North Carolina coach Roy Williams had a pointed message for a few Rams Club booster members during his radio show Monday night: If you’re going to sell your tickets to opposing fans, he doesn’t want you coming to games.
“For some of our fans to … get tickets through the Rams Club, and sell their tickets to UNLV boosters that are sitting right behind our families, I don’t like that,’’ he said. “And if the shoe fits, wear it. I don’t care who it is, and I’ll tell the sucker face-to-face: I do not like that, will not like that, don’t ever forget it. I’m trying to find out who it was.”
According to Williams, there was a UNLV fan sitting next to one of the Tar Heel coaches’ wives who was being so negative toward the team that his usually-non-confrontational high school coach turned around and said something to that fan. The seats behind UNC’s bench for road trips are usually reserved for families and Tar Heel faithful, so having the opposition there was particularly noticeable.
Williams has long been sensitive to who's sitting behind his bench; a couple years back, he was accused of having a Presbyterian College fan thrown out of the Smith Center after that fan was screaming for a UNC player at the free throw line to miss it; Williams insists he never asked for that fan to be escorted out, only to find out if the man had tickets for that section.
Williams on Monday stressed that 99.9 percent of the Tar Heel fans in attendance at the Las Vegas Invitational were cheering like crazy, and tried to help rally the team through its eventual loss.
But to the people who sold those tickets: “If you sell our tickets, your tickets that you get to the Rams Club to somebody else, and they come in cheering for UNLV, I’ve got no use for you,’’ Williams said. “And that’s as blunt as I can put it.”
He later added: “People have a right -- but not our people. You’re either with me, or you’re not. There’s no middle ground.”
AND SPEAKING OF FANS: Williams was also impressed with the majority of UNLV’s crowd -- so much so, he asked that UNC fans take a page out of the Rebels’ book when seventh-ranked Wisconsin comes to the Smith Center on Wednesday night.
“My team could never hear what I was yelling at them out on the court, and during the timeouts, they struggled to hear what I said,’’ Williams said. “So many times, I was yelling things on the court, and that’s the kind of home-court advantage we need to have Wednesday night, because they were sensational.”
There were a couple of dust-ups however, particularly near the end of the game, as the Rebels fans prepared to rush the court.
“Some guy there had been drinking too much, and came down and yelled at me behind the bench, and I just turned around and laughed at him,’’ Williams said. “And then he comes out on the court as they were storming the court, and he tries to come up there, and I was laughing again, because he was spilling all his beer all over himself.
"Another guy had physically pushed one of our managers, one of our female managers, and it’s a tough situation; someone can really get hurt in there. But that was two people, and I don’t want to categorize that as a bad crowd.”
From Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.