UNC held a blue-white scrimmage on Sunday night, with officials. With no exhibitions or “secret scrimmages” against other teams this preseason, that was the one time to see live action before Wednesday’s opener.
“It’s really hard when you scrimmage yourself,” Roy Williams said. “You’re not scrimmaging somebody else, so you’re trying to focus. On the White Team (you say), ‘Boy, that was great,’ but on the Blue, ‘That guy did a sorry job.’ I don’t know if the offensive play was that good or the defense was that bad. We just needed to get out in front of officials. We’re going to set the world record for number of fouls. It does work them a little bit out there. We went 20 minutes, took a five-minute break and went 20 more minutes. We stopped several times to try to get points across.”
Among the positives he took away from the scrimmage was the play of the frontcourt.
“I think rebounding,” he said. “Our big guys are going to the backboards. That’s the one thing that’s been more encouraging and more consistent than anything else we’ve done.”
Many teams used scrimmages to give a full dress rehearsal for the regular season, including the changes to game-day environment due to the pandemic. UNC didn’t do that.
“It’s going to be different, walking out of that tunnel,” Williams said. “All our former players talk about the thrill of running out of that tunnel, hearing the fans and seeing all the blue. We haven’t prepared for that at all. We’ve tried to prepare to do the things between the lines. We can control it and provide our own enthusiasm. Does it make enough difference to you? If it’s important enough to you, you’re not going to be concerned about other things. We did have music going at the scrimmage. The only thing is I like to stand up and coach. I had to tell them to shut the dadgum stuff down so I could coach a little bit.”