Were you looking for anything specifically during Monday’s practice?
“Not anything specific. We’ve got to get better in every phase of the game. We haven’t shot 27 percent in many halves, but the reason we did that is because we lost our poise and took bad shots in the first half. We’ve been taking better shots. At the same time, we didn’t play on the defensive end with nearly the sense of urgency that we wanted to.
"The first day of practice we worked on crossing the lane and helping and getting back on the weak side and helping the helper, and that cost us two lay-ups. So we worked on that. We really worked on every phase of the game, but that’s how we’ve done all year, even when we got beat by 1,000 in some of those early games, too.”
Given that you were on such a roll before Saturday, are you concerned about your team’s confidence being shaken heading into the postseason?
“I think as a coach you’re always worried about that. But at the same time, I don’t think it was false confidence. I think we were playing pretty well. And so I don’t think you can let one game crush you and lead to another one and another one. That does happen with some teams that struggle quite a bit. But we had been playing pretty well, so hopefully we’ll handle it that way.”
Do you approach the ACC Tournament any different given your circumstances this year as opposed to other years when you’re No 1 in the country?
“I’ve never thought of it that way. People think I don’t get that fired up, but be realistic. But when we’ve been No. 1, I’ve wanted to win the dadgum thing. I still want to win the dadgum thing. I think you can help yourself for the next tournament and we’ve always been interested in that, too.
“The only year that I can say I looked at the ACC Tournament differently was in 2010. I thought we had to win the dadgum thing to keep playing. And the rest of the years, I’m pretty sure they’re all the same.”
On the small lineup:
“We’re going to stay with P.J. as the 4-man, there’s no question. But during the course of different games, we might play big guys more. It’s getting too much credit, because our players are the ones that did it – but that lineup has been better for us, so we’ll stick with that right now. But Ol’ Roy is not going to be small for the rest of his coaching career, I tell you.”
On the inconsistency in frequency of getting to the free throw line:
“Pace of the game is always one of the reasons. Number of possessions when you’re playing. If somebody wants to go slower, you’re not going to have as many possessions, so that’s the first one. The second one is how aggressive are we? You can be aggressive two ways – taking a quick three with a good shooter, and that still may be okay, or attacking the basket. And I’ve always liked to attack the basket, either by dribble or pass. But the other teams have to cooperate, they have to foul you and sometimes foul you when you’re taking bad shots.
“Still, I think it goes back to the pace of the game. And then if we’re ahead and they’re fouling at the end… The number of free throw attempts is skewed so much in those situations. We’ve had teams this year that chose not to foul down the stretch and we’ve had other teams that keep sending us to the free throw line. So a lot of it involves the other team. We’ve always forced the issue in the past because we’ve attacked so much.”
Have your guys talked about maybe getting another crack at Duke?
“They better not be. We better figure out we’ve got to play somebody on Friday.”