Regardless, the coffee still tasted normal, and we were off!
As soon as we landed, we immediately got a cab and went straight to our hotel to do some homework for the classes we are missing while we are on this trip. As much fun as we're having, we haven't forgotten about the many papers and midterms waiting for us when we get back to Chapel Hill.
Then we headed straight to Veterans Memorial Arena to hit the ground running. On the way to the arena, we drove over the popular Main Street Bridge.
UNC players Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige both spoke at the press conference, followed by Coach Roy Williams. Paige and Johnson were both very relaxed, even cutting up with each other at the end of the press conference. At one point Johnson was laughing so hard he had to bury his face in his hands to contain it.
Then we headed into the locker room, where the laughs continued. Paige told me that just before we had all come in, the team was watching "Impractical Jokers."
"There's 24 hours in a day, so you can be really serious and locked in during practice and scouting report film sessions, but you don't get to do this very often," Paige said. "We love hanging out with each other. It's the end of the year, and you can't take any of it for granted, so we just try to have fun, too."
When I walked in, J.P. Tokoto and a group of managers were playing a game of Heads Up — the game where you hold a phone with a word on it to your forehead and have to guess what the word is based on other people's descriptions.
Tokoto will carry a huge load Thursday in containing Harvard's Wesley Saunders. Saunders is the only Crimson starter who averages in double figures, with 16.3 points per game, and he's just the second player in program history to receive All Ivy-League first team honors three years in a row. With 746 points he has either scored or assisted on, Saunders makes up 40 percent of the Harvard offense and is the first Ivy League player to be named to the Naismith Trophy Top 50.
Nevertheless, Tokoto is honored that Williams trusts him with the most important defensive assignment.
"It's a blessing in disguise," he said. "For coach to put that much trust in you, to put you on the go-getter every night — day and night — yeah, (it can) help my team out on the defensive end tremendously, so why not?"
Finally, we went to practice, where fans got to watch the Tar Heels shoot, run through drills, laugh a little bit more and, of course, dunk. Tokoto stole the show, and we made a really cool video but couldn't figure out how to upload it .... awkward. Stay tuned.
And then they took some selfies.
Stay tuned for all your updates while the Tar Heels are here in Jacksonville. Halle is taking some awesome pictures and Aaron and I are trying to keep you as informed as possible!