North Carolina head coach Roy Williams on the Tar Heels’ No. 1 seed
On Sunday afternoon, college basketball fans got their long-awaited first look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket.
And as the 68 selections were announced, some programs were excited, some disappointed and others heartbroken.
One program, along with its fans, not heartbroken upon hearing its placement in the tournament is the North Carolina Tar Heels.
As expected, the Tar Heels grabbed the No. 1 seed in the South Region that goes through Memphis, Tennessee before the winner travels to Phoenix for the 2017 Final Four.
Check out the team’s response to the announcement that was broadcast on national television late Sunday afternoon.
Notice who stood at the forefront of the excited pack of baby blue-clad individuals; none other than North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
Williams was excited, but also acknowledged that his team earned the honor of being named one of the tournament’s top-four seeds.
“I’m very pleased with what our team accomplished, because they don’t give those things [No. 1 seeds] away, you have to earn them,” Williams said in a press release. “I think we’re a top seed for the body of work during the course of the season, winning the ACC regular season by two full games and playing a very good schedule out of conference. Plus, we played Duke twice, Virginia twice, things like that during the conference season. I’m just very pleased for our team.”
Williams mentioned that a portion of the team’s motivation comes from last year’s tournament run that saw the Tar Heels get all the way to the championship game before narrowly losing to Villanova.
“I think they should use that as motivation,” Williams said. “They know how good it felt, so use that as motivation. And then if you happen to get lucky and still be playing that last Monday night, then you really can use last year as motivation. The biggest thing to me is for them to understand how much fun this time of year can be. I asked my entire team, ‘What’s the most fun you ever had in basketball?’ Every one of them said last year — the last win over Duke to win the ACC regular season, winning the ACC Tournament and the run to the NCAA championship game. I said, ‘Let’s remember that and make sure we’re focused this year like we were last year.’”
The two-time national champion and Hall-of-Fame head coach also noted that their focus has to remain on the game at hand, rather than the road ahead.
“We’ve always played just for today. We’ve got to play Texas Southern, and we never focus on anything else,” Williams said. “We continually emphasize that to the team. I always tell them if you start looking down the road, that’s when you start heading down the road back home.”
The Tar Heels open up the 2017 NCAA Tournament this Friday in Greenville, South Carolina against Texas Southern at approximately 4PM CST.