No. 6 North Carolina and No. 11 Oregon face a quick turnaround Friday when they meet in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The 11:30 a.m. local time tip-off actually sounded good to North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who said he can’t wait to try to have the Tar Heels play better.
“I’ve got to do a better job of getting the attention to detail taken care of a lot better and the toughness a lot better,” Williams said. “And get the ball to go in the basket for us.”
North Carolina (5-1) is coming off Thursday’s 73-64 loss to Michigan in the tournament semifinals. Oregon (6-1) suffered a 73-72 overtime loss to No. 8 Gonzaga in the second semifinal.
Oregon will be facing a nationally ranked the team for the third time in three days. The Ducks rallied from a 19-point hole to defeat Seton Hall on Wednesday night.
Ducks coach Dana Altman had pointed out the energy level for his team could be zapped after the Seton Hall game. Now, it could be a more extreme situation following an overtime game in which Oregon trailed Gonzaga at one point by 17 points.
“You just can’t do that on a consistent basis,” Altman said of the large deficits.
Williams has been critical of his team during the opening weeks of the season. He took a partially different approach when looking at the big picture following the first loss of the season.
“This team has a chance to be a really good team,” Williams said. “I really believe that.”
Yet Williams gave a critical self-assessment after six games.
“I’ve got to do a better job coaching my team,” he said. “It’s frustrating as all get-out, but I’ve been in the game a long time and it still pisses me off when I don’t do a good job with my team so that’s the bottom line.”
Michigan used a 19-0 run in the second half to produce a big margin.
“We just didn”t play team defense great,” North Carolina swingman Brandon Robinson said. “It’s not just the people on the ball guarding the screens, it’s everyone on the court. We didn’t do a good job of that.”
North Carolina’s perimeter shooting has been troublesome. The Tar Heels were a season-low 2 of 13 on 3-point attempts in the loss to Michigan, which held North Carolina to its lowest point total of the season.
“I think we will make a lot 3s, but we haven’t done it yet in games so it doesn’t make any difference what I think,” Williams said.
Oregon has had problems with offense, too. The Ducks shot 34 percent against Gonzaga.
“It’s on me to get them moving the ball better,” Altman said. “Our offense has got to be much more efficient.”
In the meantime, a North Carolina opponent has made 10 or more 3-pointers in three consecutive games.
There could be some question about the availability of North Carolina guard Leaky Black, who was limping at the end of the game. Williams said he didn’t know the extent of the ailment.
The game is a rematch of a 2017 Final Four semifinal, which North Carolina won on the way to the national championship.
–Field Level Media