Tuesday PC Interviews

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's Tuesday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from head coach Roy Williams and his starting five as UNC welcomes Duke to town on Wednesday.

Listen to Audio (18:55)

On rebounding and size differential between UNC and Duke:
"I don't know that our size is any better than their size, because it's not just the inches you are off the floor, it's the space that you take up. John and his wingspan gets him up there, but Miles Plumlee and Mason [Plumlee] and Ryan [Kelly] are wider and you still have to get around them. We're going to try to use what we've thought has been good for this team – to get the ball inside and try to allow those guys an opportunity to score. Mason, Miles, Ryan and the Hairston youngster really do a nice job defensively as well. But I'm not huge on those mismatches. I think it's our five guys against their five guys. If there is one area that's the most important factor of the game, I hope it's on our side."

On P.J. Hairston:
"He's so banged up. He's got more aches and pains. He should be [in] one of those Goody's powder ads that the country-western singer and Richard Petty do. He's got so many aches and pains that's bothering him a great deal right now. He did some good things in the Maryland game. He didn't make any of the shots that he wanted to make, but got an offensive rebound and put it back in. Did some good things defensively. He allowed us to play for 5-6 minutes with Harrison at the four and he did a good job for us defensively, so he must be doing okay or I wouldn't put him out there. But hopefully he'll understand that part, too, that I still have confidence in him."

Listen to Audio (3:52)

Duke is fretting that they're not the same kind of energetic defensive team that they've been in the past. Do you anticipate any different Duke team tomorrow night?
"I watch Duke a lot. One, because they're in our conference, and two, because they're eight miles away. The last thing that you want to do is play against a team coming off some adversity to get through, because I think that's when a team is at their best. So they're definitely going to come out ready to play tomorrow. We're just trying to put our best foot forward and come out with a win."

How much do you think back to the game against Duke last year in the ACC Tournament?
"I don't. That's a unique case when you're playing your third game in three days. The night of that game is Selection Sunday, so there's a lot of stuff. You obviously want that win, and if I could have it back, I definitely wish we would have come out and competed from tip-off, but I really don't think back to that game too much."

Listen to Audio (3:21)

What does this rivalry mean to you?
"It means a lot. It's a great rivalry. It's something that the more I'm here, the more I learn about it and how intense it is. It's something where every time you go to play them, it's going to be a great game. If you don't show up for that one, there's something wrong with you."

After Dexter Strickland went down, several of you talked about elevating the defensive play. Do you think that's happened?
"Yes. I think everybody's done a great job, especially Reggie. He's been playing great recently defensively and offensively he gives us another shooter, so he's a very versatile player and he's been helping us a lot."

Listen to Audio (1:32)

What changes for you now that you're starting in this game?
"It's basically just hearing my city called – Kinston, North Carolina. Just being a Carolina kid growing up and knowing about the Carolina-Duke rivalry game, it's going to mean a lot to me to be a starter in this game."

Is it a problem that you're going to have to guard a smaller player against Duke?
"No, because every day in practice Leslie McDonald makes me better on the defensive end of the floor. He's running with our team right now in practice. So I basically just guard him every day in practice. He's 6-4 and I don't look at it as a height difference, but I know what I'm capable of on the defensive end is making shots tougher for other players, so hopefully I can bring that tomorrow night."

Listen to Audio (2:37)

Coach said he didn't think you would be 100 percent. What number would you put on it?
"I don't really get into numbers. You could say 60, you could say 80, regardless of what percentage I put on it, I'm going to go out and play to the best of my ability."

How do you feel?
"It's a little sore. I can't initially explode off of it the way I want to, but you've just got to get through that."

Listen to Audio (4:11)

Who's faster between Tyler Zeller and Mason Plumlee? Zeller's pretty fast, right?
"He can move for a big dude like that. It's funny you said that, maybe we'll have a race before the game. I put my money on Tyler."

What makes this rivalry unique?
"It never gets old is one thing. It's a fun atmosphere and fun game for everybody. Everybody in the area is always tuned into this game. It's always fun to see."

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