“It’s very disappointing to us. We have wonderful kids and I did a poor job with them getting them ready to play with the aggressiveness that Butler played [with]. Butler’s coaching staff did a much better job of getting them ready to play. Very aggressive, and I’m not insinuating anything other than very aggressive – I didn’t say anything at all about being dirty – but it was very aggressive play. They outhustled us. If my math is correct, we got 26 defensive rebounds, they got 29 offensive rebounds. That means they got more of their missed shots than we did and that is being very aggressive and hustling after the ball and chasing the ball down. They did a much better job of that than we did.
"We didn’t shoot the ball well. We didn’t play very well, but you have to congratulate them. Even at half when we were ahead, they were dominating all the 50-50 balls, the dominating the boards, we were turning it over without shots. It’s not just about North Carolina. I think you have to congratulate them. Watching them on tape, they were really fun to watch. Five guys move every time the ball moves, which is what you should do on the defensive end. Five guys try to box out every possession to take away your second shot opportunities and they did that very well.
"They outplayed us and definitely outcoached us. We had some chances at the end. Had a couple of turnovers at the end when it could have been a lot of fun, but again, you have to congratulate their defense for doing such a good job.”
Your team made two field goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half. What changed for your team?
“We didn’t have very good movement, to be honest with you. And we had some good shots and didn’t make them, but I thought we lost our patience offensively as well. I think we rushed some shots. We didn’t seem to have the composure that we need against a very good defensive team. We haven’t been able to simulate that in practice and it showed up today.”
How would explain the offensive rebounding issues? Want-to? Positioning?
“Well, I think offensive rebounding is a little bit of everything, but the biggest thing is that you’ve got to want to go get the basketball. You’ve got to fight and get off the box out. It’s also a little bit about you’ve got to have five guys willing to box out on the defensive [end]. We talk all of the time about finishing the defense. Finish it by boxing out with five guys. We don’t send everybody to the offensive boards but we do send everybody to the defensive boards, so it’s a combination. They were really good at it and we weren’t very good at boxing out. There were a couple of times when we did box out and it’s a loose ball and they seemed to react to the ball quicker, more aggressively than we did.”
Did you see a performance like this coming?
“No, I didn’t see it coming. I’d like to say that I did and all of that smart stuff, but the truth of the matter is that I thought we would rise to the challenge, and we needed to. We have four or five guys on this team that were on the team two years ago when they beat us by 88 or whatever it was. Showing them on tape that Butler is really good. They really do a nice job and the kids play so hard, so I was concerned about it, but I thought that the head coach would do a better job and get our guys more ready than I did.”
You referenced your preparation. Was it the attitude you didn’t like today or was it something else?
“Preparation, you can always do as many things as you want to and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the reason it’s called coaching. In medicine, they call it medical practice and it’s a little more serious there. In basketball, we get to practice. We haven’t gotten it across to them yet how hard you have to play, how aggressive you have to play and that’s what my job is.”
UNC held Butler to 31 percent shooting. Did you like what your team did defensively before it got to the rebounding part?
“I think they shot 28 percent in the second half, so we did some good things and we challenged some shots. We blocked several shots – blocked 10 shots – but still you’ve got to finish the defense. You’ve got to finish it. Guys hit the drive really well and knock it close, you’ve got to make the putt. In basketball, you’ve got to finish the defense and get the rebound. And then, if you get the rebound, you also have a better chance to run your break, which will help your offense on the other end as well.”
On the free throw shooting:
“We haven’t been a great free throw shooting team, but we missed a lot of them today. Kennedy’s 3-for-6, Marcus [was] 5-for-9, Theo 0-2, Isaiah 2-for-5. We’ve shot a lot of free throws and made a bunch of them. And that hurt us down the stretch. I thought they made every free throw. I think they missed one down the stretch. They really stepped to the line and made theirs. The game of basketball is pretty simple. A lot of it is just put the ball in the hole. And we didn’t put it in the hole today.”