CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina grabbed the #1 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sunday.
Steve Kirschner, UNC Senior Associate A.D. for Communications, released Head Coach Roy Willams statements on the accomplishment.
Statements from head Coach Roy Williams on North Carolina receiving the No. 1 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional:
“It’s special to be a No. 1 seed. The most special thing is to see the way our kids reacted when they saw our name as a No. 1 seed and they put North Carolina up there. I just love the way they were genuinely excited. They’re kids. We’ve enjoyed some good moments, and we’ve had some difficult ones like the one against Duke in the ACC Tournament or Virginia or Louisville. But at the same time, I love the excitement.
“When I decide to retire, which hopefully is a few years down the road, I’ll look back on 13 No. 1 seeds and feel good about it. But for now, I’ve got my team, we’re playing in the NCAA Tournament and people think we’ve had a pretty good year.”
On if he had realistic hopes of a No. 1 seed after losing the way UNC did at Michigan in November:
“I don’t look that far down the road, but I really thought we could be a lot better than we played that night. I was really discouraged, because I didn’t think we competed, which always irritates me more than anything. We didn’t play well, we didn’t compete, we had no fire, no energy, no enthusiasm. That was a low point, there’s no question. But I didn’t think about way down the line. I just wanted to play a heck of a lot better in our next game and start to get better each and every day.”
On how UNC improved and learned from its early-season losses:
“Two things that jump out at me when I look at the losses, particularly at Michigan and Louisville at home—I didn’t think we were ready to play. I think we just waltzed out there and thought it was going to be easier than it was really going to be, and then both teams hit us right in the mouth and we went back in reverse. We gave in. I think both games, we were embarrassed with our effort, intensity, brain and how involved we were.
“The Virginia loss, if there’s one-tenth of a second more at the half we’re going to have two extra points when Coby [White] lays it up when it’s not a shot clock violation … and if there was one-tenth of a second more when he made that three-pointer … those are pretty important points. That loss was pretty disheartening because it was at home. We’d already lost one at home and I didn’t want to lose any more. But the Michigan and Louisville games, I feel like we didn’t come ready to play. And part of that is on my rear end, too.”
On what is important for his team to learn between now and Friday’s game:
“I think a couple of things are really simple. We have to respect everyone and fear no one. We have to be ready to play the first day. If you play your tail off the first day, perhaps they’ll let you stay around and play somebody else. We’ve got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that we can practice. Let’s understand that we can still get a heck of a lot better. The great teams we’ve had that have won the national championship or made a big, big run to get into the Final Four, those practices in the NCAA Tournament were our best practices of the year. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”