"Two road wins for us. Very different games. At the same time you feel good about our toughness and getting through a very, very ugly game where we couldn't make any shots. Then going up and playing a very enthused Maryland team and home crowd. Again, a different kind of win, but I really liked their toughness and getting through that one.
"Then all of a sudden you have the Duke Blue Devils coming in, so it's an exciting time for us. We do think we're getting better, but we have to keep working at it. I do think we can get a lot better than we are right now."
Coach, a few weeks ago you were talking about how, even before the Florida State game, you weren't very pleased even in victory with the way your team is playing. How pleased are you now in the last couple of weeks?
"I'm more pleased. There is no question about that, in some of the venues that we've played. Wake Forest is an unusual situation. The other night was an unusual ACC game. But Maryland was right back where you have a packed crowd and people are just going crazy. To be able to focus and hold our poise was something I thought was extremely important, and at the same time, Harrison, for example, getting through with his ankle bothering him and being able to do some very good things for us.
"We've had much better practices. Earlier I didn't think we were doing the job in practice every day, so I kept telling them, how do we expect to do the job in the games if we're not doing it in practice? And we are practicing much better now."
Obviously you don't have to tell your kids to get fired up and motivate them to play Duke. Is there anything you have to do to guard them against being too amped up in this game?
"I've had that question almost every year. I don't know if there is such a thing as too amped up. We're going to be excited. I think that level makes you have better energy. I think in playing the game of basketball you have to be concerned to not go too fast. But for us, I wanted to go so fast, it makes no difference. We don't have that problem that some teams might have to get out of their comfort zone with the speed of the game, because we want it to be really fast anyway.
"The only area is to be relaxed and poised when you're starting to shoot the basketball and lose yourself in the game. I think in this type of game, you have a better chance of doing that."
You've won 14 of the last 15 games, and it just seems like this team is really starting to come into its own. Is there a certain trait or characteristic that your team-- and I remember a year ago right around this time, you guys went on a tear and ended up finishing the season 13-3. I just start to see that you guys are really coming into your own.
"I don't want to be redundant. But what I was saying to [the previous reporter] is we're practicing a lot better. I was frustrated with the practices and the games and everything. We're practicing better. We're getting banged up a heck of a lot more, so we're having to focus even more and our practices are a little shorter and we're concerned about that part of it. But we got on a very significant run last year because we started playing better. I'm one of those guys that thinks if you practice better, you play better. So I'm hopeful that we can do the same kind of thing this year. But it remains to be seen.
"We're exactly halfway through the conference season, and we were 7-1 in the first half, I think it was. So if you go 1-7 in the second half, all the stuff that we coached doesn't end up meaning anything."
Harrison Barnes, you could see how much he was limping on the court Saturday night with a sprained ankle. How do you think he's going to be for the game against Duke on Wednesday night?
"I'm hoping he'll be better. Yesterday was a day off. They have not practiced today. So we haven't seen him in action since the game. But he had less swelling and less pain after the game than he did after the Wake Forest game. So we'll probably hold him out of quite a bit of practice today to give him another day, and we hope that will help some."
Duke's coming in off a loss, how do you size up the keys to this game on Wednesday?
"You never have any idea how the other team's going to react to anything, because you don't coach them. You have a feel for your team and how they're going to react. I just know that it's North Carolina against Duke, and we've got to play our best game of the year, regardless of where we're playing or what time the game is. Offensively, most weapons, in my opinion, most weapons of anybody in the league. You've got to be able to put the ball in the basket. I thought that was one thing Miami did yesterday. When the lead got down to one, and Duke took a one-point lead, then Miami scored. Duke went down and scored, and Miami came back and took a one-point lead again and they kept scoring.
"In my opinion, you've got to be able to do that against Duke. It's awfully difficult to stop them, so you've got to be able to score yourself."
Do you feel this is a team that's vulnerable to your offense?
"I never feel that way. I think we're going to score it all. I hear all the stories about Duke's defense is this and that. What I studies, I think they're pretty dog gone good defensively. They give up a lot of points, and so do we, because we want to play so fast. I'm not counting on them opening the door and letting the drive in for a lay-up. I saw something yesterday that I'd never seen when a team lets a team score a touchdown. I'd never seen anything like that. I don't think Duke's going to let us do that."
When you're preparing for two different teams in Duke and have a who play such different styles. Talk about what that process is like for your team as you look at two squads that couldn't be more different in terms of what they want to do?
"Well, I think they are different, but we never prepare for two teams. The thing that's we're doing in practice today and tomorrow is directly related to Duke. Then after the Duke game, the things we do in practice will be directly related to Virginia. But we teach our principles. We work on our things all the time. We probably give a smaller scouting report than anybody in the league because we play defense by principles, and then we give our guys a one-page scouting report and that's it.
"So for us, we don't prepare for two teams at any time. We just prepare for one and then we have one or two practices to prepare for the other one."