CHAPEL HILL– The No.19 North Carolina men’s basketball team begins their run at an ACC regular season championship Sunday night on the road against Wake Forest.
***Listen to the story***
The 10-3 Tar Heels will be focusing on building off their demolition of UNC-Wilmington on New Year’s Eve while the 10-3 Demon Deacons, winners of four of their last five contests, look to take advantage of UNC’s erratic play so far this season and garner a signature win.
Head Coach Roy Williams, 7-3 in conference openers, says he’s still trying to figure out the bipolar nature of his team.
“Our consistency I have not liked. At times, we’ve shown some things that we’re going to be okay defensively. Sometimes we’ve been a really good rebounding team, and sometimes we’ve been a sorry rebounding team. Sometimes, we’ve been extremely unselfish, and other times we’ve been selfish,” Coach Williams says.
The 8 p.m. Sunday start for the Tar Heels is not something Coach Williams is looking forward to. He says the late Sunday tip-offs throw off the whole weekly routine.
“It screws up the whole week. You got a game, and then all of a sudden they got five days of classes. You’re playing a Sunday night game, you’re sitting around all day, and you’re not in class. It’s not a normal day,” Coach Williams says.
With all the youth on the roster, Coach Williams says he’s unsure how prepared they will be for the intense grind of the conference season.
“They have no idea. All three of the freshmen have had more opportunities to get better. But it is a big time jump. It really is a big time jump. I always have the saying that the kids laugh at. You can’t come in their tiptoeing through the tulips. You got to come in and be ready to make a stand. Hopefully those guys will do it right from the start,” Coach Williams says.
James Michael McAdoo says he’s excited for the more normal routine that ACC play brings.
“I think it’s a lot of fun playing so many games and not have having to wait so long between games. It’s just the feeling of conference play and just being able to get into it and the excitement that comes with it each and every game,” McAdoo says.
Carolina leads the all-time series against Wake Forest 155-65 and beat the Demon Deacons handily in the Smith Center a year ago. But Sunday marks the first road game for the Tar Heels since their upset victory over then No.1 Michigan State back on Dec. 4.