“(We played) about as bad as any team I've ever had play,” Williams said. “We set some records this one. We've been playing basketball a long time around here. Jiminy Christmas.”
UNC had the worst shooting performance in program history. The Tar Heels shot a dismal 24.6 percent from the field, and their only made three pointer on 18 attempts came from a desperation heave by senior point guard Joel Berry II to end the first half. Both their field-goal and three-point percentages were UNC record lows.
“God almighty guys,” Williams said. “1-18, you make 1-18 with your eyes closed sometimes.”
To add insult to injury, people who weren’t even in the game shot a higher percentage than the Tar Heels.
“Didn't they have a fan that put a blindfold on, and he made one at the game when we were out there?” Williams said, looking to team sports information director Steve Kirschner.
"Correct," Kirschner confirmed.
Beyond the initial shock, the loss doesn’t spell the end for the Tar Heels. Williams and Berry both provided testimony that took some of the sting out of the defeat.
“Sophomore and junior year, I mean we've had the same games,” Berry said. “Last year we went to Maui and came back and played against Indiana and nothing could go our way. But we learned from it, and we got better from there.”
Williams harkened back to 2012. That year, a talent-rich North Carolina team won the ACC regular-season championship and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
“But that team lost at Florida State by, anybody got it?” Williams said, quizzing reporters.
“Thirty-three,” Williams said, answering his own question. “I wrote that number 33 on our dry-erase board … and left it there the entire season.”
The team hopes to use the Michigan State loss to a similar effect: as motivation, but more importantly, as a learning tool.
“As players, I think that we should look at the tape and see what Michigan State did to us,” Berry said. “And try to take that from them and use that for ourselves when we play other teams.”
The Tar Heels will have to hope these lessons sink in quickly. They are in the midst of a stretch that will see them play six games in 11 days, including a home matchup against Michigan on Wednesday night.
Williams spoke about the struggle to get ready for the 6-1 Wolverines right on the heels of returning home.
“I'd rather have some time,” Williams said. “I mean you guys are talking about Michigan tape, I haven't seen ‘em play. You guys have got more information than I've got … you're saying how slow they play, I don't know how the crap they play.”
This will be the first meeting between Williams and Michigan head coach John Beilein, and the first meeting between UNC and Michigan since the 1993 national title game, which UNC won.
However the Tar Heels respond Wednesday, it is certain that lessons from Sunday’s loss will be on their mind. Berry emphasized this:
“We have to be what Michigan State was against us.”