Check out what UNC's Roy Williams had to say during Monday's ACC weekly basketball teleconference. Coming off Saturday's huge win at Florida State, the Tar Heels get a week off from game action before returning to the court Saturday at noon in the Smith Center against Maryland.
COACH WILLIAMS: It's an unusual week for us having a bye this week. In fact it's the first time in three or four years that it was not on a weekend. It's probably coming at a good time with a couple of our guys banged up. We probably need a little break.
Having to wait a week to try to get out and do something again. Having another opportunity would have been tough. But it was a mixed week to say the least. We lose, I guess at Virginia we talked about that last week, and then lose a home game to Miami.
We go down to Florida State to play a very good Florida State team, and yet we played perhaps our most complete game of the year. We made some shots, we made some stops, and rebounded the ball and got lucky. That's always involved. Florida State is really a good team, and it's strange because we had a really gifted team ourselves last year, and we lose by 33. Then this year we're able to sneak in and get a couple more points than they did.
But we'll try to take a couple days off to let some of our guys rest a little bit and some of our injuries get better. Hopefully we'll have Leslie back by then, and then try to get ready for a very good Maryland team who had a tough game last night against Miami.
What do you think the biggest difference was on Saturday? Was it the way you guys attacked the floor and got second chances? Is that something that had been lacking this year?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, we've been rebounding it pretty well, but I thought we needed to emphasize that even more so down there. We did try to emphasize it for one day in practice and one meeting and talked about it quite a bit. But we were wounded. There is no question about it. We were on the edge of the cliff, not the fiscal cliff that everybody worried about a couple weeks ago, but we were on the edge.
I think our guys had a much greater sense of urgency against Florida State than we've had recently. Then P.J. Hairston gave us a big lift scoring off the bench. Jackson Simmons gave us a big lift. We had some guys when we got in foul trouble made substitutions and some guys that came in the game improved us, and I think that was something that we've had a lot of teams in the past that have been able to do that.
And some games this is year we've had that. For the majority of the games, we haven't had that big lift off the bench.
As much experience as these kids have coming into college with games they've played in high school and AAU tournaments, how tough is it to play in any league when the core of the team is young players?
COACH WILLIAMS: Nobody's ever experienced for what you face in college. I don't care how good your high school team is or how much travel you do. Just the quality of the competition is so much better. The fact of the matter is, all the summer league play, winning doesn't make a lot of difference. You play in four games a day. You play one game, it's over with.
You say what time do you play again? And I don't think they learned any significance and the importance of winning. Now they're playing against a much higher quality athlete, the parity that we have. Lot of these guys haven't heard of it, but they can kick their rear end.
With a young team, I think it shocks them. The speed, and strength, and quickness of the game, I think it shocks them. The intensity of the game. It takes them a while to get used to that. We've played 15, 16 games right now. You would hope that you'd be used to it, but the kids never are. I think it takes a full year before they realize, man, this is what this is all about. I better do a better job of getting ready for it for next year.
Out of the weekend we lost the last four unbeaten teams. You've been a part of national champs with great records, but none close to unbeaten seasons. Do you think that will happen anymore?
COACH WILLIAMS: If I'm not mistaken, the Saint Joseph's team, several years back when they had Jameer Nelson, it may have gone as long as anybody has. But it's awfully hard. There are just too many good players. In today's times also, with all the games on TV, you know so much more about the team that's you're getting ready to play.
There are no surprises. When the other team calls a set play, we know a little bit about it, we call a set play. They know a little bit about it. So you just have more at your disposal to get your team ready. And people don't like to use the word, but there is so much more parity out there.
Specifically, just for my own piece of mind, do you ever look back at the '84 team, that if Kenny Smith doesn't break his wrist, that team might have run the table?
COACH WILLIAMS: There are two of those. Yes, I think that one definitely, and I think last year, I can't help it, but what would have happened if John (Henson) hadn't gotten hurt in the ACC tournament and never came back full strength, and if Kendall (Marshall) hadn't gotten hurt, then he'd come back and play the last two games.
But the '84 team, people were not even staying close to us. So, yeah, I've had those thoughts. Only thing it does, it makes you wonder, makes you a little sad, so you've got to move on and think about something that can really have an effect on what you're doing.
You talked about your team being a little wounded going into that game and the sense of urgency. Maryland's gone through a tough stretch and they play N.C. State at home tomorrow night. If they come in on that losing streak, do you sense that you would be in store for a similar type of team?
COACH WILLIAMS: You were cutting out a little bit there at the end. But I think what you're saying is if Maryland were to lose. Well, first of all, you have to wait to see what happens against N.C. State because Maryland's wounded right now.
But in this league, you lose any game, you're wounded. You lose two in a row and you're really wounded. So you have a great deal of desire, but so does that other team. I think for us, one of our biggest problems is we haven't played with enough sense of urgency. I think those two losses in a row made us play with a greater sense of urgency. If that's not a problem with your team, maybe you don't respond like that.
Maybe if you've been shooting free throws poorly or turning the ball over too many times, you may not respond. But ours was more of a sense of urgency and effort of how hard we were going to play, and we have been backed up against the edge of the cliff, so we needed to play.
Just to follow up in terms of your point guard situation, are you settled or are you still trying to figure out the best combination when you get out there?
COACH WILLIAMS: (Marcus Paige) started every game. My guess is he'll continue to. That position is not very unsettled. Marcus has played every game that he's been eligible to play. Not eligible, but that he's been healthy enough to play. He started at the point for us and done a good job. And Dexter (Strickland) has done a good job swinging over to get some time. We lost Luke Davis. Didn't play the last game and won't play this week.
So that part, who is the next guy, has been a little unsettled, but the first part was not unsettled at all.
COACH WILLIAMS: Luke is not able to practice. They are putting him in a boot this afternoon and keeping him in it all week, so he will not be able to practice. And Leslie's seeing a doctor this afternoon before practice and hopefully finding out some. So hopefully we'll have Leslie, but I don't believe we'll have Luke.