North Carolina coach Roy Williams was in rare form tonight on his weekly radio show. Williams was still fuming over the Tar Heels’ performance in their 63-59 loss at UAB Sunday and several times made references to how "ticked off" he was.
Rebounding, in particular, drew his ire because he believed the Heels simply didn’t play hard enough at times and it was reflected by the Blazers’ 52-37 advantage on the boards.
“We’ve got to play harder, that’s the discouraging thing because, as I said, I don’t think I should coach effort,” Williams said. “I should coach the execution of what we’re doing. I think the other team gave more effort yesterday. That does bother me a great deal.”
That could be trouble as Carolina ventures into Michigan State on Wednesday for the ACC/Big Ten challenge. MSU coach Tom Izzo felt he had a similar problem with his team rebounding, so he brought back his infamous “war drill.” Izzo has occasionally put his players in football pads to prepare them for the contact during the drill, which essentially involves an intentionally missed shot and players going all out to scrap up the ball.
Maybe the Tar Heels could use the same -- the Spartans are currently enjoying a plus-five rebounding advantage over its opponents. From the sounds of it, Williams is waging his own battle to get his team to play with more effort. He said he’s already changed the itinerary for Wednesday, adding that, “I’m going to be one of the meanest blanket blanks in the next 48 hours.”
Just like the Heels bounced back after losing to Belmont, Williams believes they will respond against the Spartans.
“I think we will play really well Wednesday night, is that going to be good enough? We’ll have to wait and see,” Williams said. “They’re going to draw a line in the sand. I’m going to step across. I hope some players come with me.”