You can find video of the postgame presser here
Start off by giving Carolina a ton of credit. They obviously were ready to play. I think on our end, it shows the importance of practice, and the lack of practice and the continuity that we lost just because of the last three weeks. We’ve got to figure out how to get better from here. It starts with having that ability to practice consistently every single day, and we need that. We need that stuff in the middle of February - take off three weeks sporadically, practicing every few days, some guys being able to do individuals, guys being out. Wasn’t fun today, but like we did after we played against Wisconsin earlier in the year, we’ve got to be able to figure out what was broken, and get better at.
(On the locker room message)
First, address some things that I think we had control of, regardless of how much we practice, and that was our inability to keep them off the glass in the first 10 minutes. They had 10 offensive rebounds in 12 minutes, they had several of them on missed free throws. Then our inability to get back - we’ve been a really good transition defensive team all year. Obviously, Carolina’s as fast as it gets. They have a relentless pace to them, and we didn’t get the job done in those two areas. But, be that as it may, we have to turn the page. We got a good team coming in on Tuesday, and we have to make sure that we use tomorrow’s practice, and Monday’s practice, to improve our basketball team and get back where we feel like we were, and obviously we weren’t today. But, you just gotta stick together. You gotta stick together through tough times, and our guys have done that all year in the situation that every team finds themself in the country with COVID and whatnot. We have to be able to stick together, and worry about what’s important, and improving our basketball team here the next two days in practice.
(On UNC’s 29 assists, and their ability to make the right passes)
Well I think their pressure bothered us deep in the first half, and it created some run outs for them. Again, when you give Carolina second and third chances, it puts so much less pressure on that first shot. Obviously, Kerwin Walton got extremely hot in the first half, which we knew that. We had one day to prepare, but we knew that he was the best shooter on our team, and we allowed him to get pretty clean looks. But when they did miss, they had the ability to go get it and put it back in, and that’s just going to give a team confidence. We needed to shut that faucet off, and we did not. Again, that gave them a lot more confidence, and then we started letting our offense dictate our defensive effort for the better part of the last half.
(On what happened after the first 10 minutes of game time)
I mean, there’s so much you’re trying to cover in a day. Hindsight is 20/20, we got hurt trying to post trap. They were just quicker to the big guy diving. We lost vision a few times, we didn’t get where we needed to get. That was a heavy emphasis, because of what Carolina does so well. Just too short of a turnaround for us to be able to implement all that stuff in a day. But I think the game got away from us when we started turning the ball over in the end of the first half. We let their pressure, whether it was pressuring the basketball, whether it was not having the ability to get open for a teammate trying to catch the ball at 40 feet, as opposed to backdoor cutting and maybe having another teammate fill his spot, we could not run our offense close enough to the three-point line that gave them transition baskets that, quite honestly, we hadn’t given it up really all year. But, again, there’s a lot that we got to get better at after today.
(On the open three-point shooting woes)
We got some rubbery legs, we need to get on that practice floor day in and day out. We need to get - our team needs to get in a rhythm for three weeks. We’ve had two practices, then we’re off. Practice, and then we’re off. Guys are allowed to come in individually on their own, with no managers or coaches, it’s just been, it’s been a unique experience. It manifested itself in a very poor effort today that we’ve got to bounce back from.
(On the importance of the next two practices)
As important as any two practices we’ve had all year. God willing, knock on wood, we can practice tomorrow, we can practice Monday. We’ve got to correct some things, we’ve got to be able to play with an edge on the defensive end. Then offensively, we’ve got to be able to get the ball to the guys that we want to get it to, and they’ve got to be able to convert those opportunities. We got to get second chance points, like Carolina did against us today. We got to get a lot back.
(On Malik Williams’ season debut, and how he would assess it taking into account the rust)
Yeah, that’s how I would assess it. I’m sure he’d say the same thing. It was good to have him back out there on the floor. We knew he wouldn’t be mistake free. But, as he gets practice time under his belt, as he gets more opportunities in games, he’ll start to develop a comfort level that he had a year ago. I’m sure there were a lot of nerves. I’m sure conditioning isn’t where he wants it. But, it’s good to have him back on the floor, obviously.
(On their overall effort)
We probably played hard for about the first eight or 10 minutes of the game, hard enough. We certainly were, again, not mistake free. We gave up several offensive rebounds in those first 10 minutes, really set the tone for Carolina. I thought we drooped our heads. I thought we felt sorry for ourselves the last 25-30 minutes of the game. It’s been a wacky three weeks, I’ll be honest. But we’ve got a group that that wants way more out of the season, than we showed today. We’ve got to have two really good practices here, Sunday and Monday. Get better, and get ready for Notre Dame.
(On if his locker room message sunk in)
It was a bad day for our team, they’re competitors. It didn’t show itself today, but you don’t play this game for as long as our guys have, and and not feel miserable. But we had to respond better. We had to respond better during the game, and we didn’t. We’ve got a team that is learning lessons for the very first time, we have a team that’s going through things and no other team in the history of our programs gone through. It’s got to make them more resilient, got to make them tougher. Our next two days of practice, as I keep saying, have to be a lot better. I thought guys were eyes up in the locker room, we’re gonna stick together. We’re going to become a better team over these next couple days, we’re gonna play much better against Notre Dame than we did against North Carolina. We’re going to need to, and we’re going to have to continue to improve. I don’t doubt the character of our guys in our locker room. We were just not very good today. There’s probably a lot of reasons for that, but we got to look forward.