UNC, Murray State Address the Media

DAYTON, OHIO – North Carolina practiced on location at the Dayton Arena on Thursday and spoke to reporters just beforehand. Read and listen to both UNC and Murray State's press conferences now...

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On the biggest difference from last year
"Last year's team was so much more familiar with everything. We had gone the year before. I had challenged them to work over the off-season to have a chance to be the last team standing. That team had a legitimate goal and that focus the entire time. Now this is the start of it. Everything is new to them. We have dreams and hopes. We're still going to have those. The kids are going to be wide-eyed, bushy-tailed for a little while. We've got to let them have a little fun but at the same time make sure they are focused and understand what's important."

On Tyler Hansbrough not getting into foul trouble often
"I hope he can continue to do that here. We do make some substitutions. There have been times where we've gone zone to try to protect him. He has a tremendous understanding that you can't play, you can't score or rebound or any of those things when you're in foul trouble sitting on the sidelines. He makes good decisions. The other thing is we practice all the time to not foul. We practice playing defense without fouling. Some kids do a better job than others. Nick Collison, who played for me at Kansas, we used to do that. I watch him in the NBA now, and he has three fouls before they finish the national anthem. Tyler really does a nice job, and we try to focus on it."

What are you're plans for tomorrow (Friday)?
"Nine-thirty tomorrow night makes it a long day. We'll have a shoot around. I'll go for a nice brisk walk. Brisk meaning the temperature, not my pace. I'll try to be outside a little bit to get a lot of fresh air. Other than that, try to enjoy the games a little bit. I'll probably watch a little bit of a game, take a 10-minute nap, watch a little bit of another game, take a 10-minute nap. If I watch five games, that's five 10-minute naps. That's a pretty good day."

On the younger players being in the tournament for the first time
"We try to continue to play and focus the way we've been doing all year. It's worked OK so far. The tournament is different. Guys have been lying around watching games all day. I still think the basic thing is to try and prepare yourself all year and do the best you can and go from there."

How do you feel about the off-site practice?
"I don't like what we're doing. I've brought that up to the committee. Forty minutes is too short to get things accomplished. Now you practice 40 and you've got to stay the whole 40. It's a farce what we have to do out there, but practice this morning was good. We got some things accomplished. Here, we'll let the guys see what this gym looks like. They haven't been in too many gyms, so this will be good for them."

On Reyshawn Terry and David Noel getting enough credit
"I don't know that they have gotten the recognition that they have deserved. I think that they have done a marvelous job for us. They have been great leaders. I have said before David may be the best leader I have ever been around. Both of those kids, in addition to Wes [Miller], have had great moments for us, and they have done a big-time job of leading our team."

On this being Williams' fourth trip to Dayton
The media had convinced me we were going to Greensboro, so I believed those guys. I was a little surprised, but at the same time I always felt like you have to go play wherever they send you. I knew we had had some success here. I remember the restaurants. I've had good memories here. The people here in town do a great job with the tournament. Everybody around it – the workers, the ushers, everyone's been really nice. They have done this a few times before, and they have done it well enough that people keep asking them to do it again. So I think that is a pretty good compliment. It all boils down to how we play on the court. The people here have supported the regionals that they have had and have really done a nice job."



On Murray State's inside presence
"I don't think our game plan is to get people in foul trouble. We try to do the little things, do well and play our game. The ACC gets a lot of good post players, and there's a lot I could name and we will be ready to play inside tomorrow night."

On David Noel's leadership
"David has shown a lot to me by being a leader. He never gets discouraged or mad at us, and always tries to lead us and tells us what to do. He really takes on the role of being a leader."

Plans for tomorrow
"I like to not sleep all day. We have shoot around, a chance to get loose. Stretching will help us. Then, we will concentrate and watch game film and then prepare for the game tomorrow night."

On playing in a high level at every phase of amateur basketball
"This is a lot different than situations I've been in before. I've never been in the NCAA Tournament, but I'm going to have to not get too nervous and try to stay calm and look at every opponent as a quality opponent and use my technique to try and raise the bar."

On having only fouled out of one game this season
"It's something I concentrate on throughout the game. I'm always trying to keep count of how many fouls I have and be aware of the situation I'm in and avoid fouls."


On defending the title
"I wouldn't necessarily call it a title defense, because no one can take away from what we got last year. It will always be a part of our lives. We want to start a new journey and hopefully we will get the same results as last year."

What do you know about Murray State?
"Before the tournament we knew nothing about them. Now we know a lot more. Defensively, we need to be aware of their guys, like [Shawn] Witherspoon -- he's a four-man and I'll be matched up with him. I think he leads the team in assists, and I'll be matched up with him. It's definitely a situation where we are more aware of them and their capabilities."

