Friday, January 2, 2009

No.1 Heels remain focused on defense

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina has blown out its first 13 opponents by an average of 26.4 points. Its "closest" victory was by 15. And it leads the ACC in scoring offense, scoring margin, assists, steals, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio.

So what’s left for the top-ranked team in the nation to work on, as it begins conference play against Boston College on Sunday?

"Just our focus defensively — of making teams take a bad shot and limiting them to one bad shot,’’ said senior wing Danny Green.

Coach Roy Williams said his team has played better defense since a three-game letdown around semester finals, when Evansville, Valparaiso and Rutgers each shot 50 percent or better for one half against the Tar Heels, albeit in North Carolina blowouts.

But even at Nevada, when the Wolf Pack shot 28.6 percent in the second half, Williams wasn’t happy.

"Most of the time, when you give up 14 points on offensive rebounds in the second half, … [and you] put a team on the line and let them shoot 20 free throws, you’re going to lose,’’ he said. "I was not pleased, and yet everybody’s going to say, ‘Gosh, you can’t have everything, they shot 28 percent in the second half.’ But I think it’s my job to try to get everything."

UNDEFEATED TALK: North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough has never played on an undefeated team, but he’d like to — even though he’s trying not to think too much about it. No. 1 North Carolina is 13-0.

"We’ll see what happens," he said. "I want to take it game by game, but I think if you ask every team I’ve every played on, it would be great to go undefeated."

— Robbi Pickeral