ROY WILLIAMS, JAMES MICHAEL MCADOO & TYLER ZELLER
Listen to Audio (11:56)
Can you walk us through sort of the process of ruling John out today, just the decision making and how he was doing?
"At shoot around this morning, I didn't even really want to do a shoot around. We normally have a guideline, if we play three o'clock or before we don't. So today was 4:00, but I decided to have it just because I wanted to see what John could do. He can catch the ball now, he can palm the ball now. Got him into post and said, all right, let me see you make ball fake drop step where you have to take a two hand power dribble and then lay it up, and he was able to do it and catch it, but it didn't look like he was very comfortable with it.
"So he went to the other side and did the same thing. And I went to him and I said, John, it just doesn't look like you're comfortable. And he says, coach, not really, but I'm right there. And I just made the decision at that time that I wasn't going to play him. And I said that it's not an easy decision, I'm not holding you out saying that we're going to win, I'm just holding you out because I think it's best for you. If you're always trying to save somebody for the next game, your rear end may be going home.
"So it will be the same type of procedure tomorrow. We'll have a short practice. It has gotten a little bit better each and every day, but it hasn't gotten better at the same rate as it was earlier in the week. I would think that if you had asked me yesterday, I would have said it's a little less than 50/50 that he was going to play today. And now, if it continues, I would say it's a little better than 50/50 that he would play Sunday. But if he still feels the same way, I won't play him."
It seemed like early you were getting into the paint a lot like trying, you guys were trying to use that size advantage. And was that really kind of the game plan going in or how was that?
"I think the big thing was we're always trying to get the ball inside, whether our guards are dribbling in or it's bigs are able to post, but I think the biggest thing was they're not used to playing bigs as big as us and quick as us, so it's something we knew we had an advantage and we just tried to take advantage of it from the beginning."
Your first half the missed shots was that kind of just getting your feet under you and kind of being a little bit too amped up playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time?
"I don't know how much of it was just getting my feet under me. I felt I was taking good shots; they just weren't going in. And seeing that I really just tried to get to the offensive boards, I feel like I was able to get to the free throw line, and I was able to get that dunk. And then just coming back in the second half, I just tried to be aggressive and things seemed to just fall in my lap."
Listen to Audio (3:03)
On how the team moves forward not knowing about Henson's status:
"We prepare for Creighton the same way we prepared for Vermont. We know he's either going to be with us or not. But either way, we can look at it as though he's in foul trouble. We still have to find a way to play without him. If he's in there, he's going to be able to help us. That's great for our team. If he's not, we have other players who can step up."
On the win:
"I think it's big for us. Get the jitters out. We've been so excited about the tournament, just watching all of the games yesterday. You just want to get out there and throw the ball up. So I think it's huge for us. Obviously our goal is to win six in a row, but you can't get to six without that first one."
Listen to Audio (1:57)
On the slow start offensively:
"I thought we were getting some good looks; some wide open threes. Z, myself and James Michael all missed some lay-ups in there, so I don't think it was anything necessarily that they did. We just missed some open shots."
Listen to Audio (11:14)
"First I would like to congratulate North Carolina. Very good team. They beat us tonight and I wish them the best of luck the rest of the way. Real proud of our guys. I thought we battled the whole game. We gave everything we had out there. We just needed some more shots to fall and 20 turnovers is too many against a team like North Carolina. But we battled, we left it all out there, we had a great year. I want to thank my seniors, Matt Glass and Pat Bergmann for everything they gave to this program over the last four years, five years, and everything they have done for me personally. We're going to miss them and couldn't be more proud of them the way they played tonight.
"It's hard when your season ends, but we have had a great year. We're a young team, the experiences that we had this year winning a NCAA tournament game for only the second time in school history, winning our conference championship on the road, these guys are tough, tough group of guys. Battled through a lot and I just can't be more proud of them and honored to be their coach.
"So it's tough though. It's a tough thing when your season ends and it's hard to come to grips with that. But again, congratulations to North Carolina, a very good team and I wish them all the best in the tournament."