Monday, February 7, 2011

Williams more comfortable with the team he's taking to Duke this year

North Carolina might be coming off a big win over Florida State and UNC may have found a solid point guard but now the Tar Heels have a week where they play at Duke and at Clemson, two teams that beat them by a combined 51 points on their home floors last year.

The Heels, who play at Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night, were embarrassed 82-50 at Duke last year. While the Tar Heels weren't playing with their full complement of players a year ago, they just weren't very good. Carolina was 16-15 and 5-11 in the ACC after that game.

This time the Tar Heels are 17-5 and 7-1 in the ACC as the teams meet in Durham. Coach Roy Williams, during his weekly media teleconference today, said he was "scared to death" but feels more comfortable with the team he is taking over to Duke this year, especially considering the way they are playing.

He said it would be a "monumental task" to beat the Blue Devils but he is confident that his team will try extremely hard and will play together.

Some have marveled at how quickly the Tar Heels seem to have gotten over the loss of point guard Larry Drew II. Freshman Kendall Marshall, who had won the starting job from Drew four games earlier, had 16 assists in Carolina's impressive 89-69 win over Florida State.

"Kids get over things so much easier and quicker," Williams said adding that coaches have a harder time with adversity. "But it was a tough 48 hours for all of us."

Earlier Dexter Strickland seemed to indicate that Drew along with the Wear twins and Will Graves - four players no longer on the team - were not "all in" when he came to being a part of the Carolina team.

For his part, Williams said that the team practiced really well the two days after learning that Drew had left the team. He said that team chemistry is built throughout the course of the entire season and that adversity, within reason, tends to bring a team together.

"I love coaching the guys we have left," Williams said.

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