"It was a sensational feeling for our kids. Me as a coach I'm going off the floor … I didn't really realize it too much until afterwards when somebody said something. My first year at Kansas we played Oklahoma and they were ranked No. 1 in the country and we dressed out seven players – that's all we had. … We took the game against Stacey King, Mookie Blaylock into overtime and lost, 81-80. That's the only other time I can ever remember anything like that happening.
"The crowd the other night was sensational. If we had been just a little bit better, it would have been one of the great nights for North Carolina basketball. I've said many times that the more you invest, the more you get out of it. And you [fans] invested a heck of a lot and I got to think you got a heck of a lot out of it. It was a great night, we just came up a little bit short"
On passing the test at Miami on Sunday -
"Two different times, too, [we passed the test]. We had to come out early and play well because of the disheartening loss to Duke. We came out early and hit 'em -- made a bunch of shots which always makes everything look better. And then for them to come back and take the lead a couple times in the second half and every time they did that we answered back. That was the most impressed I've been with my basketball team all year. There's no question about that."
On being 4-1 on the road -
"Yeah, and I told them last night on the bus – I said, ‘Well, for one thing, we're supposed to practice today and I'm going to give you the day off so enjoy and feel good about what you did. And the other thing is let's think about playing our butt's off at home on Wednesday night.' This team really is understanding itself about one game at a time and trying to prepare for each team as it comes along.
"Again, the toughness: Tyler with everybody in the house around him, Bobby making tough shots. He [Bobby] got wiped out on a really tough screen and came up and grabbed his shoulder. One of my assistants asked if we needed to take him out and I said, ‘No, let's see how tough he is.' And the little rascal was tough as nails. Reyshawn did some good things, Marcus came in and got some offensive rebounds for us. Everybody who was in the game contributed."
On Tyler Hansbrough winning his 7th Rookie of the Week honor -
"In my opinion, it should be eight. He should have been Rookie of the Week last week for what he did … [Getting first-team All-ACC] I think depends on how our team finishes. I've always said the teams that win, their players get the awards and rewards. And if we finish out we'll be justifiably rewarded for that. I'm just happy as can be for him. He's having a phenomenal year – for a freshman, for anybody."
On the team's success thus far despite losing its top seven scorers -
"I couldn't be prouder of a group of kids than what we have right now. They've been an absolute joy to be with every trip. We've had 74 practices; I've probably left practice mad two or three times and that's pretty hard because I'm pretty demanding.
"They've been a great group of kids – I'll give you an example. Marcus Ginyard has struggled a little bit lately, and yet came up with two big offensive rebounds for us and did a good job defensively. At 11:30 this morning he walks into the weight room at the Smith Center with three basketballs to go out and work on his shot – he'd already been to two classes and today was his day off, yet he was coming down to work on his shot. … Every one of them all the way down the line is trying to do the very best they can possibly do. These kids have been great fun. They're really hilarious to be around. … Boy, you're talking about a great group of kids. I love 'em to death -- especially when they play good and make jump shots."
How is Tyler enduring the physical play and why aren't the refs calling fouls more?
"I do think it's very physical inside. We've talked for years about cleaning up post play and they're trying. He is so strong with the ball that I think sometimes the referee is saying ‘It looked like he was fouled, but maybe he wasn't because he didn't lose it.' Yet he's losing his touch because people are hanging on him. It's an extremely difficult game to call because the game has gotten so big, fast and quick. Yesterday he went up for a shot, one referee called a foul and another one called a walk. And the walk took precedent and I was dumbfounded. Yet he did walk on that play, so sometimes Roy is wrong, but not very often."
What are the respective roles of the assistant coaches before, during and just after the games – and how do you work with them?
"We have different responsibilities during the game. In practices, Steve Robinson and Jerod Haase work with perimeter players and Joe Holladay works with me with the post players. Once the game starts, Coach Holliday keeps track of team fouls and individual players, Jerod keeps the minutes played so I know how long somebody has been in the game without a rest or on the bench. Coach Robinson is always writing things down because I'll say ‘Write this down, write this down,' so that every timeout I've got those things there to say something about it.
"The other thing is, our guys are actually coaches. In the old days you'd have some guys who are more recruiters than coaches, but our guys are basketball coaches who can help our kids improve and they have to do a great job at recruiting as well. Each one of the guys works extremely hard during practice. We have certain time periods during practice where we'll split up into stations and rotate. I was taught most of what I know about basketball by the best there ever was – Coach Smith."
On recruiting from in-state –
"I always want to have the best kids. If they're good enough to keep us at the top-level of college basketball, I want them [to be] from North Carolina."
On playing Georgia Tech Wednesday –
"We're worried sick, as you should be in every ACC game regardless of where you play. Zam Frederick played 23 minutes and scored 22 points against State. They create matchup problems for us with Tarver and Jeremis Smith and Ra'Sean Dickey up front. It's going to be a difficult matchup for David [Noel] because he'll have to guard a much bigger guy. Morrow, the youngster from Charlotte, is really having a big-time year and is one of the best shooters in the league. And as I said earlier in the show, we have to really play well at home."
"Roy Williams Live" airs Monday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.