“Not at all yet. Not one single second. I’ve watched Clemson, Wake Forest, and I watched a little bit of the Kentucky game when it was going on, but I haven’t looked at last years’. I think the personnel are different. It’s a few hours before the game so my preparation isn’t over yet.”
Since your guys have seen Willie Cauley-Stein, have they essentially seen Montrezl Harrell?
“They haven’t seen him face-to-face on the court like they did Willie, but they’ve seen some of there games on TV. I’m sure and they remember him a little bit from last year. Even if you change one player, you change drastically. Last year we played Notre Dame twice and beat those guys both times and it was a completely different team. I think the same thing, they had Russ and some other guys last year so it is a different team than what it was last year, but I will get a chance to watch that tape, yes. I don’t think we can look at something that happen last year and say that that’s the same exact thing they are this year because they are not that same team. Montrezl is a load and our guys watch games just like everybody else. I think in the Wake Forest game he had 20 at half time of that game.”
Do you get the sense that guys are deferring to Marcus Paige on the offensive end?
“No. I really haven’t. We should set more screens for him, but I don’t have that feeling, no.”
What is his role this year?
“Same exact role last year. So if you’ve played it for one year, it shouldn’t be confusing. You guys have to write something. I’ve always thought that was pretty crazy. My role is to play defense, play offense, guard the guy I’m supposed to guard, shoot the ball when I’m supposed to have shots, box out the guy when the shot is taken, and get inside position when I can on offense. If he’s confused then I’m really confused because I’ve never had anybody in my 27 years of head coaching who has told me coach, I don’t understand my role. That usually means they aren’t playing worth a darn. But I would be shocked if that would be him, because understood it pretty dog on well last year.”
Is there one or two things that you would like Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks to be doing more of?
“The first press conference I said we needed a couple of big guys to step up and be consistent, and get their play to a high level and do it consistently. That’s still what we are looking for a little bit. They’ve had some good moments, but they’ve had some bad moments too. The common thread is being more attentive to detail. Play even harder with more sense of urgency. I’ve had this sense of urgency in my repertoire for a hundred years it seems like, but I think now that they're even understanding it a little bit better. Watching the tape against Notre Dame we didn’t have the sense of urgency that we needed. Those two probably, the playing harder, the sense of urgency kind of idea, paying attention to detail every single possession, the consistency of their effort, I think they would all understand that.”
On Brice and Kennedy’s importance to UNC’s success:
“In our four losses, Brice has six defensive rebounds. In our 11 wins he’s averaging six a game. They are extremely important to our team. And I’m not trying to throw them under the bus, because they’re not the ones turning it over and they’re not the ones guarding point guards driving out on the perimeter. It is attention to detail with them more than anything.”
“There’s no question when you move into that upper echelon we depend on you more; you can’t have those failures. You don’t have somebody else to take up for you. James Michael’s freshman year he didn’t have to do anything really. We had John and Z and everything was all right. If James Michael scored a basket we all cheered, and if he didn’t, we said we still have John and Z. But when you step up there to the front line and you have to do it on a consistent basis. They’ve had some good moments, they really have. But they’ve had some bad moments, too, and we’d like to get that consistency that we talked about in that summer press conference that I didn’t have.”
Did the Louisville game give you confidence last year and are you still searching for that confidence-building win this year?
“I think last year you’re right, it really did give us some confidence. The Michigan State game really gave us some confidence as well. The Kentucky game gave us some confidence. I think this year winning against Ohio State gave us some confidence, but I don’t think we’ve had that one big one like the Louisville game was last year. In years past the first game, second game, tenth game, 12th game, we gained confidence all along. I don’t sense that we lack any confidence. Even though it’s good to win and everything is better when the ball goes in the basket, which you’ve heard a thousand times, and off days are a heck of a lot better after you win. But I really don’t see a lack of confidence. I would be surprised if they would characterize it like that.”
How big of an adjustment is it from going from Notre Dame to Louisville?
“I think there is a little adjustment in every game. But Louisville shoots a good percentage and Notre Dame shoots a great percentage. Louisville makes you turn the basketball over at a great level that Notre Dame didn’t do. So I think they are different teams. Everybody said Notre Dame lived on the three, but Louisville shoots a lot of three’s too. They don’t shoot as high a percentage. There’s a lot of changes in every team, but playing at a high level is not any change at all because Notre Dame and Louisville both play at a very high level. And they both play at a very high level with their intensity. They just sort of do it a little bit differently. Some guys hit a draw to the middle of the middle of the fairway and some guys hit cuts, but they are still trying to get to the middle of the fairway.”