|Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.|
Part I: (22:38)
Part II: (28:06)
"We'll try to make this quick because we do have to go to practice here in a little bit. I think as much money as we're making off this tournament, we ought to be able to afford more than one freaking cookie back in the room there. I think NCAA can afford more than that. Other than that, we're happy to be here. Hey, if we don't have any cookies later on, it's Norm's fault."
Do you feel like it would be a good time this week to call on a former North Carolina player and ask him about Oklahoma as in Jason Capel, or do you stay away from that?
"I think Jason is a wonderful young man, played with my son. My son was on the team when he was playing. But blood is thicker than that diploma, and I understand that and have zero problems with that. Jeff has really done a nice job. I've watched their games a little bit just because my interest in Jeff. I've known his father and Jason playing at North Carolina and Jeff playing at Duke. So I've known the family or part of the family for a long, long time. He's really done a great, great job, and it's been fun to watch his development."
A player like Blake Griffin, how many different looks do you want to give him defensively and bodies do you want to throw at him?
"I'll say this for everybody. I was really impressed with my players because you guys asked so many questions about Oklahoma. They have no idea. You've got to understand we got out of here last night at 12:30. They have not been given a scouting report. At 2:30 they'll be given the first scouting report they've had. So I was pretty pleased with the way they answered those questions.
"And Tyler doesn't watch a lot of college basketball because he doesn't have time. He's always in the dadgum gym working out. I don't know exactly what we're going to do yet. We're going to work on some things today at practice. This morning I was up until 3:00 and then got up early and did my little workout. And I came back and watched Oklahoma-OSU from the tournament. I have three tapes I'll watch before 11:00 tonight.
"This time of year you've got to be able to make little adjustments, but you can't make big adjustments. I can't. Other coaches may be able to, but I can't make big adjustments and expect my team to carry those out. We'll try to play the way we've always played and hopefully think of a couple of little things that we can do that will help us with Blake."
Obviously a lot's been made about Blake Griffin and the season he's had at Oklahoma. Just your thoughts on him as a player, and are you looking forward to the matchup against him?
"Yeah, I mean, clearly he's a good player. I really don't watch a lot of college basketball, so I haven't caught many of his games. I understand the hype surrounding him, and I've seen some highlights of him. He's a pretty impressive player. I'm not going to try to go out there and try to have a one on one match with him. I'm going to try to do whatever my team needs me to do to win. That's just going to be my focus."
How much sweeter would a win be tomorrow because Oklahoma's coach played for Duke?
"It's always good when we knock out a former Duke player, whatever. We're not really looking at it like that, but I guess, if you want to throw in some extra fuel to the fire, that's a way to look at it."
When you look at Oklahoma, do they remind you of anybody you played in the ACC?
"I don't think so. You know, I think their inside presence is a lot tougher than any ACC opponent that we played. And at the same time, they have a great perimeter play. I can't really think of one team specifically that we played that reminds me of them. But like I said, it's going to be a big time challenge for us."
Can you talk about the difference Danny makes when he's on versus the nights that he's off a little bit?
"I think Danny always finds a way to have an impact on the game, even when he's not making the shot. He finds a way to block shots and get rebounds and play some good defense. So even when he's not making the shots, you know, he's always having a positive impact on the game. You know, when he does make his shots, it's huge for us. He puts his shooting in with all the other things I just said. Either way, he's definitely an important piece for us."
First of all, what's the toe update? Any kind of swelling? How did it bounce back? Second of all, given the inside strength that Oklahoma has, how important is it on you perimeter guys to shoot well, to attack the basket, and to try to make you be the focus rather than the inside guys?
"My toe is feeling good. It didn't really swell up last night. It's not much pain in it. It's getting better.
"Just we're going to come out strong. We're still going to go inside first because that's our game plan. We're not going to change it because they're big down low. We're going to go inside, and when the opportunity comes back out, the ball comes back out, we're going to try to knock down the shots or get back in the lane and things like that, like we normally do.
"We're not going to try to change or be more aggressive, perimeter oriented just because they're good down low."
In terms of a year ago being able to take a look at the NBA, going to draft camp and come back. Talk about your decision to leave the NBA and your decision to come back now.
"I wanted to at least get back to the Final Four and win the national championship. I think my decision's real good. We're playing real well. We have a chance to get back there. I worked on things that a lot of people said I couldn't do, and I'm showing that I can do them now. I feel like it was a good decision."
Your thoughts on Blake Griffin and if you have seen enough to have any on Taylor and what role that he plays in the big picture for them.
"Like everyone up here said, Blake is definitely a good player. I think Taylor is one of the most underrated players in the country just for the fact that he doesn't get as much notoriety as he should playing beside his brother. He definitely is a solid player for them. Me, myself, Tyler, the other Tyler [Zeller] are going to have to do a good job down low containing them and having our teammates come down to help with everybody else rotating. It's going to be a good challenge for us."
I understand you and coach had a meeting after the tournament, after the ACC tournament just to talk about your play. Can you talk about that meeting and sort of the progression of your play during the NCAA tournament.
"Basically, the meeting was to see where my head was at, if anything was bothering me. If I had any distractions off the court. I just told him there was no real distractions, just had a bad weekend. From then on out, he basically just told me to not worry about anything else. If there's any distractions, he'd help me with it.
"But there was nothing else for us to talk about. He told me to just play basketball and not think about it. From then, I've just been playing and not really stressing or pressing or anything. And losing myself in the game, and things have gone my way."
Tyler has talked down this matchup with Griffen, but knowing him as you do, is this a big deal to him?
"Yeah, it's really big to him. He won't come out and admit it. Of course, he's going to say it's about the team winning and ultimately it is. But it's the same type of deal like when we played Notre Dame, going up against [Luke] Harangody and everybody saying it was a Harangody-Hansbrough matchup. He wants to prove everyone wrong, that he is better. He wants to out-perform him and get the win and just do everything he can to show how good he is. That's going to be what's motivating him."
How gratifying is it for you to be playing as well as you are after all of your injuries?
"I guess it's like a sandwich -- you start your career off really well, have a bad couple of middle years and then end it on the right note, so hopefully we can keep it going and I can keep it going and keep improving, making shots and making plays."