UNC notes: Bouncing back, starting five

Some notes from North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who spoke Monday during the ACC's weekly conference call:

MCADOO BOUNCEBACK? North Carolina’s 26-point loss at Miami on Saturday was particularly tough for forward James Michael McAdoo, who posted only his second single-digit scoring performance of the season (six points on 3-for-12 shooting).

How he responds at No. 2 Duke on Wednesday night will be key to whether the Tar Heels have any chance of pulling off an upset in the rivalry game.

“I hope he bounces back greatly,’’ Williams said. “I’ve had some players in the past – Kirk Hinrich [at Kansas], when he played poorly, the next game, he was going to be off the charts good. I told him I’d rather he play real good and real good.

“I don’t think we have enough body of work to [know] how James Michael bounces back.”

As much as McAdoo struggled, Williams said the Hurricanes should also be credited for their performance against UNC’s leading scorer. “It’s not just about how North Carolina does; I mean, James Michael takes it to the basket to dunk it twice, and [Miami’s Kenny] Kadji blocks both of them,’’ Williams said. “There’s not many guys in the country who can do that. And that makes it look like James Michael couldn’t succeed on that play, as opposed to what a great play Kadji [makes].”

Williams said he continues to be “very concerned” about McAdoo’s sore back. It bothered the sophomore on Friday, Williams said, but on Saturday morning the player said it felt good.

STARTING CHOICES: Williams used a plethora of different combinations to try to get something going at Miami, saying Monday: “If you're getting your tail beat by 26, I don't think you can stay with the same lineup. I think you have to keep trying to change some things.”

But one combination he hasn’t changed recently: the starting lineup. And when he was asked what he sees out of the starters (McAdoo, Desmond Hubert, Reggie Bullock, Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland) that makes him believe he has the right five opening both halves, it didn’t sound like that would change.

The coach’s response: “They’re the five best because they won the job in practice. Period. The end. There’s no question, they’ve won the job in practice.”

Williams noted that he often makes a change within the first four or five minutes in a game, usually pulling Paige to give the point guard an early breather. "I worry about a freshman, a 160-pound freshman in this league playing 35 minutes in the game,'' he said. "I would like to have him at the end of the season. I don't want to wear him down.”

Bullock, who led the team with 14 points, played 26 minutes. Reserve P.J. Hairston the second-leading scorer with 11 points, played 19 minutes.

QUOTE-WORTHY: How does Williams feel about being the underdog Wednesday night against the Blue Devils?

“I love being the underdog if I’m pretty doggone good,’’ he said. “If you’re not very good, it doesn’t make any difference. … We haven’t had many chances to be the underdog in the 10 years I’ve been back, but I’d rather be the favorite because that means you’re really good. It does give you some things to use, psychologically and all that junk. But I’d rather be the favorite; I’d rather be really good.”