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Sunday, February 19, 2012
TMA: Irritations, kudos, flipping out

By Robbi Pickeral

The Morning After: Thoughts, notes and anything else that didn’t quite make this space after North Carolina’s latest game (in this case, No. 7 UNC's 74-52 victory over Clemson on Saturday).

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina coach Roy Williams began his post-victory news conference Saturday by asking for a stop watch.

He was annoyed at the beginning of the second half, he said, that his players had to wait 90 seconds from the time they left to bench to when play re-started, instead of the usual 15 seconds. Play was delayed because of the television broadcast.

“It’s just irritating, guys, because the horn blows, you get your team ready, and then we wait another minute and a half. It’s college athletics, let’s play,’’ he said. “ … I just want to know what the rule is, and why we have to do that kind of thing.

"I’m over there giving the best dadgum speech I could ever give, and then we go out there and stand around and hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" for a minute and a half before we start the basketball game. I’m not saying anything about the officials, now, so nobody can get mad at me. They can get mad, and they probably will.”

In an effort to delay his news conference 90 seconds – to try to make his point -- he then went on to talk about how great UNC’s attendance has been, thanking the crowds.

“Now,’’ Williams allowed, finally, “the press conference can officially start. We’ve had a minute and a half delay so we can sell more popcorn.”

HUMBLING COMPLIMENT: Clemson coach Brad Brownell called UNC point guard Kendall Marshall one of his favorite college basketball players because of the way the sophomore plays and passes.

Marshall posted 13 assists during Saturday’s win – the 11th time this season he’s hit double digits. And he appreciated Brownell’s compliment.

“It’s something that humbles me, but I take it as a great honor because these are coaches that I’ve looked up to, watching their teams play and things like that,” Marshall said. “[Michigan State] coach [Tom] Izzo said something along the same lines as that. Just the pedestal I put these coaches on, that they even think about me is very comforting. But at the same time, I just want to keep working to get better to help my team out.”

WATCH THE KNEE: Marshall said Williams “spazzed out” during a timeout in the second half. What does that constitute, senior forward Tyler Zeller was asked.

“Well, spazzing out,” Zeller replied, pondering for a moment.

“He likes to yell a lot. That’s probably [a given]. He’s actually really good about it. Very few times will he let cuss words out, which is impressive to me when you get that angry. He gets up … and you know when gets off his one knee you’re in trouble. Because he’s yelling, he gets in your face, but it’s something where we know we screwed it up, so he’s not doing it for no reason.”

So if his knee stays on the towel during the timeout?

“Then we’re good. Very rarely does that knee come up, so we know we have to change when it happens.”

BRIEFLY: Saturday’s victory marked the 666th victory in Williams’ head-coaching career. … This is the 36th time the Tar Heels have won 10 or more regular-season ACC games. Duke is second with 29. … The Tar Heels are now 21-0 when Marshall records at least 9 assists.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.