On the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament:
“It was really a good weekend. The last two weekends, if you take out the six or seven minutes of the Notre Dame game, we have played our best basketball of the year, and we need to do even better this coming weekend. Kids have really done some good things. I am so happy for them. Two years in a row losing in the second round and now making the Sweet 16, and we are hoping there is some more in there. But really, really pleased for them.”
How meaningful was the win over Arkansas?
“I desperately wanted to win for Marcus and his class. Last year we were right there and they were a better seed than we were, but we were right there. We made a couple mistakes and got a weird charging foul call against James Michael as he was posting up. Maybe felt more stressed than I needed to because I was thinking about those kids going one more round and now I’m going to be nervous again for another round.”
On tying Dean Smith’s NCAA Tournament wins mark:
“That was pretty special. I am a pretty emotional guy and when the young lady asked me about it after the game, I tried to clear my throat a little bit. It does mean something. It really meant something to go in that locker room after the game and see those kids’ faces. That was the best look ever.”
On Nate Britt’s performance against Arkansas:
“He’s been 3-15 in the previous four or five games and his defense grade hasn’t been very good. And like you said, he played one minute against Harvard. But he came in early and made a good play in the press offense, got to the right spot and made the jump shot, didn’t get beat on the drive. I wanted to have another ball handler in there and not have just Marcus be responsible for getting it down the court. I decided about halfway through the first half that I was going to have two of them between Marcus, Joel and Nate on the court at the same time.”
On Kennedy Meeks’ injury status:
“It’s not good. He did not practice today at all. We don’t know what it is going to be later in the week. We’ll just have to wait and see. They are not completely ruling him out and they aren’t saying he can play. I don’t think we’ll have him, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Could UNC force other teams to play at a faster pace with the press?
“If we were a full-court pressing team athletically, and I believed in that, then maybe we could do it. But we are not a full-court gifted, talented team that does those kind of things. I don’t like to play that way. I like to play offense that way, but I like to guard 47 feet. I don’t like to guard 90 feet. In 2002, we spent six weeks working on trying to press after every field goal and I didn’t like it, so we threw it in the waste basket and ended up going to the Final Four two years in a row after that. You do have to have an unbelievable kind of athletic kid. Joel, Brice and Kennedy don’t fit into that category, so I think we would be stupid to try and do it with this team. We’ve had teams in the past where we could do it better than this team. This team is really good at times in a halfcourt pressure situation, and we like guys that can post up like Kennedy and Brice.”
What is the concern level with the time difference playing out West?
“It’s a big concern. We are going to travel seven-and-a-half to eight hours by the time we get to the hotel tonight. We have a problem. If you choose to read USA Today, we have fewer aircraft available because people have gotten out of the charter business. We couldn’t go to class tomorrow and still leave in time to get their 24 hours before our press conference on Wednesday and it was a concern of mine and I didn’t want to run out there. Normally we would leave after practice on Tuesday. Now all of a sudden you’re getting in at one or two in the morning and then you have press and practice in the middle of the day and then you play again. I guess it was 10 o’clock last night before we knew what time we were going to play the game. And then you find out when your practice and press conference and travel are. Hopefully, it’ll give us a few more hours that will give us a chance to get used to that sun coming up at a little bit of a different time.”
On facing Wisconsin:
“They have a load there. Defensively, they guard you. They don’t make mistakes, they don’t foul you, and they don’t turn it over. They are about 180 degrees away from us, we foul everybody and anybody. But it’s a game of basketball, and you get a chance to play to see who wins.”
On how to guard Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky:
“At the press conference today I said Desmond Hubert would be best to guard him, but he’s out. But, it is really going to be a challenge to find somebody than can do a decent job on Frank. He’s really gifted and he’s a really hard person to guard.”
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