How has the eight-day break helped this team?
"I hope mentally it helped them more than anything. Last Thursday we didn't practice, Friday we brought them in for a running and shooting period, Saturday [was] a running and shooting period, [and] Sunday was no practice. Just trying to help them get their legs back, because it is a marathon that we're trying to run. We had a pretty good practice on Monday and Tuesday, and hopefully we'll have a good one today. I do believe, needless to say, that their spirits are a lot better than they were after the Maryland game."
What do you feel good about after the last couple of games?
"Well, it's only after the last game, not the last couple, that I feel good about anything. At Miami, I was very pleased with our toughness mentally, after losing at home and going on the road and playing against a very good team and being able to do the things we did… And I think that the practice Monday and Tuesday of last week – before the Miami game – were probably two of our most productive practices of the year, and we've continued it. We've had two pretty good practices. So I think that we need to, but I do believe we are getting better defensively."
On the team's defense:
"It's not that far from being a pretty good defensive team – it really isn't. Coach [Dean] Smith left a message after the Miami game and said, ‘I thought you were a lot better defensively, [but] they just made some shots.' And when you think about it, the Dews youngster made one from six or seven feet behind the three-point line, and then McClinton made one right in front of their bench, almost out of bounds with Marcus [Ginyard] all over him. We're going to guard people like that all of the time, but they just made shots. But I do think that we're getting closer to being a good defensive team."
Has Tyler Hansbrough taken more charges this season than in his previous years?
"I think a great deal more. I think he really has. If I had to take a guess, I'd say he's probably taken more charges than anybody on our team… It's part good defense. I said even in the preseason that I think he's gotten so much better defensively than he ever was. He can still block a shot every now and then, but he is not a guy that's got a 7-foot-4 wingspan that's going to jump over the moon and block shots. He has to be selective with them, but he's tough enough to stand in there, and I wish we had a couple of other guys that would be that tough to stand in there. I think it's part of playing good defense, playing good position defense and getting to the help position when you're supposed to be."
On the offense's efficiency when Ty Lawson is out of the game:
"Well, I think the offense should sputter, with any team in the country, when your starting point guard goes out. He's the starting point guard for a reason. But I've been pretty pleased with [Quentin Thomas]. ‘Q' didn't play very well at Clemson, but the other times he's come in the game… Against State, he had some great stats. He's done pretty well. But again, the question to me is an obvious question. Every team doesn't do as well when their starting point guard [is out], just like we're probably not going to do as well and be as smooth with Tyler Hansbrough out."
On how he's recovering from his bumps and bruises:
"I feel great. I think that everybody used this stretch of not playing to really rest their bodies and get ready for this next stretch that's coming up… The past three nights I've probably been asleep before 10:30 p.m., which is out of this world for me, so I'm feeling very well rested."
On Bobby Frasor:
"Bobby – no question about it – was one of the head guys on this team to really talk it up on the court and get guys where they were supposed to be, be a motivator and all of those types of things. It's a lot different for him to have to do that in the position that he's in now, and not to be able to do that out on the court. So everybody says that Bobby's going to be that guy that's a coach on the sidelines and things like that, but during practice, he's got to do rehab. So a lot of times, he doesn't get to see much of practice, so he can't even be out there to watch practice and bark at us from the sidelines. We've really lost a lot, obviously, not just not having him on the court, but not even for the most part having him there at practice."
On the Ty Lawson and Tyrese Rice matchup:
"It could possibly be the matchup that everybody's expecting it to be. I just hope that Ty takes it as a personal challenge that these two are going to be going head-to-head a lot in this game. I hope that he doesn't see it as just another matchup, because it's a very important matchup. It's one that he needs to win. So hopefully, coming into this game, if he takes that as a challenge, I think that he'll be able to respond and perform and have a great game."