Update on the health of Joel James and Reggie Bullock:
“Joel will not be making the trip with us to Atlanta. We hate that. We thought there was going to be a possibility that he would be able to practice today and go but he’s still in a position where he still has headaches. They’re hoping that it will clear up really soon. He’s getting a lot better and feels a lot better about the whole thing. He’s just not quite there yet.
“Reggie’s back is bothering him. His knee is bothering him. He’s going through the dog days of the season right here getting beat up quite a bit. I didn’t help him any by playing him 36 minutes on Saturday but he probably liked that. I've got to give him a few more breathers during the course of the game. He practiced yesterday and practiced today. I did try to take him out a couple of more times than I normally would during the course of practice. It is a tough time of the year when you’re going to have a lot of aches and pains.”
Comments on the disparity between minutes allocated to players over the past couple of games against Duke and Virginia:
“Against Miami we could have played the managers or something you know we were getting beat by 88 points. It doesn’t make any difference in that game. We’ve talked about it as a staff and had another meeting in the locker room with just the staff right after the Miami game. After that game I was going to go recruit and I wasn’t coming back to the team and I just wanted to get some different ideas to throw out to the staff and the ideas I was thinking about.
"Then when we met on Sunday to grade the tape we talked about it quite a bit more. One of the things we talked about was condensing the line-up how many minutes everybody was playing and shortening the rotation. But when you get in their if do some good things you get a chance to do it again. We’ll still play a lot of people but the last two games I felt like it gave us the best chance to win to keep those guys in.”
Thoughts on the win over Virginia on Saturday in the Smith Center:
“I’ve always said I like the game in the 80’s, 90’s or 100's but you’ve got to be able to figure out how to win in the 50’s and 60's as well. Virginia does a great job of keeping the game there. It was mind-boggling for them to shoot 58.5 percent for the game and for us to still win the game. Where we hurt them was points off turnovers and we got some offensive rebounds. We had more second chance points than they did. It’s hard, you don’t usually win if you give up 58 percent.”
On improved free throw shooting being a big part of victory on Saturday:
“Well it was. The fact of the matter is we shot a lot of free three’s, made a lot of three’s but we were still trying to attack the basket as well. I think getting thirty free throws that’s something that we really need. I’d like to make a few more but 22-for-30 is better than we’ve been shooting them. Every day in practice we’re trying to keep working on it. There’s so many different ways you can win and our job is to try and find whatever that way is to find how to win on game night.”
Thoughts on the solid performances of Marcus Paige and Dexter Strickland:
“Dexter in his last two games has been in double figures. I think the game against Virginia was Marcus’s best game of the year. I know Virginia Tech he made some big hoops for us at the end to help us win the game but he was really good. I think he was second on the team for defensive player of the game grading. He really did some good things.
"One of my favorite plays of the game is when there’s a loose ball and it’s thrown way up in the air and he’s going up with two other big guys from Virginia and instead of going up and trying to get it, he just tapped it to his teammate. That’s the kind of savvy you’ve got to be able to make those kind of plays if you want to be a great team.”
On Tyler Zeller having his jersey honored on Saturday and the array of former UNC players in attendance at the Smith center :
“His jersey goes in the rafters. Mom and Dad were there. John Henson and Kendall Marshall two of his teammates were there from the NBA due to the all-star break. It was great. At half, I didn’t get to see Lenny Rosenbluth and Tyler Hansborough being honored as two of the best players in the 75-year history of the NCAA tournament. I did see some of the pictures and the whole bit but I was not able to be out there. Having all those guys back… had Raymond Felton’s in the gym today working out. It’s good to see those guys and they like the break as well.”
How’s Leslie McDonald doing working his way back into the lineup after missing several games?
“He’s been getting a lot of minutes. I think Saturday was maybe his best game since coming back. I think he had three field goals, and had one three. We need him to make jump shots. Then if he’s not, he’s got to do something else to keep us putting him in the game. He’s a big time threat. If he’s making shots and P.J.'s making shots and Reggie’s making shots then all of a sudden it opens up the defense and so many other things can happen good for you.”