Lucas: Final Four Notebook

Lucas: Final Four Notebook

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By Adam Lucas

Count Roy Williams among the people who don't necessary believe in the “hard to beat a team three times” axiom. “With the close games we've had, those things don't mean anything,” the head coach said. “In college basketball, it's different…I'm not telling my guys it's difficult. I'm telling them it had nothing to do with it.”

The Tar Heels, of course, won at Syracuse earlier this year, and then beat them again at the Smith Center on senior night. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim also wasn't particularly impressed with the relevance of those games.

 “We played pretty well in both games, and we still couldn't win,” Boeheim said. “We know that. We also know we were close in both games…I'm not sure, other than familiarity, how much it plays into the game. It still comes down to who plays well tonight.”

Zone issues: Jim Boeheim told the media one of the reasons he appreciates the zone defense is because it keeps his team out of foul trouble.

“You tend to get fewer guys into foul trouble with zone,” Boeheim said. “In man-to-man there's a lot of situations where teams are going to be isolated, driving. If you get a guy with two or three, they're going to try to isolate and drive that guy. You can't really do that against a zone, so we can protect guys better. Foul trouble is less of an issue for us, although it can be.”

That may be so, but the Tar Heels still were able to create some foul issues for the Orange this season. Malachi Richardson, DaJuan Coleman and Michael Gbinije all finished the game at the Carrier Dome with four fouls. While Gbinije picked up a couple of fairly meaningless fouls late, Richardson (7:38 left in the game) and Coleman (5:15 left in the game) picked up their fourth fouls at times that affected the rotation—both players came out immediately after picking up their fourth.

@joelberry2 and @tpinsonn playing a little one on one..... Who you got? #heelslockin

A video posted by Sean May (@bigmayallday) on Apr 1, 2016 at 2:14pm PDT

Notes: Good to see former Tar Heel assistant and newly hired Stanford head coach Jerod Haase on the floor with the Heels for part of Friday's open practice…They seem to have some temperature issues at NRG Stadium. On Thursday, it was too warm inside the arena. On Friday, it was arctic, including a breeze that seemed to be blowing while the Tar Heels were on the floor—which you would think would have an impact on shooting a basketball…It's never too late to learn something new. The endless media sessions did uncover one nugget: Marcus Paige doesn't like crowded elevators. “If eight of his teammates get on an elevator, he will wait for the next one to go up. My boy's a little claustrophobic,” Williams said…


All those behind the scenes videos don't just happen. Sean May walked around the practice court wearing a hat with a GoPro camera affixed to it…Carolina's open practice was mostly just for show and to get more acclimated to the playing floor. The “real” practice happened earlier in the day at Rice University for 90 minutes. Even in the time since the Tar Heels were last here in 2009, the event has changed--there used to be more basketball at the open practice, but now it is primarily a chance for fans to try to get close to the players and get pictures and autographs…Turns out Roy Williams made a recruiting trip to see Syracuse post man DaJuan Coleman. “Jimmy (Boeheim) came to that practice session, too. I said, 'I'm probably wasting my time.'” 

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