UNC’s Williams takes pride in ACC final effort
North Carolina coach Roy Williams had nothing bad to say about his team when analyzing the 87-77 loss to Miami in Sunday’s ACC Tournament final.
“I got no problem with my team,” Williams said, “I got nothing to complain about with my team today. I’m really proud of my team. I’m not talking about the entire year, I’m talking about today. Unbelievably proud of what they have accomplished and how far they have come when everybody was abandoning ship earlier. I’m really proud of my team.”
They certainly played better than on Feb. 9 when they were spanked by the Hurricanes 87-61 in Coral Gables. The Tar Heels were motivated by Miami’s attitude during the rout.
“Watching the film last night on the game at Miami really helped our mind set,” Reggie Bullock said. ”Because you watch that and you take it personal when you see them throwing the ball at the backboard and dunking it and getting wild with shots and high fiving during the game.
“So we just wanted to come out with the mind set that we’re a better team than we showed last time, and we had a really great opportunity to earn a ring and win an ACC Tournament championship. And they probably outplayed us for the last 5 or 6 minutes of the game, but other than that, it was a dogfight.
The Miami loss came just before Williams went smaller with his starting lineup by putting P.J. Hairston in the first five. The Tar Heels are 8-3 since the switch.
Now they go into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed in the South and will play Villanova on Friday in Kansas City. The winner of that game will face the winner of Western Kentucky and Williams’ old school, Kansas.
“I think the lineup change is something that just happened,” Williams said. “Talk is too much about coaching. Every one of my players got better and that was the biggest deal. Each individual got better in what we were trying to get ‘em to do and that was the bigger story to me than the lineup change. Yes, we did that (the lineup change) because we thought it would give us a better chance to win, but Marcus (Paige) is better now than he was in December, James Michael (McAdoo) is better than he was in December. You can go on down the line and the credit should be given to those kids who really worked extremely hard to get better.”