North Carolina coach Williams impressed with Villanova

North Carolina coach Roy Williams is impressed with what Villanova has accomplished this season. (Bob Leverone/AP)

North Carolina coach Roy Williams is impressed with what Villanova, the Tar Heels’ opponent in the second round of the NCAA South Regional, has accomplished this season.

Williams, speaking Tuesday at a news conference in Chapel Hill, admitted that he still didn’t know too much about the Wildcats and their style of play but expected to receive a scouting report from assistant coach Steve Robinson on Wednesday morning in preparation for Friday night’s game in Kansas City, Mo.

Williams said he knows the kind of team that ‘Nova coach Jay Wright produces every year.

“I’ve known Jay for a long time,” he said. “He really does a nice job. Anybody that beats Louisville, Georgetown, Marquette and Syracuse down the stretch, that’s pretty doggone impressive, and you’ve got to understand that.”

Williams also made reference to North Carolina’s two most recent NCAA tournament games against Villanova, both wins by the Tar Heels – 67-66 in a Sweet 16 game at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome in 2005 and 83-69 in the 2009 Final Four at Detroit, where the Tar Heels went on to win the national championship.

“One of them was a great, very close game,” he said. “The other was a great game just for us.”

The 2005 game was memorable as the result of a controversial traveling call against the Wildcats’ Allan Ray as he went in for an apparent basket with nine seconds to play and ‘Nova down three.

Williams, the former head coach at Kansas, shrugged off a question of how he reacted when he saw the top-seeded Jayhawks in the same bracket, drawing the winner of the game between the No. 8 Tar Heels and the No. 9 Wildcats.

“It’s the kind of thing where you say, ‘Wow,’” Williams said. “But I’m thinking about Villanova, I really am. It was a surprise being No. 8. It was a little surprise going to play in Kansas City. If we win, then we can start thinking about playing Kansas in Kansas City. But we can’t forget about the biggest thing, and that’s to win the game to get there.”

Williams took issue with the way the committee seeded the four ACC teams that were selected, with regular season and tournament champion Miami getting a No. 2 seed along with Duke, and North Carolina and North Carolina State being assigned 8 seeds.

But in the end, he said, “You’ve still got to freakin’ play.”

--Joe Juliano