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January 5, 2009North Carolina head coach Roy Williams continued to give praise to Boston College Monday morning---just hours after his Tar Heels suffered their first loss of the 2008-2009 regular season at the hands of the Eagles---in the ACC weekly coaches' teleconference. Williams also talked about some of the injuries plaguing senior Marcus Ginyard, and what the team will have to do to get back on track.
"We congratulated Boston College, Al (Skinner) and his staff last night. We felt like we should still be doing that today. They totally out-played us last night. We didn't play nearly as well as we wanted to play, so say the least. We never could get over the hump, but they came in and really did a nice job."
"It's hard to believe they're an unranked team or they're picked to finish last or 11th (in the ACC) or whatever. If it is, it's going to be a long year for the Tar Heels, too. They did a great job and deserved to win. We've got to get some things going again or going period, and hopefully we'll play well against Charleston and have our second conference game this weekend (at Wake Forest)."
How did the series with College of Charleston come about, and what went into the decision to travel to Charleston and play a road game there next season?
"It's just because of Bobby Cremins and the respect that I have for him. I do love Charleston. We own a home down there at Wild Dunes. There's no question that it's one of my favorites places to play golf, sit on the beach, and eat seafood, but I don't think I'll be doing any of those three when we come back next year to play."
"Bobby had talked to me about coming and opening their new arena, but we couldn't get that one exactly worked out, but he thought it would be nice for their program and nice for him (for us to travel to Charleston). I'm dumb enough to play a home-and-home at Princeton several years ago when I was at Kansas, and take a team to the Palestra (in Philadelphia) just because our radio announcer had never done a game in the Palestra, so I've been dumb enough to do a lot of things."
Is there concern that Marcus Ginyard's foot injury doesn't seem to be getting better, or could linger into February or later?
"We don't see him doing the things that we've seen him do in the past---moving and the way that he's been able to do in the past---we don't see that right now. He's frustrated by it, because he'd like to play better. I'm not frustrated, because I know that the kid is giving me everything he has."
What did Boston College do to make things so difficult for UNC Sunday night?
"They played well. I mean, Rakim Sanders makes four-of-seven from three (point-range) in the first half against us, and he's been shooting 29 percent from three all year. They rebounded---they had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half. We didn't get them to turn it over. They only had two turnovers (in the opening half), so a lot of the things that we've been making a living on in the past, we were not able to do that. They made plays, and we had some nice opportunities, and we didn't take advantage of them."
Was there not enough of a challenge for this team going into conference play?
"That's what everybody says, and you guys (reporters) have got to have something to write about, but I don't know what to do about it. I know that every game we've played, I have never considered just taking the ball out of bounds and handing it to them 15 straight times or 10 straight times to make it a close game at the end."
"We played Notre Dame (in Maui) when they were ranked in the Top 10. We played at Michigan State---they were preseason ranked in the Top 10. We played 'true' road games at (UC) Santa Barbara, and a 'true' road game at Reno (to play Nevada). When you make out the schedule you think it's a good schedule, and it is a good schedule. We just played very well on game nights and shot the ball well, and last night we shoot 29 percent in the second half. Again, it's what it is. There's nothing I can do to change it, but we just didn't play well last night."
How would you assess the play of Ed Davis to this point in the season?
"I think Ed's really done some nice things. He's showing us that he's a legitimate shot blocker. He's showing us that he's a legitimate rebounder. Those are things that you can always use. He's a wonderful kid. He's trying to do everything we ask, trying to get better every single day. In the preseason I never sit down and say, 'Okay, this person is going to play eight minutes (per game), and this person is going to play 14 minutes.' I let them determine it by how they play in the preseason. Ed did a really nice job for us."
"With Tyler Zeller being out, and Tyler Hansbrough being out for those four or five games or whatever it was, I think it did give Ed some opportunities to get some more time, and he took advantage of it."
Marcus had a sleeve on his right leg last night. Is that a new injury, and how much did you miss having a healthy Marcus Ginyard out there last night?
"I said in the preseason our best three defenders were Bobby (Frasor), Marcus, and Tyler (Hansbrough), and we were missing two of those---not in the preseason, but in pre-conference play. He took a whack on his knee I guess the day before the Boston College game in practice, and I have no idea if that sleeve was to help that, or if it's just Marcus making another fashion statement---with him, you never know."
You talked a lot about defense with this team during the preseason. Where do you think this team is now in terms of being a good defensive team, and what do you want to do to make it better?
"I think that we were really good early defensively. We hit a little lull when we missed all the practice time for exams and Christmas. We started playing better defensively probably in the last week in practice and maybe the one game (against Nevada), and then last night, Rakim Sanders---who's been shooting 29 percent (from three-point range)---makes four out of seven in the first half, and two of them, when we graded the tape, we gave the guys 'Good Defense,' because they were right in his face. He just made tough shots."
"I think we're better right now than we were at this stage last year, and at times during the course of our playing we have been better this year than we were even at the end of the year last year, but we've still got to get a lot better. We broke down last night quite a bit (defensively). We didn't get any turnovers in the first half."
"They (Boston College) do have a ball-control guard (Tyrese Rice) who was first-team All-ACC last year I think, and I know was first-team preseason All-ACC this year. So you've got to give he (Rice) and the rest of his teammates at Boston College credit for not turning it over. We'd like to get more than two turnovers in a half---there's no question---we got nine in the second half and that's close to about what we've been averaging getting opponents. Each and every day in practice we're going to try to get better in every area."