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"We're excited to be here. Thankful to be here. It's been a long journey to get here. I think our guys over the last five games have earned the right to play another game. Sometimes against unbelievable odds, but just like our last game against Syracuse, and even the game against Xavier, immense respect for Coach Williams. One of the very few coaches that have ever continued to coach after being enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I think that to have three or four long-tenured NBA players on their team. They are as fast as anybody in the country in the first 10 seconds of a possession. That will cause great problems for us, as it has every other opponent that they have played this year.
"I think maybe one thing not mentioned enough about what they do, is that they are really good on the glass. They are 25-2 when they outrebounded their opponent. Part of that is because they are so far ahead of their opponent, if they miss a shot they can put it back in. But they put extra pressure on you, not only offensively but defensively. So we will have our hands full from the start, but we are thankful to be here."
Roy Williams marveled about your ability to find his book in Puerto Rico. How were you able to do that? What did you get out of reading that?
"It was the only book written in English that I could find. I spent nine times the amount on the cab that I did on the book. It got so bad that I just implored the cabdriver to stay until I could find it. So I go in a book store, ask for it; they wouldn't have it. Go to another one, go to another one.
"I study a different person once a month and Coach Williams was the person that I studied that month. The reason that started was because I was fortunate enough that my wife and I were invited on that trip by Nike. I am sure Coach Williams has been multiple times. It was my first. And so he was very kind to me and I had a long trip back from Puerto Rico. And so I went to go find his book. And literally, there was one in Puerto Rico and I found it and read it. And wrote him a note after I read it and that's kind of how it all started."
Coach, you were talking about UNC's NBA potential and speed and length. What do you see as your advantages in this game?
"I have been thinking about it since Sunday night and I'm still not sure. If you have an email, I will email you in the morning. I don't know. A couple of things. I think our offense has to help our defense, similar to how we had to play against Syracuse. 20% of North Carolina's points are in transition off one pass or less. That's an extremely high number. 35% of their points are shots at the rim. So shots within three feet of the rim is what I deem a shot at the rim. That's as high number as there is in the country.
"And so live-ball turnovers end up being dunks. Quick, long shots end up being dunks. And so it's similar to playing a football game relative to time of possession. Nobody ever looks at you, but they only average two possessions more per game than we do. And we average more points per possession than they do. That doesn't necessarily mean anything if we offensively don't help ensure that our offense helps our defense. So I think it's time of possession. We need to score early or we need to score late. And we need to make sure that what we do offensively prevents them from scoring as quick as they typically like to."
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM, JIMMY BUTLER, JOSEPH FULCE and DWIGHT BUYCKS
Darius, I am wondering how many
people from home are coming up here to watch
this game today. And how many Tar Heels fans
back home have you turned into Marquette
fans this week?
"I think have about 20 people from Raleigh, North Carolina coming. I don't know how many people from North Carolina are coming that I know that are Tar Heel fans. But I do have quite a few friends that do attend North Carolina and they have been giving me, you know, all types of jokes and things prior to the game. And just telling me, you know, that they are going to support me, but they are going to support their Tar Heels at the same time."
You guys appear to be real loose
and confident going into this game. What
keeps you guys so focused on the task at
hand? And are you approaching this as just
another game? Or is this one of the biggest
games of your college career?
"I feel like every game is big for us. I mean we go out in our practices and everything, we prepare our practices, we work hard. Talk to one another, you know, and we just compete. And when we come out when they say we have North Carolina, it is just like okay then, you know, we will treat it just like any other game we had this season. It is not going to change anything we do and how we play."
If you end you on Harrison
Barnes tomorrow night, would you talk about
your impressions of him? He has been on a
hot streak lately.
"He is a really good player. He can do it all. He is athletic, he can score and dribble, he rebounds. But you just have to make him uncomfortable, just like anybody else. You have to pick up his space and make him feel like he has to work for every dribble and every move that he makes. And I think I am going to end up guarding him, but it is not going to be just me. It will be the our four guys on the floor. But it is real big that I can't force help. I have to be able to guard him on my own along with my teammates and their guys. So I think if we don't force rotation and we guard the ball, then everything will work out in the manner that we want it to."