On remembering Keith Jenifer
"Yes, I definitely remember him. He gave us fits at Virginia. He is a hard guy to stay in front of, very good; and we definitely have to buckle down and play defense. Watching film, he is able to break down defenses and handles the ball very well. For the most part, we have to stay in front of him and play defense."

On starting a journey tomorrow
"I told most of the guys, ‘Look, it's one loss and you're gone now, so we can't afford to make the little mistakes that we have been making all season and during the Boston College game. We have to take the little pieces out of that game and turn it around. For the most part, we have to execute the best way we can on every night and day, and play the way we have all year."

Plans for tomorrow
"I'm going to sit around and play the Play Station and try to stay relaxed."

Any particular game?
"‘Knockout – Round Three;' it's a boxing game. I try to stay away from watching basketball on TV."

On Hansbrough's reported goofiness
"‘Psycho T;' that's Tyler. He's a great dude and a pleasure to have around in the locker room, especially in the weight room. He is definitely a character and keeps the locker room up at times."


On UNC's lack of experience
"First of all, I don't think they're as young of a team as people make them out to be. Reyshawn Terry is a junior, Noel is a senior and Tyler Hansbrough plays like a senior. Wes Miller is a junior – a transfer, so that makes him a fourth-year junior. Those guys understand. The advantage they have – other than the fact they obviously have some tremendous players and probably the best front line in the ACC – would be the fact those guys were on a team last year that won a national championship. As a coach, the biggest thing you try to do with your players – if you can win and the younger guys saw the sacrifices that they made of their own game, their bodies, their condition to details; all the things the coaches teach – it's a carryover. So whether those guys played a lot last year or not, the fact they had guys that were on that team is a major advantage for them. I don't think it can be downplayed. Having been through that as an assistant at Cincinnati, where we win every year, winning is something that is passed down. Other than the fact that Coach Williams is a great coach and they added some freshmen, it's not a surprise to me they're playing so well."

How do you get around the mystique of the UNC jersey?
"Fortunately, I checked with some people and they told me MJ isn't going to show up; he had some other commitments. It's a two-fold process for us. Obviously we're playing the defending national champs and the team is playing extremely well. That's really all that matters -- the guys they have now and how they're playing. It's a great opportunity, that's how you have to look at it. We felt we deserved a higher seed and we felt we got an unbelievably tough draw. But at the same time we talk about life with our players all the time, and life's not fair. You've got to be able to look adversity in the eye and make the most of it. So sooner or later in tournament you're going to have to play a team as good as North Carolina, so let's just play them in the first round."



On UNC's lack of NCAA experience
"When you step on the court, really, experience doesn't have a lot to do with it. Experience doesn't keep you from playing hard. Experience doesn't keep you from doing the little things we were doing all year to win. It's good we're matched experience-wise, but experience only gets you so far."

What have you told the other players about your previous NCAA Tournament experience?
"It's a great experience, something we've been talking about all year. I tell the guys that it's a great experience, but you need to take advantage. A lot of people don't know where Murray is or don't know how to say Murray. It's one of those things where we can put our names out there and let people know that we are for real."

How do you decide who is going to take the big shot? Do you have a "go-to-guy?"
"Whoever is open is going to take the shot. We really don't have a ‘go-to-guy.' Now when a guy is felling it, we'll get out the offense. We're unselfish."

What impresses you about North Carolina, and where do you think you have an advantage?
"Our guard play is more experienced than theirs, but that's about it."

How do you think you'll play off the advantage of the crowd?
"I really don't know how to answer that. We're just going to play. We're not going to play like we're underdogs. We're going to play like we have the confidence, like we're supposed to be here."


What's your feeling about taking on the Tar Heels – a team you went 3-1 against when at UVa?
"Another opportunity. We want to keep on playing. It's my last year. I just want to keep on playing, trying to advance just like they are."

What do you remember about playing against Noel?
"Back then, he really wasn't one of the key guys. They had so many good players then. I do remember him hustling, coming off the bench and bringing energy."

Did you ever think you might play UNC in the first round?
"It never crossed my mind. I was really praying for the D.C. region, which we're in, because I would have been closer to home. But we ended up in Dayton, playing North Carolina."

Why did you choose to transfer to Murray State?
"Coach Mick Cronin was a new coach and he decided to give me another chance, and I thank him for that. It's a smaller town. I could concentrate on my books and play basketball. I'm on time to graduate in May. I made the most of it."

What impresses you about UNC and where do you think you have an advantage?
"Their tradition. I really think we have an advantage in our guards. Their guards are really young and kind of small."

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