Saturday, March 15, 2008

Williams' chipper mood short-lived

North Carolina coach Roy Williams (above, left, with Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg) enjoyed a laugh with the referees before Saturday's ACC semifinal game with Virginia Tech.

A day earlier, Williams had taken off his suit jacket after a call against the Tar Heels. But he said he was mad at his players, not the referees.

Shortly before tipoff Saturday, Williams pretended to take off his coat, drawing laughter from the three referees. But it took all of one possession for his mood to sour.

After Tyler Hansbrough was called for a moving screen, Williams came off the bench to protest to Bryan Kersey. From courtside it appeared that Hansbrough did duck his shoulder into Deron Washington, but Washington fell hard to embellish the contact.

But the referees were the least of North Carolina's problems. Point guard Ty Lawson, who appeared sore in the quarterfinals, was gingerly fumbling with the laces on his left shoe before tipoff. His left ankle and left hip still seem to be bothering him.

Then Wayne Ellington came to the bench to have his left ankle taped. Most importantly, a Virginia Tech team that needs a marquee win to solidify its NCAA tournament resume was matching the Tar Heels basket for basket.

It could be the start of a fascinating day of basketball. -- Ken Tysiac


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