to find success in the NCAA Tournament.

"Let's play our tails off and perhaps someone will let us play again."




 

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