Top-Ranked Indiana Faces Toughest Test Yet In North Carolina

November 27, 2012 – 6:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

A little bit of luster from tonight’s game was lost when North Carolina lost to Butler in the Maui Invitational, but we’ll still see a battle of nationally ranked teams when No. 1 Indiana hosts No. 14 North Carolina tonight in Bloomington, Ind. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams will get a chance to see how his team responds to the early-season upset loss.

Roy Williams joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with Dan Dakich to discuss what he learned from his North Carolina team losing to Butler, what he sees in top-ranked Indiana, how good the Tar Heels can be and Ty Lawson’s success in the NBA.

What have you learned from a loss last week to Butler?:

“I don’t know that it’s the best thing, but it did open our eyes a little bit, because we really haven’t played … a very difficult schedule. My nine years that I’ve been here, our schedule’s been ranked in the top 25 most difficult schedules every year, I think, except one, and like five times in the top 10. … Butler, all of the sudden, is a good team, and they hit us right in the mouth, and they backed us up. And we never came back for about 28 minutes, and then all of a sudden, we did have a sense of urgency. … I liked our toughness at that point, but, man, we let them hit us right in the mouth to start with. … It showed us a lot of holes in our game.”

When you watch Indiana, what do you see?:

“The thing that scares me … if you look at them, there’s five guys averaging double figures, it’s not just one. I’ve always said that our best teams were when all five guys could score. In 2009, we did have Tyler Hansbrough, the returning college Player of the Year, and we won a national championship, but we had Wayne Ellington and Danny Green and Ty Lawson, who could really score from the outside. … I see five guys averaging double figures. I see a team shooting almost 53 percent from the floor, over 40 percent from the 3-point line, well over 70 percent from the free-throw line. And I also see a team that has more assists than turnovers, and that has played Georgia and Georgetown. Both those teams are pretty darn good teams and neither one of them at home.”

How good do you think your team can be?:

“I think we can be really good. Number one, I hope it’s in my lifetime, and number two, I would appreciate it a lot more if it was going to be this year. … We’ve got a lot of question marks, but I do think it’s a wonderful group of kids that everybody would enjoy sitting and visiting with, everybody would enjoy being around. They’ve just got to have some more time on the court.”

Did you see Ty Lawson being a really good NBA player?:

“I really did, because I’ve never seen anybody as fast with the basketball. We had Kenny “The Jet” Smith when I was an assistant and we got so much out of how fast he was with the ball, and I think Ty Lawson is even faster. People don’t realize this, but Ty had one bad game three or four games before the end of his junior year, his last year with us, where he was like 0 for 7 from the three-point line or something. But if you take that game out, he shot over 50 percent from the three-point line.”

Listen to Roy Williams on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis here

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