UNC-Duke: Doherty Press Conference

GREENSBORO – North Carolina basketball coach Mat Doherty was a bit solemn in his post game press conference after his Tar Heels fell to Duke, 75-63, in the semifinals of the 50th Annual Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday.

Here is some of what Doherty had to say about his team's 15th loss in 32 games.

Opening remarks

Congratulations to Duke. During the first half they shot the ball extremely well. Some of that was our poor defense, but they are a great shooting team. When they shoot the ball like that they are really tough to beat. Our kids didn't quit and that was important to me and anybody that follows Carolina basketball.

On Sean May playing

That was all based on a decision his family made. Sean wanted to play two weeks ago. But his doctors, parents and coaches make decisions. They think in the best interests of a young man's future. He was chomping at the bit. After the Duke win at home it was the lowest I had seen him. Yesterday after the Maryland game he was down. He had a little emptiness and wanted to be a part of it. He had practiced and done some very good things. His family gave him the nod to play 15 minutes and our doctors okay-ed that. If we are fortunate enough to play next week I believe he will be able to play a little bit more.

On May being back effecting the Heels

That's always an issue. I talked to the team and talked to Sean. I told Sean he was going to have to adapt to us. We are a different team since he went out of the lineup. We are a better team with Sean. He did some good things right when he went in the game. In terms of team chemistry, I don't think that was an issue. They were more energized than we were. When the ball goes through the hoop you get energized. It wasn't going through the hoops for us and that sucked some energy out of us.

On NCAA tournament chances

Do we have an outside shot at the NCAA tournament? We have beaten three top-10 teams, the only team in the league (ACC) to do that. Sean is back. I think the NCAA Committee weighs injury. That may help us. I know it will be a very, very long shot. I understand that. If we don't get invited I imagine we will get invited to the NIT. We will gladly play in the NIT and go there with the intention of winning it.

On the NIT possibly being a silver lining because it means Sean and the Heels could play more games than in a one and done in the NCAAs

When I was at Notre Dame we were, us and Vanderbilt, were on the fringe there, on the bubble, we both got knocked out of the NCAA tournament and didn't get invited. We took advantage of that NIT experience and lost the finals to Wake Forest. And I really think that is a springboard to future success. Any time you can play in a tournament environment against great teams you're going to get better. Whether Sean could play or not, I'd still want to play because we will get better from that experience.

There's only so many games you get to play in a North Carolina uniform. I remember taking that uniform off for the last time. It hurts. It hurts. So, if you can play as many games as you can wearing that uniform you do it.

Senior writer Andrew Jones is in his seventh year with Inside Carolina. He also covers the ACC for the Wilmington Star-News/Morning Star and can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.

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