What’s the biggest difference between the team that got off to a 1-4 start and the team that’s one three of last four games?
“You guys have heard this so much. I feel like I should create something else, but I think it’s just that we’ve played with a greater sense of urgency. I really do. We’ve put teams on the free throw line way too much, we’ve shot free throws a little bit better, you can figure out 10 or 15 things but I think really the reality is that we’ve just played with a much greater sense of urgency.”
Comments on James Michael McAdoo’s offensive prowess in ACC play and if there’s a desire for him to take more shots:
“I’ve almost never told someone how many times they should shoot. I look at the percentages. I really believe this, the only time I’ve ever told anyone how much I wanted him to shoot was I told Tyler Hansbrough he had to have at least 20 attempts—free throws and field goals combined—in every game or he wasn’t working hard enough. I thought that was really important to us to win, to get him the basketball but I think he’s the only I’ve ever told that.
"I look at James Michael’s percentage much more than I do shot attempts. I want him to be aggressive. I want him to be active but I look at field goal percentage. He might have been shooting the same number of shots earlier but I know his field goal percentage or his success were not near where it is right now.”
How does the defensive philosophy change when dealing with one primary scorer in T.J. Warren?
“Well it affects you a great deal because he also shoots a very high percentage. I think it’s 51.3 without even looking down. That being the case, he has to affect what you’re doing defensively. We have to be willing to help off of him. We have to understand that he does a great job of when he misses a shot going right back up to the board and getting the rebound and putting it back in. We’ve got to get a body on him and wall him if it’s inside and bother his shot if it’s outside, but then get a body on him and stop him from getting to the boards. He’s about as efficient of a player as there may be is in the league.”
Do you anticipate J.P. Tokoto guarding T.J. Warren?
“I would anticipate that starting out but they’ve played him at the four quite a bit also. It depends on what position he’s playing for them. I think he’s getting better and better defensively. He, as well as a lot of other guys on the team, has got to stop fouling as much. I think that J.P. before he quits is going to be one of the best defenders we’ve every had.”
Comments on the reason behind the improved play over the past few games:
“The losses, Wake Forest played harder. Miami, we turned it over a couple of times in crucial situations and they beat us to death on the backboards. Virginia was a very good team and I think they had a greater sense of urgency so I don’t think there’s one thing I’d pick out more than that.
"I’m not one of those guys that reads every statistical thing it says, you know you’ve made six percent more shots from six-foot-five inches than you did from six-foot-nine inches. I mean, I’m a basketball coach. I look at the big picture probably more so than study the stats. I study our stats to see if my thoughts are completely way off base. That’s the only reason I look at the stats.”
Is the starting lineup you’ve employed over the past couple of games one that you hope to keep?
“It’s not a very long streak if it’s just two games. I think I’ll wait a little while to see what it looks like.”
Comments on the enormity of the game against N.C. State in terms of ACC standings and confidence as a team:
“It’s just one game. Even though some people wanted to push me nobody helped me up to the top of the building when we were 1-3 and if we win tomorrow they’re not going to anoint me either. I think it’s just one game but it’s an important game. It’s an important game because it’s a game we’re getting ready to play but it’s North Carolina and North Carolina State. It’s an important game.”
Do you take any pride in the fact that you haven’t lost to N.C. State at home during your tenure at UNC?
“I take pride in beating anybody, anytime, anywhere, any place. If I didn’t say anything at all, nothing, not one word about 56 in a row then why do you think I’m going to say something about whatever. I guess we’ve played them 10 years. There’s a long way between 10 and 56. I didn’t say anything about that, never have and never will.”
Comments on the rivalry between UNC and NCSU:
“I always have appreciated the rivalry. I’ve enjoyed it. I think it is a big rivalry. It probably means more to me than a typical North Carolina fan. It’s just because of the closeness and some buddies that were North Carolina State students when I was in school here. It was a personal thing but again if that had any affect on tomorrow’s game I’d be really more appreciative of it.”
Do you feel like your team has turned the corner with free throw shooting?
“No. We were great the last game and could be the top line in the next game. Who knows.”