I think that we are at a good place. Obviously we let one go against Georgia Tech, but outside of that game we've played pretty well. We also realize and when we watch the tape of the games we feel we can improve in so many areas.
We are excited about where we are but we know we have a long way to go to become the kind of team I think we can still become.
Thoughts after watching Miami game footage:
When you look at the game the other day at Miami, we did a lot of things obviously well enough to win, and that was an important win, but in the second half we didn't defend as well as in the first half.
We felt like we could defend a lot better, we got loose with the basketball, but at the same time it was a gutsy win.
Thoughts on players knowing their roles:
I think our guys know their roles pretty well. I always think that when a team begins to reach its potential it means that each player is playing to their strength and doing what they can do... bringing those positive things.
Was the Georgia Tech game sort of a blessing in disguise?
It could have been. You still look at every game and you want to win every single contest, but I do think we have played better. When you look at Georgia Tech right now, boy they played awfully well against us. Maybe we had a lot to do with it, but they were really good... made a lot of tough shots.
We've certainly defended better. I think the team defense collectively has been better, and that is something we have to continue working on every day.
Thoughts on C.J. Williams and his recent play:
I think that he has been that kind of a competitor for us everyday. He has just been great. He competes, he wants to win, and he wants to do things right. He accepts coaching. He is one of those guys you can get on him hard and it doesn't phase him. He just keeps playing.
We need him to keep being that kind of guy who can take on a challenge. He has his hands full Thursday night, we realize that, but he has played very well.
Thoughts on Scott Wood's play:
He is getting more comfortable in our system, and I think what is nice about our team is I believe on different nights it may be another guy who gets that 20 points like he had.
We may not have one guy who will get 35 or 40, but Scott Wood has had open shots and made them. Our guys need to play the game and go where the defense dictates them.
I don't ever want him to turn [a 3-point shot] down. In the game against Boston College right before the half we get the ball with 35 seconds and in normal situations you're going to take one shot. Lorenzo throws it ahead and Scott is wide open, and Scott shoots it and makes it. Lorenzo said, "Sorry about that coach." I said, "No, no we're not turning that one down. You let him shoot it because he is that good of a shooter."
Every day he is the guy that is unfazed by anything. He is the same guy every day in practice. He competes and works very hard. He goes in, practices, works and does his job. I think that's why when he goes to the line, for him, it is second nature. It's routine for him.
Thoughts on facing full court pressure:
Our terminology with our players is to make them pay. We like to put shooters ahead, put Scott ahead of the ball so when we beat it he is down there waiting for it, usually in the corner. I always felt that if you don't attack the basket when teams press you they will continue to press you until you make somebody pay. That's what we like to do against pressure.
Thoughts on Harrison Barnes and trying to defend him:
I think he is a really good shooter and a good shooter in the break. He runs the floor well and runs right to the 3-point line. He's a good rebounder... he can take it off the dribble.
I think C.J. Williams with his size, he will be anticipating and excited about the opportunity to really guard a player like that.
Harrison is very good. Our guys understand it and have great respect for him but I think they are confident as well that we can do a good job on all their guys.
How do you believe losing Dexter Strickland impacts North Carolina?
It makes their team bigger. They are going to start Reggie Bullock. He is 6'7 and probably a better perimeter offensive player than Dexter Strickland... we've got to guard another 3-point shooter in the lineup, but as far as a general gameplan it's not going to change much in the way that we want to defend them.
Thoughts on staying focused in road games:
The game always unfolds in certain ways. What we've got to do is have great poise, whether we make a run or they make a run, and they are going to make some runs, that is part of the game. Especially when you are on the road, you've got to be able withstand and stay the course... stay together as a unit and a team.
Thoughts on hearing the talk from fans and students prior to a rivalry game:
You've got to be careful not to get too involved with praise or criticism... you've got to stay focused on what our job is. This week is different. Our players know it, we all know it, I know it, but you've got to stay focused on playing the game the right way.
You can get so excited because it's a rivalry and all that, but let's not get away from what we do.
We have to change the course of this thing. They may look at it from their side like it's not been a rivalry lately and we've got to change that. We've got to change recent history here and whether we can do it this quickly or not we'll see. Our guys are hungry for that and they are kind of tired, to be quite honest, of coming up on the short end.