The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday February 25th

M. Basketball: Heels set out for return to Final Four

As far as preparation goes" the NCAA Tournament is a little bit of ""been-there-done-that"" for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

This current group of seniors has been through 11 such games during their careers"" including runs to the Elite Eight and Final Four.

They open this year against 16th seed Radford in Greensboro today at 2:50 p.m.

""We've had a pretty decent approach and pretty decent success approaching it as the third part of the season" coach Roy Williams said in a press conference Tuesday.

… And it's not nuclear science it's coaching. I think you can have individual conversations with kids" which I have had already since we got back (from Atlanta) … and the kids have been around before too. We can't invent something and all of the sudden find a cure.""

Senior forward Tyler Hansbrough — who is three points away from breaking J.J. Redick's all-time ACC scoring record — talked about how he's grown from his initial shock entry into the Big Dance as a frosh.

""I've been in these things a couple times" so I understand how to stay focused and what you need to do to take care of your body and prepare" he said Tuesday.

So for the Tar Heels, a team that has carried national championship expectations all season long, the issues at hand are the specific adjustments required to make the six-game run that has been the focus since day one.

One of those issues took another twist Wednesday, when coach Roy Williams said star point guard Ty Lawson probably won't play in today's game due to an injured right big toe.

That means UNC most likely will be starting its tournament run with senior Bobby Frasor at the point — a lineup that debuted in last week's ACC Tournament, which ended in a UNC loss in the semifinals to Florida State.

The Tar Heels put up just 74.5 points a game during those two games, compared to their 90.2 average for the season.

We need to run better. See if we can get some easy ones — we didn't do enough of that" and it wasn't just Larry (Drew II) and Bobby" Williams said. We talked about Wayne and Danny have got to get out and give us another outlet. We've got to have (the big men) running to the front of the rim.""

Williams also mentioned the need for a more team-oriented concept on offense when Lawson is in the game" rather than letting the speedster create all the opportunities himself.

When Hansbrough fielded a question on areas of improvement he highlighted defense" the constant question that has surrounded these Tar Heels.

""We've always said we need to buy into defense and start locking teams down"" he said. I think defense and rebounding are going to really be key for us to make deep runs.""

And more specifically"" Hansbrough is hoping those changes will help UNC avoid a repeat of last year's season-ending loss to Kansas that left him visibly shocked after the game.

""You try to block it out" but you can't block something out like that" he said of the loss. We didn't come out to play that game and we'll use that as fuel.""



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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