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Ryan Craig

Despite recent success, Ford Field not a Tar Heel favorite

Posted March 31, 2009

North Carolina held its pre-Final Four press conference in Chapel Hill on Tuesday before heading out to Detroit's Ford Field to prepare for the national semifinals on Saturday.

In December, the Tar Heels waxed Michigan State, 98-63, in this year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge on the very court they will be playing on Saturday evening. Sure, the Spartans weren't their best without the services of Goran Suton or any kind of scoring contribution from Delvon Roe, but you would think that pasting a fellow Final Four team would have Carolina eager to return to the site of the win.

Not so much.

Several Tar Heels, including head coach Roy Williams himself, admitted that the surroundings weren't easy to adjust to.

Williams talked honestly about having a hard time seeing the game action the way he likes to see it when the ball is at the opposite end of the court to the Carolina bench.

He also stressed how it's a lot harder to diagnose a game when you're "staring out at everyone's shin bones."

Bobby Frasor was quick to point out the disconnect he feels from the coaching staff when he plays on the stadium's elevated court, while Danny Green admitted that the sight lines in the cavernous arena are much different than one would find in the friendly confines of the Smith Center.

Ty Lawson had his own concerns, as he joked with the media gathered around him about how he was worried that he might gather up too much speed and run right off the court.

Despite putting forth one of the season's most dominant performances on that December night, it's obvious that for Carolina, playing in Ford Field led to some discomfort.

I'm sure Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo and Jay Wright would love to feel some of the same kind of discomfort this weekend.

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  • VT1994Hokie Mar 31, 2009

    Just play your game on any court, and the team will be OK. You don't have a choice right now. Just take it to the limit.

    I wish that Roy had not said this. It is only fodder for the critics to come forth. Carolina will win even if it is in in the state of Kansas in the old gym back when Gene Hackman was coach.

  • tarheelsthennowforever Mar 31, 2009

    I hope Danny Green gets over his Phobia of domes. Good luck Heels!

  • OriginalTarHeel Mar 31, 2009

    The Heels should win this game by 10 points.

  • StunGunn Apr 1, 2009

    Hopefully practice will help the Heels adjust to the court, and no team will have an advantage over another with respect to the venue. Go Heels!

  • BlueDevilFan Apr 1, 2009

    "He also stressed how it's a lot harder to diagnose a game when you're "staring out at everyone's shin bones."

    That is dadgum funny. Roy should just get him a Bojangles biscuit and things will be fine.

    Heels by 8.

  • jwcarter3 Apr 1, 2009

    "its a lot harder to diagnose a game when you're staring out at everyone's shin bones."

    then get a chair and put it up on the court like Izzo did in December.

    Jesus, realize the problem and make the adjustment, just like you tell your team.

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