Why UNC’s Roy Williams is not looking at the film from NC State’s 47-24 loss to Va. Tech

UNC’s Roy Williams on NC State: ‘I just see a team that forced us into 23 turnovers.’

UNC coach Roy Williams talks previews the rivalry game with NC State in advance of the Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 game.
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UNC coach Roy Williams talks previews the rivalry game with NC State in advance of the Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 game.

It’s not often you see a team fail to score at least 30 points in a college basketball game.

But it happened on Saturday, when N.C. State lost to Virginia Tech at home 47-24. The unusual score resembled that of a football game.

That’s why UNC coach Roy Williams says he won’t look at the film before the Tar Heels face the Wolfpack on Tuesday.

“Why should I watch something that’s unbelievable in that direction,” Williams said Monday. “Just like if they’d beaten the Warriors, I wouldn’t have watched that either.”

No. 8 UNC (17-4, 7-1 ACC) and N.C. State (16-6, 4-5) will play each for the second time this season. The Tar Heels won 90-82 at PNC Arena on Jan. 8.

Williams said he didn’t have any thoughts about the way the Wolfpack lost, or how few points they scored. He’s more worried about his team.

“I noticed it... but they’ll score 90 against us, and (Braxton) Beverly will make his first 12, and he’ll be 50 percent,” Williams said.

The 47-24 loss to the Hokies set records, and not the good kind. Beverly, who hit a game-winning 3-pointer against Clemson just one week before, went 0 of 12 from the floor and 0 of 9 from 3.

N.C. State finished 9 of 54 from the floor and 2 of 28 from the 3-point line. The 16.7 field-goal percentage is the worst in ACC history. The 24 points were the fewest points scored by an N.C. State team since they beat Duke 12-10 in the 1968 ACC tournament. And that was before the shot-clock era began.

The fact that N.C. State will be coming off one of its most embarrassing defeats in recent program history puts the Tar Heels on high alert. Williams said he’ll tell his team to imagine how they would feel in the 48 hours after, had they lost that way.

“(If) We would have done something like that, we would have been ready to play the next game,” Williams said. “Again, five days before, they had a chance against a team that was the No. 1 team in the country (Virginia). They had a chance to beat them. But it’s college basketball.”

The Tar Heels are coming off a 79-69 road win against then-No. 15 Louisville on Saturday. UNC senior Luke Maye had 20 points and 11 rebounds. UNC graduate senior Cam Johnson had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Tar Heels are now riding a five-game winning streak and are playing some of their best basketball of the season. A big reason for that is good shooting and improved defense. Against the Cardinals, the Tar Heels forced 11 turnovers and got their hands in the passing lanes often.

But that was the case last month, too, when the Tar Heels were riding a four-game winning streak after beating N.C. State the first time.

After that game, they lost to Louisville by 21 points at home on Jan. 12. They don’t want to repeat that mistake.

“It’s one of those things where we learned our lesson,” said UNC sophomore forward Garrison Brooks, who is averaging 8.3 points per game and 5.8 rebounds this season. “Our attention to detail and our preparation for Louisville, the very first time, wasn’t very good.”

The 6-9, 230-pound sophomore said the team is more focused in practice,and it has translated on the court.

“It doesn’t make any difference,” Brooks said of what happened in the N.C. State loss. “They’re going to be excited to play us. If they come out there and beat us, they’re going to forget all about that game.”

UNC basketball coach Roy Williams compares improvement on defense to a wife's cooking during his weekly press conference, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

N.C. State at UNC

When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill

TV: Raycom Sports

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Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.
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