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Coach Williams Emphasizing Rebounding Heading Into NCAA Opener

By Matt Oakes Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm

UNC Men’s Basketball Head Coach Roy Williams says this time of year, every team gets new life. But in order for the Tar Heels to make a deep push into the NCAA Tournament, Coach Williams believes some things need to be corrected.

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“Yesterday was a good practice. We got today and tomorrow. And then we’ll go and practice out there some on Thursday. Everybody’s got to understand now if you don’t play well you don’t get a do-over. If you don’t play well now, you go home,” Coach Williams says.

Those were Coach Williams’ thoughts at his pre-tournament press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Smith Center.

The Tar Heels, once dominant in the statistical category of rebounding, have seemingly lost their edge in that department over the past two games, both losses to Duke and Pittsburgh.

Coach Williams doesn’t hesitate. He says that’s the biggest key to Carolina’s success in the Big Dance.

“41 points off offensive rebounds against us the last two games – you can’t do that and win. Even if we were playing Providence or anybody else, it would probably be the number one thing we have to work on,” Coach Williams says.

Tar Heels tipping off (Todd Melet)

Tar Heels tipping off (Todd Melet)

Carolina’s opponent, No. 11 seed Providence, should be a handful for UNC. Coach Williams says the Tar Heels are expecting a tough battle from the Big East Tournament champions.

“You look at the stats. They’ve had the same five starters for 34 games. That’s pretty impressive. His club has done a nice job. They’ve played six overtime games. It’s a team that’s played great down the stretch. Maybe in their mind, they thought they needed to play great to get into the Tournament,” Coach Williams says.

NC Central will be joining Carolina in San Antonio this weekend. Coach Williams says he was willing to buddy up on the same flight down to Texas with Head Coach LeVelle Moton and the Eagles.

“I was very pleased for LeVelle. He’s a really a good guy. He’s a guy that I’ve got to know quite a bit since I came back here eleven years ago. I jokingly called him and said we ought to take the same plane and see if the NCAA would give us some money back instead of giving us the expenses for two planes. I told him I would flip for it to see who got the exit row,” Coach Williams says.

But for now, the Tar Heels have their eyes firmly looking inward, trying to clean up their act for a deep postseason push. Coach Williams says Monday’s practice was one of the best of the entire year, but he wants a full week of great prep work to be ready to face off against the Friars Friday night.

“Yesterday’s practice was one of our best practices of the year. I told them we need to do that four days in a row before we’re going to gain something from it,” Coach Williams says

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